Mexico has 1,659 radio stations, out of which 1,288 are being transmitted through Frequency Modulation (FM) and 371 through Amplitude Modulation (AM) – according to the data published on the World Radio Day.
The radio stations are held by around 400 media companies, according to data from the National Chamber for Radio and Television Industry, but only a few of them attract relevant shares of the audience and those are the ones analyzed in this study.
These include 11 radio stations, from the one that transmits the most famous morning news to the most popular broadcaster owned by the Mexican government. Five of them: Radio Fórmula, MVS Radio, W Radio, Imagen Radio and Radio Red – are the stations with the highest audience share and the ones who shape public opinion.
The ownership analysis showed that there is no plurality of content. These five stations belong to media conglomerates with strong linkages to the economic and political power in the country. Their pro-government editorial policy is being “awarded” with millions of Mexican pesos from the public budget for government advertising.
Audience of more than 50 million
These conglomerates compete for an audience of around 52 million of radio listeners, according to the data of the First National Survey for Consumption of Audiovisual Content, conducted in 2016 by the Federal Institute of Telecommunications. According to a report from the media research company Nielsen IBOPE, on average, one radio listener spends between three to four hours per day listening to the radio actively or while waiting for her/his favorite program.
Music, news and entertainment
71% of the Mexicans listen to FM radio stations, 14% listen to AM and 13% listen to the both types of stations; music programs are being chosen from 79% of the listeners, news programs from 32%, entertainment from 15%, sports programs from 12% and cultural content from 9% of the radio listeners. In another report done by the website Merca2.0 specialized for market analysis, it is estimated that the news programs reach 52.2% of the radio listeners, although they still stay below the music programs.
Listening at home
Eight of every ten listeners mostly switch on their radio at home, followed by listening to it in the car and finally at work; 66% of the Mexicans use stereo or recorder, 22% use their phone and 16% use the radio in their car or on public transport.
The online radio stations still fall behind
Besides the increasing number of digital platforms and more affordable cell phones, tablets and lap-tops, only 6% of the listeners use online radio stations and mainly because they can playback the programs at any time – a natural disadvantage of the traditional radio stations.
A profitable business for the government
The large radio audience in Mexico attracts investors and concessionaires: according to the Federal Institute for Telecommunications, the Mexican government collected 955 million of pesos from the public tenders for new radio frequencies in 2017 alone.