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2016 Summer Radio Listening Trends

Nielsen July PPM survey results show news/talk bolstered by the election

Summer is associated with warmer temperatures, vacation and cool drinks. Radio listening trends are not immune to these seasonal changes, and Nielsen’s July 2016 PPM survey bears this out again in 2016. However, the political season did appear to mitigate some of the typical drop-off.

News/talk radio is a typically popular format, and this summer echoes 2012 in its popularity — at a 9% share among those aged 6+ in July 2016, as opposed to 9.3% in July 2012 for the same demographic, which had been down in previous years. In July 2016, news/talk is at 3.9% for millennials (18–34) and 6.5% for those aged 25–54. All demographics saw an increase from its counterpart in July 2015, 2014 and 2013. Nielsen predicts that this uptick will continue through the fall and the upcoming general election.

In this report, Nielsen also proclaimed pop CHR to be the sounds of the season, popular among all the demographics broken out and more listened to during the summer than during colder seasons, with the greatest increase in listener share during this time for the third consecutive year. The trend continues with millennials, reaching 4% for the third time since 2011, although classic hits remain more popular overall with persons 6+ (at 5.4%) and 25–54 (4.9%) this year. 

Broken down by average quarter-hour share for the full week daypart, among millennials, country, hot AC, urban contemporary and AC radio were the next most popular formats for July. After pop CHR, adults 25–54 most listened to country, hot AC, AC and news/talk radio.