In fact, there are more than 300,000 listeners tuned to Pandora in any given time on average.
That's as many as CBS Radio and Clear Channel – combined.
And you can take the next 17 groups in Ando's ranking, combine them, and you'd still have to double them to equal Pandora's dominance.
As admirable as Pandora's number is, I think it only scratches the surface of the kind of listenership that's possible over time. Pandora lacks the habit your station enjoys, for example. It lacks the ubiquity. It lacks the ease of use. It lacks your "loudspeaker" – your reach. It lacks so much of what makes radio a mass medium.
At least for now. And not forever.
And yet, Pandora rules anyway. That's why these stats raise legitimate questions about the streaming strategies of broadcasters.
I've said it before and I'll continue to preach it: Online radio is not ONLY where you repurpose your terrestrial signal, it's a playground for more content and more value propositions, powered in part by the reach of your over-the-air loudspeaker.
Imagine what the Pandora numbers would be if they advertised their offerings on your stations. They would be infinitely greater than what they are now. Well, you have the same capability to drive your audiences to worthy online destinations and it won't cost you a penny.
The key is to be worthy.
One job of the broadcaster is to provide audiences with more stuff to listen to that's worth seeking out. That, in turn, will drive usage. And only then will come monetization. Wish as we might, it doesn't happen the other way around.
Online radio is a place to attract listeners to things worth listening to that they can't hear in that form anywhere else. Even over the air (maybe especially over the air).
Broadcasters need to get serious about their online radio strategies.
Otherwise, online streams from conventional broadcasters will become to listeners what leftovers are to foodies.