The report shows radio’s audience increased year over year, adding more than 1.6 million weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 242.8 million listeners on an average weekly basis.
Much has been written over the last few years by people much smarter than me about the issue of declining time spent listening (click the links to read a few).
This much I do know: cume going down is not a good sign in spite of the fact that average "time spent listening" often goes up, at least at first, as fewer people use a medium.
Healthy cume increases often, at first, cause average time spent listening to drop as new folks discover the new product and get familiar with it.
Only good things can happen, whether you believe that cume is "really" going up or not, if content creators act as if we have a problem with time spent listening.
Building cume is hard. It requires advertising, cluster cross-promotion, social media expertise, buzzy content, raving fans. Arbitron's optimistic stats appear to demonstrate that new media is helping radio do it in spite of the difficulty.
Growing time spent listening is comparatively easier and free. Set listening appointments, driven by having engaging, relatable things to say, never wasting the listener's time.
Why wouldn't everyone who opens a microphone work harder to pick that low-hanging fruit?
Act as if you have a TSL problem and work harder to "fix it." Only good things can happen.