In looking at U.S. radio listening trends in October, it’s clear that Americans were, indeed, ready for some football—and some baseball in select pennant-chasing markets. Sports radio, already on the uptick as we reported last month, shot upward in October, setting several records along the way. Seasonality was readily apparent in the portable people meter (PPM) results for many of America’s top formats, just as the bright colors of autumn that now adorn the hills are impossible to miss.
The October listening trends for several major formats were consistent with those in September. News/Talk posted another solid month of gains coming out of the seasonal low-point of summer, while both Country and Classic Hits continued to cool from their summertime highs.
But Sports was the headline story this month, as it gained nearly a full share point, increasing from a 4.5 to 5.4-share (5.4% of the listening audience) among all listeners aged 6+ and from a 5.1 to a 6.0-share among audiences 25 to 54. These gains represent the largest single-month increases for the format since the PPM markets came online in late 2010. They also represent new audience share records for Sports. Notably, among audiences 6+, the audience share for this format has only been above a 5 two other times in PPM measurement: in October 2013 and November of 2013.
Also in the spoken word arena, News/Talk saw a rise in audience share for the second straight month, keeping with a similar annual cycle of increased ratings during the fall (see the chart below). The audience share for News/Talk grew to 9.1%, the first time News/Talk has been above a 9-share since March. October also marked the format’s second-best book of the year, falling just behind January (9.3%), a month that brought a heavy doses of winter weather across many parts of the country. If some of the farmer’s almanac forecasts hold true again this winter, News/Talk tune-in could benefit if we see more blizzards and polar vortexes.
Below are some additional headlines from Nielsen’s October PPM data across 45 markets* using the full-week (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-midnight) daypart audience shares.
|Persons 6+||Adults 18-34||Adults 25-54|
|News/Talk (9.1%)||Pop CHR (12.3%)||Pop CHR (9.0%)|
|Country (8.2%) tie||Country (9.5%)||Country (8.0%)|
|Pop CHR (8.2%) tie||Hot AC (7.3%)||Hot AC (6.9%)|
|AC (6.9%)||Rhythmic CHR (6.5%)||AC (6.6%)|
|Hot AC (6.3%)||Urban Contemp. (5.8%)||News/Talk (6.5%)|
|PPM—Portable people meter. CHR—Contemporary Hit Radio. AC—Adult Contemporary.
*Note: Nielsen Audio officially has 48 measured PPM markets, but three of them (Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, and San Jose) are included in the larger New York and San Francisco metro areas. Therefore, the listening data from those markets are included in these results even though we did not break them out separately.