List of most-listened-to radio programs

In the United States, radio listenership is gauged by Nielsen and others for both commercial radio and public radio.[1] Nielsen and similar services provide estimates by regional market and by standard daypart, but do not compile nationwide information by host. Because there are significant gaps in Nielsen's coverage in rural areas, and because there are only a few markets where the company's proprietary data can be compared against competing ratings tabulators, there is a great deal of estimation and interpolation when attempting to compile a list of the most-listened-to radio programs in the United States. In 2009, Arbitron, the American radio industry's largest audience-measurement company at the time (since subsumed into its television counterpart Nielsen), said that "the job of determining number of listeners for (any particular program or host) is too complicated, expensive and difficult for them to bother with."[2] In contrast, because most UK radio broadcasts are distributed consistently and nationwide, the complications of measuring audiences that are present in American radio are not present for British radio.

Talkers Magazine, an American trade publication focusing on talk radio, formerly compiled a list of the most-listened-to commercial long-form talk shows in the United States, based primarily on Nielsen data.

In addition to Talkers' independent analyses, radio companies of all formats include estimates of audience in news releases. The nature of news releases allows radio companies to inflate their listener totals by obscuring the difference between listeners at any given time, cumulative listenership over a time frame, and potential audience.

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