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It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again for News and Sports Radio in November
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It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again for News and Sports Radio in November

The phrase “location, location, location” doesn’t just ring true in real estate. It’s also hugely telling when it comes to tracking public sentiment over the past few historic weeks in America. In just a six-day period at the start of November, one of the most exciting World Series contests on record wrapped up with the Chicago Cubs ending 108 years of championship misery—and that wasn’t even the biggest story of that week. Notably, the hype leading into the U.S. election meant big listener numbers for the News/Talk format.

Indeed, it’s déjà vu all over again with the release of Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) ratings for the November survey: News/Talk and Sports continued to garner higher-than-average shares of listening from the national radio audience, just as they did last month. It’s also worth noting, for comparison’s sake, that the November survey this year covered Oct. 6 to Nov. 2, 2016.

These results show that the News/Talk format registered the highest shares of listening since the same month four years earlier. What’s more, because of the way the survey schedule worked out this year, the November 2016 book did not include the actual U.S. election (Nov. 8), unlike the November 2012 survey did (the 2012 election happened on the second to last day of the November survey). With all that in mind, it’s interesting to assess News/Talk’s strong performance this year and to anticipate what may lie in store for the format once the December survey is out.

As for Sports radio, November was another high-performing month corresponding with the annual fall upswing for the format that we track each year. Notably, Sports stations across the U.S. stayed hot this month with Millennial listeners (those aged 18-34) by matching October’s record high 4.2% share—the best we’ve seen in PPM measurement.

And finally, as we approach the end of the year, it’s also tradition to look back at the major radio storylines from 2016. The chart below details the month-by-month trend of the 6+ listener share among 10 different formats. It’s interesting to note that in addition to many of the growth stories we tracked this year, which included Classic Hits and Classic Rock spikes during the summer months and Mexican Regional and Urban Contemporary pops this fall, we’ve also noted rating stagnation for Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR), Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country stations.

All of these storylines and more—including the impact of holiday music which is just now proliferating across many stations nationwide—will be on our minds as we dig into the December ratings next month.

*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.

Data used in this report is inclusive of multicultural audiences. Hispanic consumer audiences are composed of both English and Spanish speaking representative populations.