Frequently Asked Questions About Broadcasting

How many radio and TV stations are there in the United States?

The Federal Communications Commission maintains a chart: click here.

How many radio and TV stations are there in the world?

The Central Intelligence Agency maintains a complete list in the CIA World Factbook. The Wold Factbook describes each country's broadcast ownership, as well as estimates for the total number of broadcast stations (radio and TV) for each nation.

How much does TV and radio broadcasting contribute to the nation's Gross Domestic Product?

According to an economic analysis by Woods & Poole Economics, $1.24 trillion of the annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) originates in the local commercial broadcast radio and television industry, up to 7 percent of the nation's GDP.

How many television households are there?

Nielsen reports that there are 116.4 million TV households (2014). 

Where can I find a list of the radio and television markets?

Nielsen updates radio and television market rankings every year. For radio market information, click here.
For a listing of TV markets and number of TV homes within each market (for the 2014-2015 TV season), click here.

How much time is spent listening to radio and viewing television?

Nielsen reports that overall, adults consume more than 36 hours of television programming per week. In addition, adults listen to radio for nearly 13 hours per week (Total Audience Report, Nielsen Q12015).

How do broadcast television and cable ratings compare?

Broadcast stations have millions of viewers over cable channels, according to Nielsen. In any given week, more than 90 of the top 100 primetime shows are on broadcast TV.

What are the top radio formats?

Click here to access the top 10 most popular radio formats of 2014.

Where can I get career and salary information for the broadcasting industry?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes descriptions of careers online, including employment figures per occupation and wage information, as well as percent of each occupation in relation to the industry as a whole. For more information, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

In addition, the NAB Education Foundation maintains Broadcast Career Link - a destination for job seekers and employers.

How many people does the broadcast industry employ?

According to an economic analysis by Woods & Poole Economics there are nearly 314,000 people employed in the broadcast industry, including advertising and programming. Broadcast television accounts for over 188,000 of these jobs, while broadcast radio contributes 125,000 jobs.

Where can I find information on women and minorities in broadcasting?

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and Hofstra University conduct an annual survey includes data on women and minority employment in the broadcasting industry.

How do I purchase or start a broadcasting station?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a report titled How to Apply for a Broadcast Station. Click here for more information.

What is HD Radio?

HD Radio stations broadcast a digital signal over traditional radio frequencies, allowing for up to three additional stations. All you need is an HD Radio receiver; there are no monthly fees. To learn more, visit

What is spectrum and why should I care?

Click here for a spectrum 101 tutorial.

Where can I find a breakdown of frequency allocation in the U.S.?

Information on how frequencies are assigned and maintained is provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Additionally, they are assisted by the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee.

Where can I find information about the Emergency Alert System (EAS)?

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau supplies EAS information. Click here.

Where can I find information about the history of broadcasting?

The Library of American Broadcasting houses a collection of resources regarding the history of broadcast radio and TV. Visit the website.

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