Gen Z Is Now The Hottest Podcast Audience: Study

Spoken word audio covers a variety of content types, from radio to audiotapes. But there is one content form that seems to be growing more quickly than the others, and publishers should be on top of it: podcasts. 

AM/FM radio is still the top listening platform, accounting for a 47% share, but that’s down from 61% only three years ago and 79% in 2014, according to the Spoken Word Audio Report, a study from NPR.  

In contrast, podcasts have grown from 8% in 2014 to 21% in 2022. And the fastest-growing audience for podcasts is Gen Z. 

Of that cohort, 78% have listened to a podcast, versus 37% in 2014. In contrast, 55% of people age 35 and over have heard one, up from 24% eight years ago. 

Among all groups, 62% have listened to a podcast, up from 30% in 2014.  

Also Gen Z makes up a 39% share of podcast listeners, compared to 16% of those age 35+. But the latter group makes up 58% of AM/FM radio listeners, compared to 17% for Gen Z. 



And, 62% of Gen Z has listens on mobile devices, up from 15% in 2014. That’s way above the general average of 34%.

In general, the highest share of listening time for all forms of audio—31%--is seen among people age 35+. But the biggest leap is among Gen Z listeners, who went from 7% in 2014 to 22% in 2022. 

Of course, these stats lead to a pitch: the study claims that 31% of time listening to podcasts is with NPR/Public Radio. 

As for types of content, news/information now has a 40% share, and personalities/talk 37%. In addition, sports pulls 12% and audiobooks 11%. There are only minor differences between these figures and those of 2016. 

AM/FM radio now pulls a 39% share of time spent listening to talk/personality programming, down from 74% in 2014. Podcasts now have a 41% share, jumping from 12% in 2014.  

NPR surveyed 4,118 respondents from Q3 2021 to Q2 2022.

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