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Nielsen Report Reveals New Radio Insights

Location and employment impact radio consumption

What’s driving a radio listener’s consumption of AM/FM programming? According to a recent Nielsen report, it’s location, location, location. Oh, and employment factors in too.

The 2017 Nielsen Total Audience Report offered several new insights, including the fact that AM/FM radio reaches a consistently high number of listeners throughout the year, with some American consumers (those known as frequent listeners) tuning in five days during of the week.

For example, the report said that Americans spend 87% of their AM/FM radio listening tuning into their three favorite stations. What’s more notable, the report said, is that 58% of all listening goes to just one station. A listener’s secondary station receives 19% of all listening, followed by 10% of all listening going to the third-favorite station.

When it comes to listening to AM/FM radio, more than two-thirds of listening happens away from the home, such as when people are on the job. According to the report, at least 65% of American adults listen to the radio away from the home between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays. When does consumption peak? According to the report, it peaks at 75% outside of the home during the afternoon drive time, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. during the week. As the average U.S. worker’s commute clocks in at around 26 minutes, it’s no surprise that peak hours for listeners who are employed full-time are between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., the report said.

Also notable: Americans who are employed listen to AM/FM radio more than those who don’t work, the report found. Listeners who are employed full-time engage with radio 2.5 hours longer per week than listeners who are not. The report found that 76% of radio listeners are between the ages of 18 and 64 and are in the workforce.

When it comes to reaching listeners by type of program, two formats rose to the top. Of the top 20 formats in 2017, country and news/talk were the top two, securing 13.6% and 12.2% shares of an audience. The other top formats were adult contemporary, pop contemporary hit radio and classic rock.

The report also offered insights on the diversity of those listening to radio. For example, approximately 67% of black adults use radio on a daily basis with an average of five days of listening per week, while 73% of Hispanic adults use radio daily with an average of 5.2 days of listening per week.

The report also focused on other types of technology adoption, including internet enabled TV-connected devices as well as access to entertainment and search engines/social networking via computers, smartphones and tablets.

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