National Association of Broadcasters

Frequently Asked Questions About Broadcasting

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

The Federal Communications Commission updates a chart every quarter. View that chart 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 World 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, $1.18 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 6 percent of the nation's GDP.

How many television households are there?

Nielsen reports for the 2018-19 television season there are 119.9 million TV households.

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

Nielsen updates radio and television market rankings every year. You can find a listing of TV markets and number of TV homes within each market (for the 2018-2019 TV season) here.

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

In 2018, Nielsen reported that overall, adults consumed more than 35 hours of television programming per week. In addition, adults listened to radio for over 12 hours per week (Total Audience Report, Nielsen Q2 2018)

How does broadcast television hold up versus cable ratings?

Broadcast stations still remain at the top in terms of audience viewership. According to Nielsen, television programs aired on broadcast networks such as NBC, ABC, and CBS are tuned in by millions of more viewers than programs offered by cable networks. (http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/top10s.html).

What are the top radio formats?

View the top 10 most popular radio formats of 2018 here.

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

According to SNL Kagan, in 2017 the radio industry as a whole is projected to make $17.8 billion in advertising revenue. As for television revenues, BIA/Kelsey projects that local stations reached $20 billion in revenue for on-air advertising in 2017. 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.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes descriptions of careers online, including employment figures per occupation, 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.

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

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)/Hofstra University Survey includes data on women and minority employment in the broadcasting industry. Click here to read the report.

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?

Visit hdradio.com for information on HD radio technology.

How many HD radio stations are there?

Click here for a complete listing of HD radio stations by zip code.

What is spectrum and why should I care?

Click here for a Spectrum 101 tutorial.

Where can I find information about the spectrum repack?

Learn which stations are moving and when and get instructions for rescanning your TV at TVAnswers.org.

Where can I find a breakdown of frequency allocation in the U.S., and maybe even a handy chart?

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.

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 Innovation section and nabpilot.org for more information.

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.

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

The Library of American Broadcasting houses a collection of resources regarding the history of broadcast radio and TV. You can visit their website here.