Salem Communications has released research data it commissioned in the largest research project ever done on the habits and patterns of Christian Teaching and Talk listeners across the country. Nielsen conducted the study of 350 Salem Teach and Talk listeners across both PPM and diary markets with Edison Research. Salem’s study talked to the listeners of Christian formatted talk stations owned by Salem and other companies, to determine who they are, why they listen, and how they listen:
The study revealed that half of the listeners to CTT stations are under the age of 55. This data contradicts a common notion that CTT listeners tend to be older and less active. 14% of the listeners were 18-34, 18% were 35-49 and 18% were 50-54.
The study also revealed that the younger listeners to CTT stations are listening about as long as the older listeners. On average those 55 and younger are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to CTT stations. That compares to 6.4 hours for those 55+.
One of the most surprising things revealed in the study is that listening among the 18-34 audience is actually increasing. This study reported that 48% of these younger listeners are actually listening more in the last 12 months and 38% are listening the same. That means 86% are listening more or the same.
“There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format,” said Salem VP, Director of Spoken Word Format, Phil Boyce. “These listeners are loyal, fully engaged, and are truly listening to the content for its edifying value.” Salem feels this data and other supporting data bodes well for its efforts to continue to encourage advertisers to reach this segment of the population that is often difficult to reach in other ways.
“At a time when we see some younger listeners might be leaving traditional radio and going more to their ipads, smartphones, and computers, this format is growing a younger audience base that is seeking the kind of content we produce,” said Boyce. Of all the age groups Salem researched, the growth in the younger demo was the most dramatic, by far.
This study reveals that while the digital footprint continues to grow, it has not detracted from over the air radio. In fact the typical listener to Christian Teach and Talk radio listens an average of 6.2 hours a week to AM or FM radio. This is about double the 3.2 hours spent listening on a desktop or laptop computer. Listeners also report listening less than an hour on a tablet device and less than an hour on a Smartphone.
“Salem is one of the more advanced companies in moving our listening onto digital devices. Our CTT stations can be heard on six major platforms, including Tune-In, iHeartRadio, our own station APPS, our own websites, our own over the air broadcast, and now the newest method, ChristianRadio.com,” said Phil Boyce, VP Director of Spoken Word Format for Salem. “By far the most listening is done through traditional over the air broadcasts.”
Salem believes that one of the most important benefits to having all these digital platforms is the ability for a listener to take the station outside the coverage of its tower and transmitter, or add new listeners all over the country or the world. “Each Salem CTT station has a unique lineup and a unique ability to reach its own community, but now that base has grown with listeners in some of the most unexpected places finding one of our stations and giving us a high level of listening,” said Boyce. “Since Salem’s mission is to send the gospel all over the world, we know that’s a good thing.”