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?

There is a list of total radio and television stations for most countries available online through the CIA World Factbook (Radio; TV).

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. That's right, TV and radio broadcasting contributes up to 7 percent of the nation's GDP.

How many television households are there?

Nielsen reports that, in 2012, there are 114.7 million TV households (TV HH's); in percentage terms, 96.7 percent of all U.S. homes have a TV (Source: Nielsenwire). 

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

Arbitron maintains the list for radio: click here.
The list for TV can be found from Nielsen: click here.

How many over-the-air (OTA) viewers are there in the United States?

According to a study by Knowledge Networks, 46 million people or 15 percent of all U.S. households with TVs rely solely on over-the-air signals to watch their television programming.

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

Even in a media marketplace that provides countless options for consumers, radio listening continues to grow. Click here to access the latest information on radio listenership provided by the Radio Advertising Bureau.

For television, according to TVB, time spent viewing in 2009 (per TV home, per day) is eight hours and 21 minutes. For more details, click here.

How does broadcast television hold up versus cable and syndication in the ratings?

Very well. In the 2010 - 2011 season ending in May, broadcast had 95 of the top 100 highest-rated programs among households. (Source: TVB and 9/20/10-5/25/11 Live+SD.) Among viewers aged 18-49 broadcast had 89 out of the top 100 programs

What are the top radio formats?

The Radio Advertising Bureau maintains a list of the top radio formats. Click here to view the Radio Marketing Guide Research Index and select Radio Format Analysis for details.

What is the total advertising revenue for the radio and television industry?

The Radio Advertising Bureau reports that full year 2011 radio revenue totaled $17.4 billion, a 1 percent increase from 2010.
According to BIA estimates, in 2011 the local television industry achieved over-the-air revenues of $17.5 billion. For additional television financial data, try NAB's Television Financial Report, an annual report containing average revenue and expense data for commercial television stations; and The Television Industry: Market-by-Market Review, also published by NAB. Click here to order NAB books.

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 some earnings information.
For broadcasting in general.
For announcers.
For engineers.
In addition, RTDNA/Hofstra University conducts an annual survey that includes information on news staffing and profitability.
NABEF also maintains a Broadcast Career Link on their website. Additional information online can be found at the website of the Broadcast Education Association.

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 RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey includes a diversity data section detailing information on women and minorities in broadcasting.

How do I purchase or start a broadcasting station?

The Federal Communications Commission has published a report titled How to Apply for a Broadcast Station. For further detail click here to visit the FCC website.

What is HD Radio?

Go to Ibiquity's website for a primer on HD Radio.

How many HD radio stations are there?

According to Ibiquity  as of March 2012, there are 2,144 HD radio stations currently broadcasting. For a complete listing of HD radio stations in the U.S. Click here.

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., and maybe even a handy chart?

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration maintains this information here.

I'd like to know more about the new technologies that are being offered or are in development by our nation's broadcasters.

Please visit our Technology section.

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 learn about broadcasters' community service initiatives and nonprofit partnerships?

NAB maintains a website dedicated to illustrating the community service activities offered by local broadcasters: Click here.

What are NAB positions on issues related to the broadcast industry?

NAB maintains a list of their position statements on their website: Advocacy Issues.
NAB has also created a Legislative Priorities booklet outlining broadcasters' top issues.

Where can I find information about NAB history or the history of broadcasting?

A good resource is The Library of American Broadcasting.



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