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Radio remains the leading “reach vehicle” for Blacks and Hispanics in the US, notes Nielsen in a recent study [download page]. However, the radio isn’t the only device being used for audio: with 81% of Black adults and 91% of Hispanic adults using smartphones on a weekly basis as of Q4 2016, these devices are increasingly being used for streaming, per the report.

In fact, during the course of the year, the number of Black adults using smartphones to stream audio increased by 30%, to almost 13 million.

Likewise, the number of Hispanic adults using smartphones to stream audio grew by 29%, to almost 20 million.

These figures align with general music industry trends: last year, streaming accounted for a majority of recorded music industry revenues for the first time. A year earlier, in 2015, on-demand streaming became the single largest music consumption format for the first time.

Top Radio Formats

Digital radio and streaming options don’t seem to have blunted AM/FM radio’s reach, however. As such, radio remains a potent force for reaching both Black Americans and Hispanics, who together constitute more than 30% of the 12+ national radio audience.

For Blacks, the Urban Adult Contemporary (28.5%) and Urban Contemporary (21.2%) formats were easily the most popular last year, combining to account for almost half of all listening by Blacks ages 12 and older. In fact, these were the top 2 formats (though not necessarily in that order) for each of the age groups examined.

For Hispanics, Mexican Regional (16.5%) and Spanish Contemporary + Spanish Hot Adult Contemporary (9.7%) were the top formats for the 12+ population. Hispanic radio listeners seemed to value various formats, though, as these top two combined for just over one-quarter of all listening.

Among English-dominant Hispanics ages 12+, Pop Contemporary Hit Radio was the top format, as it was for Hispanics ages 12-17.

Which Advertisers Are Targeting These Audiences?

The Nielsen report also looks at the top advertisers on radio, specific to these demographic groups’ favorite formats.

Last year, based on total spending on 95 Urban or Rhythmic radio stations in PPM markets, Nielsen reveals that the top advertisers were:

  • McDonald’s ($12.3 million);
  • Optima Tax Relief ($8.8 million);
  • T-Mobile ($8.6 million);
  • Comcast Xfinity ($8.1 million); and
  • GEICO Insurance ($7.7 million).

Meanwhile, the top 5 advertisers on Mexican Regional and Spanish radio were:

  • McDonald’s ($8.6 million);
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts ($7.4 million);
  • T-Mobile ($6.8 million);
  • Sprint ($6.5 million); and
  • JCPenney ($6.4 million).

JCPenney’s strong presence on Mexican Regional and Spanish Radio is notable given research finding that the retailer is a favorite among Hispanic Millennials.

The full Nielsen study is available for download here.

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