Arbitron: Radio Reaches More Consumers than TV or Newspapers

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Arbitron: Radio Reaches More Consumers than TV or Newspapers

Sep 29, 2009 9:54 AM

Columbia, MD - Sep 23, 2009 - Arbitron released today its annual radio industry study, Radio Today 2009 Edition, at the 2009 NAB Radio Show. This is the first annual report that includes Portable People Meter (PPM) data from several major markets as well as diary data.

The study confirmed again that more than 90 percent of all consumers aged 12 and older listen to the radio each week -- a higher penetration than television, magazines, newspapers or the Internet.

For more than a decade -- between spring 1997 and fall 2008 -- radio's overall cumulative audience rating has been consistently strong. Also noted in the report is that despite availability of numerous media alternatives, radio's weekly reach declined only modestly in the past several years, from 94.9 percent in spring 2001 (when the Ipod was introduced) to 91 percent in Fall 2008.

Survey highlights
News/Talk/Information is America's number 1 format. Arbitron attributes this to the last presidential election and congressional campaigns. News/Talk/Information (N/T/I) ranked number 1 in fall 2008 with a 12.6 percent share of people over the age of 12 -- far above its 10.7 percent share of spring 2007. With 30 more AM and FM stations than in Spring 2007, and more than 1,000 HD Radio channels and Internet streams, the N/T/I format boasts more broadcast signals by far than any other format according to the Radio Today 2009 study.

In Fall 2008, N/T/I stations were among the five leaders in the PPM Metros of Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Atlanta; Washington, DC; and Detroit. The format was number 1 in fall 2008 in the diary markets of Boston, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis and Denver-Boulder.

Oldies stations continue to reposition themselves toward a younger image, making Classic Hits the fastest growing music format. Between spring 2007 and fall 2008, Classic Hits' share rank of the national radio audience jumped from 11 to 6, reaching 3.9 percent of the U.S. population -- the most since the format has been tracked by Arbitron. Between spring 2007 and fall 2008, the number of AM and FM stations programming Classic Hits increased from 288 to 364. There are also now more than 200 HD Radio and streaming Classic Hits stations.

With more than 14.5 million listeners each week (up from 14.3 million in Spring 2007), Contemporary Christian earned a 2.5 share in fall 2008, the most in the seven years the format has been studied in Radio Today. The number of AM and FM stations carrying the format rose from 724 to 781 during that time period. There are more Internet simulcasts of FM Contemporary Christian stations than of any other format; nearly 12 percent of all FM simulcasts online are Contemporary Christian outlets. It is one of two English-language music formats that is a top 5 time-spent-listening performer across all demographics.

With 15.5 million listeners per week, the Active Rock format earned 2.4 percent of the national radio audience in Fall 2008, a higher figure than during six previously measured spring ratings periods. The number of FM stations carrying Active Rock grew from 149 in spring 2007 to 166 in fall 2008. In addition, there are 138 streaming and HD Radio signals. Active Rock stations were among the leaders in the then Diary markets of Seattle-Tacoma and Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the PPM market of Detroit.

Mexican Regional Remains the Top Music Format for Time Spent Listening (TSL). After years of steady growth and more stations carrying the format, Mexican Regional's overall national share in fall 2008 was 2.9 percent. In terms of TSL, Mexican Regional is tied for number 1 overall and is the leader outright among music formats. Ranking number 2 with 12- to 24-year-olds, Mexican Regional's TSL is far and away number 1 with adults 18-34 and 25-54. Even though the format skews somewhat younger, it is even number 2 in TSL with adults 35-64.

Radio Today 2009 is produced by Arbitron and contains radio listening and consumer behavior statistics for listeners to radio stations in the United States. Data for the charts and graphs in this edition comes from Arbitron's Tapscan Web National Regional Database and Scarborough USA+.

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