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Classic Rock Rides High on Summer Vibes Again

Warm-weather listening means increased tune-in for this format, Nielsen reports

Nielsen has released its August PPM analysis, and classic rock has again emerged on top as the format of the summer.

That distinction, for which the format narrowly beat out classic hits, is based on the most improved metric. Classic rock saw the most growth in audience share, when comparing tune-in during the first five months of the year to the summer months of June, July and August.

However, news/talk remained the format with the largest overall audience share during this period, and the recent landfalls of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma will likely affect the format’s audience share in the September PPM market report, which will highlight radio habits in Houston, Austin, Miami, Tampa and other affected markets.

This is based both on common sense (at least in the author’s opinion) and historical trends, based on PPM data. For example, in 2012 when Super Storm Sandy struck, it affected seven East Coast PPM markets, and Nielsen reported that the radio audience in those northeastern markets jumped 50% as consumers sought updates on the storm. Also, the share of listening among news stations in New York increased significantly; in fact, on the day Sandy made landfall in the Big Apple, the format represented half of all radio listening in the market.