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Urban Contemporary and News/Talk Radio Continue to Soar
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Urban Contemporary and News/Talk Radio Continue to Soar

At the end of last summer, Urban Radio peaked with a 3.7% share of listening for all persons 6 and older—an all-time high. Six months later, the format has started to surge again, tying last summer’s record.

So far this year, Urban Contemporary has gained 0.1% each month in Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) ratings, moving 3.5%-3.6%-3.7% from January to March among all listeners (6+). The format has also been climbing among adults 25-54, growing from 4.2% in January to register an all-time high of 4.4% in March. The biggest change since February occurred among Urban Contemporary’s core audience of adults 18-34, where the share jumped three-tenths of a point to a 6.9% share in March.

Urban Contemporary March Listening Trend

Urban Contemporary Mar-13 Mar-14 Mar-15 Mar-16
Persons 6+ 2.90% 3.10% 3.40% 3.70%
Persons 18-34 5.30% 5.90% 6.40% 6.90%
Persons 25-54 3.10% 3.50% 4.00% 4.4%*
*New record.
Source: Nielsen

Urban Contemporary has catapulted into No. 4 on the list of most popular formats among Millennials, pushing Adult Contemporary down to No. 5 in the March 2016 National PPM Format Trends

The excitement around the U.S. presidential election in 2016 continues to drive the audience of News/Talk radio even higher. At the persons 6+ level, News/Talk now represents a 10% share of all radio listening – a level it hasn’t seen since the last presidential election in 2012. Among adults 18-34 this year, News/Talk rose from a 4.1% share in February to a 4.2% share in March. In News/Talk’s “money demo” of adults 25-54, the format climbed from a 6.9% share in February to a 7.0% share in March. From Democrats to Republicans, Undecided to Independent, the conversation about America’s future president is being debated on News/Talk radio.

News/Talk March Listening Trends

News/Talk Mar-13 Mar-14 Mar-15 Mar-16
Persons 6+ 9.40% 9.00% 9.10% 10.00%
Persons 18-34 3.70% 3.60% 3.90% 4.20%
Persons 25-54 7.00% 6.30% 6.30% 7.00%
Source: Nielsen

The Classic Hits format quietly continues to gain share in the radio landscape. This March is the best March in three years for Classic Hits. Comparing March 2013 to March 2016 shows Classic Hits with an even higher share among Millennials. This format tends to gain more share throughout the summer and it’s already poised to set new records in 2016. Keep an eye on Classic Hits.

Classic Hits Listening Trends

Classic Hits Mar-13 Mar-14 Mar-15 Mar-16
Persons 6+ 5.40% 5.10% 5.00% 5.30%
Persons 18-34 3.20% 3.30% 3.20% 3.60%
Persons 25-54 4.70% 4.40% 4.30% 4.70%
Source: Nielsen

March 2016 PPM Markets Top Five Formats by Average Quarter Hour Share (Full Week Daypart)

Persons 6+ Adults 18-34 Adults 25-54
News/Talk (10.0%) Pop CHR (12.5%) Pop CHR (8.8%)
Pop CHR (8.0%) Country (8.6%) AC (7.2%)
AC (7.6%) Hot AC (7.2%) Country (7.2%)
Country (7.2%) Urban Contemporary (6.9%) Hot AC (7.0%)
Hot AC (6.4%) AC (6.6%) News/Talk (7.0%)
PPM—Portable people meter. CHR—Contemporary Hit Radio. AC—Adult Contemporary.
Source: Nielsen

*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 article is inclusive of multicultural audiences. Hispanic consumer audiences are composed of both English and Spanish speaking representative populations.