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Tops of 2015: Audio
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Tops of 2015: Audio

As we countdown the final days of 2015 and get ready for what 2016 has in store, it’s important to look back at the trends and growth we saw in the radio industry this past year. One of this year’s major headlines in the industry was the growth of radio’s weekly reach to a record 245 million Americans (aged 12 and older) in the second quarter. What’s more, Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, also released in the second quarter, found that when comparing weekly reach among all adults, radio leads the way with 93% of Americans tuning in.

And while News/Talk remained American’s No. 1 overall format in the 48 Nielsen portable people meter (PPM) markets, Urban Contemporary and Sports both experienced record-breaking years. For the second year in a row, Classic Hits took home the “Format of the Summer” title but not without strong competition from Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country. The harsh winter months drove up listenership for News/Talk and All News, particularly in the Northeast. And while Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) didn’t always grab headlines this year, it consistently remained one of the most listened to formats, leading the way with listeners aged 18-34 and 25-54 across PPM markets.

The charts below break down the national listening landscape for the 10 most popular radio formats of 2015 in Nielsen’s PPM Markets.

Top 10 Radio Formats of 2015 (Persons 6+)

Rank Format P6+ Share
1 News/Talk 8.90%
2 Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 8.20%
3 Country* 7.90%
4 Adult Contemporary (AC) 7.40%
5 Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.70%
6 Classic Hits 5.30%
7 Classic Rock 5.20%
8 Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) 4.90%
9 Sports 4.70%
10 Urban Contemporary 3.50%
AQH—Average quarter hour.
Data from January-November 2015. Persons 6+ AQH across 45 non-embedded PPM markets, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-12 midnight.
Read as: Year-to-date (through November 2015), 8.9% of U.S. radio listeners aged 6+ were tuned to a News/Talk station during any 15-minute period during the day.

Top 10 Radio Formats of 2015 (Persons 18-34)

Rank Format P18-34 Share
1 Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 12.40%
2 Country 9.10%
3 Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 7.60%
4 Urban Contemporary 6.50%
5 Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.40%
6 Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 5.80%
7 Alternative 5.00%
8 Mexican Regional 4.60%
9 Classic Rock 4.50%
10 News/Talk 3.60%
AQH—Average quarter hour.
Data from January-November 2015. Persons 6+ AQH across 45 non-embedded PPM markets, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-12 midnight.
Read as: Year-to-date (through November 2015), 12.4% of U.S. radio listeners aged 6+ were tuned to a Pop CHR station during any 15-minute period during the day.

Top 10 Radio Formats of 2015 (Persons 25-54)

Rank Format P25-54 Share
1 Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 9.00%
2 Country 7.80%
3 Adult Contemporary (AC) 7.20%
4 Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 7.20%
5 News/Talk 6.20%
6 Classic Rock 5.70%
7 Sports 5.20%
8 Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) 4.80%
9 Classic Hits 4.50%
10 Mexican Regional 4.10%
AQH—Average quarter hour.
Data from January-November 2015. Persons 6+ AQH across 45 non-embedded PPM markets, Mon-Sun 6 a.m.-12 midnight.
Read as: Year-to-date (through November 2015), 8.9% of U.S. radio listeners aged 6+ were tuned to a News/Talk station during any 15-minute period during the day.

*Country is a combination of Country and New Country formats.
Data used in this report is inclusive of multicultural audiences. Hispanic consumer audiences are composed of both English- and Spanish-speaking representative populations.