Monday, May 22, 2017

Nielsen: Radio Habits Are Changing

Another summer is just around the corner, and with it comes the seasonal changes in habits for millions of Americans. When it comes to listening to the radio, summer brings a seasonal shift in tuning behavior that matches the lifestyle of warm weather days, trips to the shore and vacation mindsets.

So as Nielsen dissects April portable people meter (PPM) ratings, they see several historical trends in the data as we move into summer. Notably, News/Talk’s recent high water marks driven by interest in politics are cooling just slightly, and Country radio is surging, particularly with Millennials.

News/Talk radio stations have enjoyed a long stretch of increased share of audience due to the Trump Bump. News/Talk tune-in over the past seven months has represented a return to levels not recorded since 2011 or 2012, including some record-breaking months in PPM measurement. The chart below tracks News/Talk’s share of audience since November, with the April data revealing a slight dip in the numbers and a reset to pre-election levels.

Historically, News/Talk as a format, trends lowest in the summer, when working patterns, travel and lifestyle changes alter the daily routines of millions of Americans everywhere. It will be interesting to see how the summer of 2017 trends for the format, considering the intensity of coverage and no shortage of material coming out of Washington, D.C. these days.

One format that does peak in the summer is Country, and we’re seeing signs of that annual surge in the April results.

Although the April 2017 numbers for Country trail the same results from years past (when the format was at its PPM peak; 2014 and 2015), the past few months have seen a significant uptick in listening for the format, particularly among Millennial listeners aged 18-34. Since January (7.9%), Country’s Millenninal share has jumped by more than half a share-point, coming in at 8.6% this month.

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