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Noncoms Enjoy News/Talk Tailwinds

Nielsen looks closer at recent trends in the format

There are several dozen noncommercial radio stations with news/talk formats in the United States — 66 of them in PPM-rated markets — and as a group they seem to be benefitting from the national electoral and political situation even more than their commercial counterparts.

Nielsen is shining a spotlight on how news/talk radio performs in public noncom stations. The research company earlier had reported that the format in general experienced steady growth in its share of listening audience last year, helped by the winds of a controversial election, and it speculated that 2017 could turn out to be a year where traditional patterns and results don’t repeat now that news/talk has some new energy and is breaking new ground with younger listeners.

The company writes in a March blog post that “It can be revealing to break out the contributions and growth trends” between commercial and noncom news/talk stations.

PPM markets have 66 public noncom stations and 205 commercial stations. Commercial news/talk stations have a significantly larger share of overall audience and older listeners, while noncoms score slightly better with younger, millennial listeners, it said.

It then compared the year-over-year growth of these two groups and said those public stations “are gaining ground faster than their commercial counterparts,” as shown in the accompanying graphic.

Nielsen also looked at recent trends in millennial audiences in relation to the popular country format. “As we head deeper into 2017, the trends are ticking upwards once again for country when comparing to a year ago,” though still experiencing softness with millennials.

Read the full blog post.