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Country Stations Are Trending Up — Especially With Millennials

Nielsen says the election season bump is beginning to decline for news/talk

Nielsen is out with its latest report detailing seasonal shifts in radio listening trends.

Summer may not be here yet, but warmer weather is just around the corner, and listeners are already beginning to change the dial to reflect the change in activities and mood, according to the April Portable People Meter ratings.

Even after the presidential inauguration, news/talk-formatted stations have enjoyed increased share of audience due to interest in national politics, but that seems to have trailed off a bit to pre-election cycle levels. This is on track with previous summers, when the format traditionally has the lowest tune-in. However, it remains to be seen whether the unpredictable Trump administration will change the pattern this summer.

On the other hand, country music stations are gaining steam, on trend with past summers. Although still down from its peak in 2014 and 2015, the April Millennial audience share was 8.6% — up from January’s 7.9%.

Speaking of Millennials, Nielsen offers a comparison between April 2012 and April 2017 to track changes in their listening preferences in that five-year period. Pop contemporary hit radio is still the most listened-to format for this age group, but the share of the audience has declined overall to 11.7% from 12.2%. Adult contemporary and hot adult contemporary are both up to 7.3% and 6.8%, respectively; while urban contemporary is up to 6.8% from 4.9% in 2012. News/talk is up to 4.4% from 3.7%, and another seasonal favorite, classic hits, is also up to 3.8%.