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Tops of 2014: Audio
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Tops of 2014: Audio

As the calendar gets ready to change to 2015, we look back at national radio listening trends among the more than 243 million Americans (aged 12 and older) who tune in each week to see which formats kept toes tapping across the country.

2014 was an up and down year for Country, America’s No. 1 overall format in the 48 Nielsen portable people meter (PPM) markets. In June, the format peaked at its all-time best for audience share, before ending the year with four straight months of declines. News/Talk remained the top-ranked overall format with listeners 6+, but its lead over the competition has grown smaller with every passing year. And Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) lived up to its name in 2014, rising up the charts with listeners young and old, and moving from fifth to third this year among audiences aged 18 to 34.

The charts below break down the national listening landscape for the top 10 most popular radio formats of 2014 in Nielsen’s PPM markets.

TOP 10 AUDIO FORMATS OF 2014 (Persons 6+)

Rank Format P6+ Share
1.  News Talk Information 8.8%
2.  Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 8.3%
3.  Country 8.2%
4 Adult Contemporary (AC) 7.1%
5.  Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.2%
6.  Classic Hits 5.2%
7.  Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) 4.9%
8.  Classic Rock 4.7%
9.  All Sports 4.4%
10 Mexican Regional 3.7%

Source: Nielsen

AQH—Average quarter hour. Data from January-November 2014. Persons 6+ AQH across all 48 PPM markets, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-12 midnight. Read as: Year-to-date (through November 2014), 8.8% of U.S. radio listeners aged 6+ were tuned to a News/Talk station during any 15-minute period during the day.

TOP 10 AUDIO FORMATS OF 2014 (Persons 18-34)

Rank Format P18-34 Share
1.  Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 12.3%
2.  Country 9.8%
3.  Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 7.1%
4 Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 6.7%
5.  Adult Contemporary (AC) 5.9%
6.  Urban Contemporary 5.8%
7.  Mexican Regional 5.2%
8.  Alternative 5.0%
9.  Classic Rock 3.9%
10 News Talk Information 3.5%

Source: Nielsen

AQH—Average quarter hour. Data from January-November 2014. Persons 18-34 AQH across all 48 PPM markets, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-12 midnight. Read as: Year-to-date (through November 2014), 12.3% of U.S. radio listeners aged 6+ were tuned to a Pop CHR station during any 15-minute period during the day.

TOP 10 AUDIO FORMATS OF 2014 (Persons 25-54)

Rank Format P25-54 Share
1.  Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 9.0%
2.  Country 8.0%
3.  Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.9%
4 Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.8%
5.  News Talk Information 6.2%
6.  Classic Rock 5.3%
7.  All Sports 5.0%
8.  Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) 4.8%
9.  Mexican Regional 4.6%
10 Classic Hits 4.5%

Source: Nielsen

AQH—Average quarter hour. Data from January-November 2014. Persons 25-54 AQH across all 48 PPM markets, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-12 midnight. Read as: Year-to-date (through November 2014), 9.0% of U.S. radio listeners aged 6+ were tuned to a Pop CHR station during any 15-minute period during the day.