PPM analysis says listening is not just morning drive


Research Director Inc. is out with new analysis of Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) data from 10 major markets. The main takeaway is that hour-by-hour listening levels for radio are consistently strong throughout the day, not only in the morning, but also in middays, afternoons,  and on the weekend.

The study analyzed the Persons Using Measured Media (PUMM) percentage for each quarter hour (AQH) by demo. Research Director Inc.President Charlie Sislen explained that PUMM is essentially the same as the traditional Persons Using Radio (PUR) for diary measurement, except that PUMM would not include any listening to stations which are not encoding for PPM. So, the percentage is AQH divided by PUMM.

In the study, Radio’s best hour among Persons 6+ came during afternoon drive.  The Monday-Friday 3p-4p hour had an average PUMM of 13.1%, meaning that 13.1% of Persons 6+ were listening to radio in an average quarter-hour between Monday-Friday 3p-4p. The second strongest hour was also in afternoon drive, Monday-Friday 4p-5p, with an average PUMM level of 12.9%.  Next was Monday-Friday 7a-8a, with an average PUMM level of 12.7%. 

16 of the 60 individual hours examined had average PUMM levels for Persons 6+ in excess of 11%.  Radio is delivering, during those hours, approximately one in every nine persons in an average quarter-hour.

Overall listening and the best hours for radio varied greatly across demographic groups.  The Monday-Friday 3p-4p and 4p-5p hours were the strongest hours for Adults 25-54.  That demo had 19 different hours with an average PUMM in excess of 11%. For Men 18+, the two highest hours were Monday-Friday 3p-4p and Monday-Friday Noon-1p.  Listening by Men 18+ was exceptionally strong.  There were six different hours that had average PUMM levels of 15% or higher, and 20 hours with PUMMs in excess of 11%.

Youth listening is extremely different from that of their Adult counterparts.  Six of the seven highest PUMMs for Persons 6-17 were during hours on the weekend.  

On the weekends, the Saturday Noon-1p hour is consistently strong across most demo groups.  On Sunday, listening levels tend to peak slightly later in the afternoon, compared to Saturday.

Noting that the top four hours of listening occurred in three different dayparts, Marc Greenspan, a managing partner of Research Director Inc., said “Clearly the belief that radio is only a morning drive medium is simply not true.”

“The number of hours where AQH listening exceeded ten percent of the population is impressive and shows one of radio’s true strengths.  Radio continues to be an entertainment media that has tremendous audience size throughout the week.  In these days of entertainment fragmentation, this is a real plus to any advertiser,” added Soslen.

For those who love data, click here to see all of the charts and graphs.