When America Listens to the Radio

February 13, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Hispanic | Men | Radio | Women | Youth & Gen X

Nielsen-Top-Rated-Radio-Dayparts-by-Age-Feb2014Some 92% of Americans aged 12 and older listen to the radio for 5 minutes or more during an average week between the hours of 6AM and midnight, says Nielsen in a new study entitled State of the Media: Audio Today 2014 [download page]. Radio’s reach is consistent among demographics and genders, lowest among women aged 65 and older (84%), and highest among men aged 45-54 (95%). There are some interesting age-related differences when looking radio listening behavior during the day.

Overall, mid-day (10AM-3PM) is the highest-rated day-part during the workweek, with 12.6% of Americans aged 12 and up tuning in to the radio in an average 15-minute period during those hours. Among 18-34-year-olds, though, the afternoon drive hours of 3-7PM garner the highest ratings (11.2%), slightly ahead of the mid-day hours.

In fact, in general, older Americans tend to tune in more in the morning and mid-day hours, while the opposite is true in the evenings and on weekends.

Of note: during each day-part examined, a majority of listening takes place away from the home. That’s true even during evenings and weekends, though to a lesser extent than during the 10AM-7PM range.

So who listens most? Nielsen breaks down consumption figures by age and race/ethnicity indicating that:

  • Millennials (18-34) spend 11.5 hours per week listening to the radio;
  • Gen Xers (35-49) spend 14 hours per week;
  • Boomers (50-64) spend 14.5 hours per week;
  • Hispanics (12+) spend 12.5 hours per week; and
  • African-Americans (12+) spend 12 hours per week.

Country ranks as the top format overall, occupying 14.8% share of total listening. However, News/Talk is the most popular format among Boomers, while Mexican Regional is tops among Hispanics and Urban Adult Contemporary among African Americans.

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