‘The Steady Reach of Radio’: Audio Today, As Nielsen Sees It


Nielsen‘s newly released June 2019 Audio Today report is chock full of positive talking points and fresh insights regarding listening trends, including how consumers are using podcasts and smart speakers.

It’s yet another report showing that radio reaches more Americans each week (92%) than any other platform.

The report also shows how, when viewed by gender, Radio remains strong.

Both women and men 18-49 use radio in large numbers, with their listenership nearly equal at 65.9 million (97%) and 65.4 million (98%), respectively.

Country is the top format for both genders.

“Radio is in high demand and has a diverse listenership when considering how many people tune in across age, gender and ethnicity,” Nielsen notes. “Not surprisingly, adults 18-49 are the demographic that tunes in the most.”

The monthly reach for these listeners is 132.4 million (98% of the population), and Country is the format they prefer most.

Adults 25-54 are the second most reached demographic for radio, with 123.6 million (99%) of the population listening each month.

And, despite the growth of YouTube, Spotify and even Tidal as a preferred source of audio entertainment, radio’s popularity with teens remains undaunted, Nielsen says, with reach of 93% of the teen population in the U.S. each month.

That translates to 23.3 million 12-17 year-olds who tune in to radio each month, Nielsen says.

With this young demographic, to little surprise, CHR/Pop ranks tops, followed by Country.

Nielsen also reminds readers of Radio’s strong multicultural consumer pool. Black and Hispanic adults are also easily reached by radio—98% of each group listens on a monthly basis, which translates to 35.1 million Black listeners and 45.6 million Hispanic listeners.


Another commonly known fact of where radio consumption is most prevalent was reinforced in the latest report from Nielsen. Most radio is consumed away from home (particularly when driving to and from work or running errands).

As such, “it offers a significant opportunity for marketers and advertisers to deliver their message just before a potential point of purchase,” Nielsen says. “Radio’s continued success and resiliency is due in large part to the enviable space it occupies in the automotive console. It’s free, ubiquitous and at the fingertips of virtually every consumer on the road today.”

Most of radio’s away-from-home listening happens in the car: 66% occurs during the total week, 71% during normal commute times Monday-Friday, and 79% on weekends.

But, what about all of the talk of technology bringing audio back into the home and, also, the office?

“Looking ahead, new technologies and distribution platforms including podcasts and smart speakers are expanding the audio landscape, providing consumers with more specialized content and ways to listen,” Nielsen says.

When gauging podcast use by market, Washington, D.C. and Seattle-Tacoma (46%) had the highest penetration among all households in Nielsen’s Portable People Meter (PPM) radio markets.

New York was tops in smart speaker ownership by market (46%), followed by Minneapolis St. Paul and Philadelphia (36.9%).

To view the 16-page graphic-filled report, please click here:

Audio Today report

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