U.S. radio audiences continue to grow back toward where they were when the pandemic took off.
Nielsen Audio announced this morning, “The May 2021 PPM survey saw yet another month of gains in radio listening across the aggregate of markets as America continues to reopen and consumers return to pre-pandemic routines.”
The research company said radio’s weekly reach is at its highest levels since March 2020 and has been growing for the past four months.
“In May 2021, radio’s weekly reach surpassed 122 million weekly listeners, within 2 million of where it was before the lockdown precautions took effect last year.”
Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience in May also saw its highest levels since March 2020, though again not quite back to where it was.
“AQH audience levels have increased 11 percent since January as vaccinations have rolled out, leading to a gradual return to pre-pandemic routines including dining out, traveling and more normal commutes.”
The company says that from a weekly reach perspective, “the radio audience in May 2021 is 8% larger than the same month from one year ago, while for AQH the audience is now 20% larger than May of 2020.” May listening gains were spread across dayparts.
As for trends within formats, Nielsen Audio said it sees familiar seasonal listening patterns “corresponding with the shift towards summer.” Formats on the upside include classic hits, Hot AC and all-sports.