Summer Radio Tuning Has a Classic Feel this Year

Summer Radio Tuning Has a Classic Feel this Year

As we head into the dog days of summer, American radio airwaves are taking on a classic feel. In each of the past two summer rating periods, the Classic Hits format has grown its share of national listening than any other format. The release of Nielsen’s June portable people meter (PPM) survey results affirm the gains of not only Classic Hits, but of the Classic Rock format as well.

Despite trailing Classic Hits in audience share among listeners 6 and older in June, Classic Rock had a strong showing among both Millennials (tying last summer’s record 4.8% share) and adults 25-54 (registering its highest share since a year ago). This June marks the fourth straight summer that the format has matched or increased its share in a year-over-year comparison.

The summertime radio listening story isn’t complete without mentioning Classic Hits, and in June the format posted higher results across all three of the demographics. But the real story lies in the historical comparisons to where Classic Hits stood in past years. June 2016 marks the format’s highest June share in PPM measurement, and bodes well for the rest of the summer. If in a few months’ time if Classic Hits is once again crowned the “format of the summer,” it will mark the third consecutive year it has held this title.

Finally, sticking to historical comparisons we can also see that the Country format in June—perennially a summertime gainer—saw some of the lowest shares we’ve captured in several years. In 2013, Country claimed the title of “format of the summer” after a big mid-year ratings boost; it then carried that momentum into the next year before cooling off, and Country has yet to regain those same levels of audience share in PPM markets in the past few years. This month, we see Country register its lowest June shares since 2012 among persons 6 and older (7.5% in June 2012), Millennials (8.6% in June 2012) and 25-to-54 year-olds (7.2% in June 2012).

*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.