How to Find Out How Many Listeners a Radio Station Has

By C. Paul Martin

Updated September 22, 2017

Towers like these are capable of broadcasting radio signals for many miles.
i radio transmitters image by timur1970 from

Radio station antennae are posted on the outskirts of nearly every major and minor city in America, their broadcasts of station programming competing for listeners' attention. The number of listeners is important to stations' bottom lines. They use the data to establish advertising rates. If you're a business owner trying to decide where to spend your advertising dollars, or just an average listener curious about the popularity of the station you tune in, you can find out how many listeners a radio station has.

Navigate to Arbitron's Web page (see the Reference section for a link).

Click on the link on the right side of the page marked "Radio Ratings." Fill out the fields of information about yourself, including your name, email address and industry, before continuing to the research page for radio ratings.

Click on the drop-down menu (next to the small "Go" symbol in the middle of the page), and select the major city nearest the market you are researching. Hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard, or click the "Go" symbol.

Determine the estimated number of persons listening to a given radio station by comparing the percentage share listed against the market size. For instance, (see Resources) lists the Milwaukee-Racine market at about 1.5 million people. If Arbitron lists WTMJ in that market as receiving 11 percent of the average quarter hour (AQH) share of listeners, then you can estimate that about 165,000 people in this market listen to WTMJ for at least five minutes.