Guide to researching the Radio Industry

“I can’t live without my radio” — L.L. Cool

My friends in the  Business Cluster are working on a research project that requires them to research the radio industry and some key companies within the industry. The resources found on this page should provide them with an excellent start to finding good information for the project.

Note that business resources can be a bit challenging to cite in APA format, so take a look at this helpful guide on citing your sources.

Updated 1/18/18 with some free websites from around the web.

Best Bets for Industry Analysis

The resources in this section are the best bets for analyzing the broad industry.

Encyclopedia of American Industries

If you need to know some history of an industry, the Encyclopedia of American Industries is a great resource. Just search for “radio” to find some excellent background of the industry.


IbisWorld is a good place to get started for a good overview of several sectors of the U.S. industry.

  • Simply search by keyword for “radio” to find a few relevant reports on radio broadcasting and internet radio broadcasting.
  • Note:  Don’t just rely on IbisWorld for the bulk of your research.  Doing so will indicate that you have not done an adequate job and have not fully researched the industry.

First Research

First Research also offers broad industry overviews, which compliment the reports from IbisWorld quite nicely. You can find reports such as “Radio Broadcasting & Programming.”

  • Many reports offer much better global coverage than IbisWorld.
  • Reports cover critical issues, business challenges, trends, opportunities, and more.

Plunkett Research

Plunkett Research can be used for broad overviews of industries.  While not as comprehensive as other sources, it is useful to view Radio in the context of the larger “Entertainment & Media Industry” or the “Advertising, Branding, and Marketing” industry reports.


Mintel has an excellent market research reports that address the consumer side of the radio industry.

  • The market research reports in Mintel cover consumer buying, demand, preferences, market drivers, and other consumer information.
  • Simply use the search option for keywords such as “radio.”


WARC is a great tool to understand how companies are marketing and advertising to consumers via radio and other broadcast media.

  • Search for “radio” to find articles and case studies on reaching consumers with radio.
  • Use the Data tab to find “Media Consumption” overview and charts.
  • Use the Topics tab to browse by to “Media Channels and Touchpoints,” then find “Radio.”


Statista is great resource to find some extremely useful statistics for your industry. Simply search for keywords companies, or brands relating to the radio or broadcasting industry  to find stats for your project.

  • Tip:  Once you find a useful statistic, look at the “Release” tab on the left side of the page to find the “Source Link,” which will lead you to the original data source and potentially more information you can use.

Business Source Complete

Business Source Complete has a lot of useful information that can take your research to the next level. I’ve listed it here last not because it is the least important, but because I would use articles and reports from Business Source Complete to fill in the gaps of your research.

  • You will find Industry Profiles and Trade Publications that can enhance the broad coverage of other industry reports. Search for ”radio broadcasting industry”, by company name, or use similar terms.
  • Look for trade publications  for excellent information written by people who are embedded in the industry
  • For companies such as Cumulus Media and iHeartMedia, you will find SWOT analyses and other company information and articles.

SEC Filings

The 10-k (annual SEC filings) for individual companies in the industry contain financial information for companies, as well as textual descriptions of business strategies, risk factors, competition, and more. Look in Part 1, Item 1 and Item 1A for this information in a company’s 10-K report. You will notice that the companies use some of the similar language found in reports like IBISWorld and others.


Some good free* sources from around the Web

Below are some good resources from trade and industry websites around the web.   *While many of these will have “premium content” for subscribers only, most will generally offer some free statistics or reports.

Radio Advertising Bureau


  • While much of the Nielsen data is only available to commercial clients, you can find some free data on the site.

Radio Ink

  • Radio Ink is a radio-industry trade publication that is published bi-weekly for the radio management sector of the radio broadcasting industry.
  • Radio Ink’s CEO offers his predictions on the industry in 2018, and other useful content may be found on the site’s blog.

Radio World

Radio Intelligence Radio News

  • An aggregator of radio industry news, with links to stories from around the web.


Top Picks for Company Analysis

The following resources are particularly useful when analyzing specific companies in the industry.

Mergent Online

Mergent Online should be your first place to look for company information.

  1. Search for your company, and look at the Company Financials tab.  You can download up to 30 years of as-reported financial information for public companies.
  2. Search for your company, and look at the Competitors tab to analyze the competition.
  3. Search for your company, and look at the Reports Tab.  Click on Equity Reports to get a stock report for your company and a few of its competitors.
  4. Search for your company, and look at the Horizon tab to understand suppliers and customer relationships.
  5. On the search menu, click the Investext Snapshot tab. Search for your company to find up to three stock reports about your company.

This video demonstrates how to find the most-essential information quickly in Mergent Online.


Investext contains analyst, stock, and brokerage reports for industries and companies.


OneSource is another fantastic resource for both company and industry information.

Hoover’s Online

Hoover’s Online has great company and industry information.

  • Use the Company tab to search for a particular company to find company financials, competitors, company news, and more.
  • Use the Industry Tab to search for your industry terms to find some excellent industry reports. The industry data comes from First Research, which is the same information found via the First Research interface.


Privco is an excellent resource to use when trying to find information about privately held companies.

  • Use it to search for information about  private companies in the industry.


Factiva is a great resource for looking for news about companies in the industry.


In LexisNexis, use the “Get Company Information” search box to search for company information.

  • In addition to company financial information, you will find company news, company organization and subsidiary information, and company legal/lawsuit information.

Related Topics: Business Cluster, Industry Guides