This Week the U.S. Celebrates the Second Annual Public Radio Music Day
It’s that time again. The time to honor one of the most longstanding electronic media and its role in our lives.
After kicking off the very first Public Radio Music Day on April 16th, 2020, the second annual event lands this week on Wednesday and is hosted by the noncomMUSIC Alliance and its partner stations.
Established in 2018, the noncomMUSIC Alliance celebrates nonprofit, local public radio’s role in connecting artists with the communities who enjoy and support their music. It represents over 150 partner public radio music stations, all locally owned and operated.
The United States Congress has declared November 10th, 2021, a day to recognize the local and nationwide value of public radio music stations.
Music is the lifeblood of the radio industry. It represents the vast majority of all content on AM/FM radio and bill number S. Res. 444 expresses support and deep appreciation for the role of public radio music stations in serving listeners, musicians, and hundreds of communities in the United States.
House representatives Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) and Steve Chabot (OH-R) introduced the Public Radio Music Day Act in 2020 while Senators Roy Blunt and Chris Coons introduced a companion resolution in the Senate.
“Every day, hundreds of local public radio stations enrich the lives of the millions of Americans who tune in to discover emerging artists, connect with local culture, enjoy unique musical curations and experience innovative programming,” Coons said in a release. “Public Radio Music Day celebrates the performers, fans and stations who form these amazing communities around the universal language of music.”
“Even in an ever-transforming media and entertainment environment, local public radio music stations continue to provide a unique service to our communities and our nation,” Rep. Chabot added. “Public Radio Music Day will highlight the need to give more Americans more opportunities to experience the unique and valuable programming available on our nation’s local public radio stations.”
Radio music stations across the U.S. will spend Wednesday uniting listeners as well as music makers and fans to celebrate the power of public radio music.
This year, the noncomMUSIC Alliance is also paying tribute to the contributions made by public radio music stations to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Public Radio Music Day press release has stated that in “the midst of quarantines and times of uncertainty, public radio music has offered consistent emotional encouragement to their communities through their cultural connections, promoting well-being and unity while continuing to enable musical discovery.”
Public music radio connects listeners and artists in more ways than just music. These stations support local and regional acts and, while showcasing national touring artists, also develop emerging artists. The stations also promote local events and venues and celebrate eclectic musical genres.
“Noncommercial public radio stations are embedded in America’s music vitality and have become an integral part of America’s cultural experience. These stations support emerging artists and beloved musical genres,” said Michael Riksen, executive director of the noncomMUSIC Alliance.
Over 700 public radio stations in all 50 states feature music as part of their programming, reaching over 20 million listeners every week.
While streaming platforms like Spotify, Rdio and Tidal continue to grow in subscribers, most Americans are still tuning into the radio instead.
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center report on audio listening in the US, almost 92 percent of the listening public listens to AM/FM radio. That percentage has changed little over the last 10 years.
Senator Scanlon has previously said that every week, over 20 million American listeners tune in to local non-commercial radio stations to discover, learn about and enjoy music selections, artists and genres that many times are only available only on public radio.
“Public radio connects emerging artists, music, and local culture,” said Senator Coons. “I’m glad to join my colleagues in recognizing November 10 as Public Radio Music Day, and to celebrate our radio stations that enrich our communities and bring us together in times we need it most.”
Currently, the biggest AM/FM radio company in the United States is iHeartRadio. According to its internal statistics, iHeartRadio owns 858 radio stations that reach 245 million people.
“Music is a basic human need,” said Tom Poleman, the head of programming at iHeartRadio to vox.com. “That’s why we work so well with the music industry, because radio is inherently social. Artists and radio have always had that fantastic symbiotic relationship. We can’t survive without music.”
Tune into your local radio station this Wednesday to see how they will celebrate the oldest and most popular form of medium in America.