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Cell phone-only households listen to more radio than other people and listen for longer, according to a new pilot study by Nielsen that took place in Lexington, Kentucky, reports MediaBuyerPlanner.

Nielsen found that cell phone-only households – at least those in Lexington – listen to radio substantially more than homes with landlines, at 23 hours a week compared with just more than 19 hours for the total sample.

The study also found that more than 20% of people over age 12 in the Lexington market use cell phones as their sole form of telecommunication. In addition, cell phone-only households:

  • Listen to 3.5 radio stations compared to less than 3 stations among the total sample
  • Have an average quarter hour total radio rating of 17.3% versus 14.3% rating for the total sample
  • Skew younger, primarily between the ages of 18 and 34

The finding is significant for a few reasons, Nielsen said. First, the study took place in a heartland market, what Nielsen calls “mainstream of the mainstream,” so it is likely indicative of much of the country. Second, because they are a younger crowd, cell phone-only listeners represent the future of radio listening. Finally, the study underscores the value of radio in reaching a local audience, particularly those increasingly elusive, mobile young adults, according to Nielsen.

About the study: The Lexington pilot was conducted in advance of Nielsen introducing radio measurement in 51 local markets. To recruit sample radio households, Nielsen uses address-based sampling (ABS), which it pioneered in its domestic television measurement in order to reach the estimated additional 34% of US households, including cell-phone only and many unlisted landline phone households, which are not covered by current landline telephone number sampling methods.

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