Radio Formats Seeing A Surge This Year

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Radio Formats Seeing A Surge This Year


May 18, 2017 by Mark Maier

News/Talk formats look like they haven't had the massive drop-off in listenership that usually hits in first quarter after an election...

"According to Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) ratings, no matter which side of the political spectrum news/talk radio stations lean, the past year has seen steady growth in the format’s share of listening audience across the board. This month’s results are the highest February shares for News/Talk in PPM measurement for both Millennials 18-34 (4.7%) and persons 25-54 (7.9%). From a general audience standpoint (all listeners 6 and older) this month (10.5%) trails only February 2011 (10.6%) for the largest February News/Talk share on record.

News/Talk Audience Share For Commercial And Non-Commercial Stations

February 2017

Non-Commercial Stations (66)

Commercial Stations (205)

Persons 6+

4.3%

6.8%

Persons 18-34

2.8%

2.2%

Persons 25-54

3.9%

4.5%

Source: Nielsen, April 2017

Nielsen’s News/Talk format classification consists of both commercial News/Talk stations and public, non-commercial affiliates, and it can be revealing to break out the contributions and growth trends between the two types. Across the PPM markets there are 66 public, non-commercial stations, along with 205 commercial stations.

Commercial News/Talk stations have a significantly larger share of the overall audience and older listeners, while non-commercial stations score slightly better with younger, Millennial listeners, says the report. When you compare the year-over-year growth of these two groups, those public stations are gaining ground faster than their commercial counterparts.

Commercial And Non-Commercial News/Talk Shares

 

Commercial (66)

Non-commercial

 

Feb. ‘16

Feb. ‘17

% change

Feb. 16

Feb. 17

% change

Persons 6+

6.8

6.8

flat

3.8

4.3

+13%

Persons 18-34

2.1

2.2

+5%

2.3

2.8

+22%

Persons 25-54

4.2

4.5

+6%

3.3

3.9

+18%

Source: Nielsen, April 2017

Over the past several years, Country radio has enjoyed both a hot streak in 2013 and 2014, as well as a prolonged cooling off in the years since, says the report. As we head deeper into 2017, the trends are ticking upwards once again for Country when comparing to a year ago. The chart below tracks the February performance for Country, which is growing again overall but still experiencing softness with Millennials.

Country February Listening Trends

 

Feb. 2011

Feb. 2012

Feb. 2013

Feb. 2014

Feb. 2015

Feb. 2016

Feb. 2017

Persons 6+

6.9%

7.1%

7.5%

7.8%

7.6%

7.2%

7.4%

Persons 18-34

6.7%

7.9%

8.9%

9.3%

8.4%

8.3%

8.0%

Persons 25- 54

6.8%

6.9%

7.1%

7.6%

7.4%

7.0%

7.2%

Source: Nielsen, April 2017

News/Talk radio typically sees a surge in listening during election years, as people tune in to hear the political commentary in the lead up to November, before dropping back to typically listening share the next year. Unlike in years past, however, this year is breaking with norms, both politically and in Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) ratings.

For the complete Nielsen report, including graphs, please visit here.


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