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Radio Format Niches Used to Target Voters

Targeted messages over AM/FM radio are seen as particularly useful in swing states

Nielsen has published a report arguing that an AM/FM radio listener’s taste for a particular niche station could tell political campaign marketers what party they likely identify with, as well as which market is likely to have a particular type of voter.

Focusing solely on the swing states of Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, due to the particular importance they hold for presidential candidates to win an election, the report draws its findings from voter registration data and from Nielsen’s Portable People Meter panelists garnered from the major metropolitan areas in each of the three swing states.

Nielsen notes that Florida citizens are “voracious radio listeners.” In the Jacksonville market, radio “reaches 95.4% of ultraconservative voters” and the adult contemporary format is the most popular among Republican voters there. The AC format is also the most popular among Democratic voters in Orlando.

The quest for winning over independent voters is often seen as the path to victory for a presidential candidate so Nielsen has targeted central Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor as the best place to do that, citing “radio has the ability to reach 93.4% of independent voters, the highest in the state.”

In North Carolina, specifically in the Charlotte market, the report says urban and pop radio formats reach a majority of Democrats under the age of 35 and adult contemporary and adult hits reach Democratic voting listeners over the age of 35. Meanwhile the overall radio medium reaches 91% of Republican voters in Charlotte, slightly higher than the reach for Democrats (90.3%) and independents (90.1%).

The Greensboro-Winston-Salem, N.C., markets have a potential, Nielsen says, to reach a variety of voter types like super-Democrats, ultraconservatives, on-the-fence liberals and green traditionalists. The Raleigh-Durham, N.C., market is noted as being a good place to target independents (93.6%) as well as mild Republicans (95.6%) and left-out Democrats (95.5%).

In Pennsylvania, Nielsen says radio overall has a potential to reach “more than 94% of Democrats, at least 92% of independent voters and more than 95% of Republicans.” The Philadelphia radio market reaches “97.3% of mild Republicans, 94.6% of on-the-fence liberals and 95.6% of super-Democrats,” the report says.

Nielsen noted the Pittsburgh radio market as having turned more conservative than previous surveys, saying they have a potential to reach “94.6% of ultraconservative, 94.7% of mild Republicans, 92.8 % of conservative Democrats and 95.6% of super-Democrats.”