AM/FM Radio Listeners Spend the Majority of Their Time With Their Favorite Station

December 18, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Cross-Media & Traditional | Radio

Radio listeners are either extremely loyal or extremely selective, depending on one’s perspective. Whichever it is, the data remains the same: listeners devote the majority of their tune-in time to their favorite station, according to a recent Nielsen study.

In fact, AM/FM radio listeners spend fully 58% of their time with their preferred station. All told, their three favorite stations combine for an impressive 86% of all their listening time.

What other market is that concentrated? Interestingly enough, the smartphone app market. Previous comScore data indicates that smartphone users spend 49% of their app time with their single most used app, and two-thirds of their app time with their top-2 apps.

One reason why radio listeners might spend most of their time with their favorite station is an emotional connection they form with its host(s). Indeed, a majority of AM/FM radio listeners say they tune in because they like particular DJs, shows and/or hosts.

The concentration of listening time among favorite stations may also explain why radio retains its audience during commercial breaks: a 2011 study found that on average, radio delivers an impressive 93% of its lead-in audience during commercial breaks.

Radio Listening Takes Place Out of the Home, Peaks During Commute Times

The majority of radio listening by US adults takes place outside of the home, Nielsen reports, and that’s the case regardless of the daypart.

Radio listening is most heavily skewed towards out-of-home listening during the 3-7PM period (75%), followed closely by the 10AM-3PM period (74%).

Radio listening is most likely to take place at home during the evenings (7PM-Midnight), but even then at-home listening accounts for only a minority (43%) of time.

In terms of listening hours, 7AM is the peak for full-time employed adults, with secondary peaks at noon and in the 3-5PM slot. For those who aren’t employed, listening is heaviest from noon to 3PM.

Overall, roughly three-quarters of 18-64-year-old radio listeners are in the workforce, and full-time employees listen to the radio for 2-and-a-half hours longer each week than those who aren’t employed.

For the age, household income and racial/ethnic composition of terrestrial radio’s US adult audience, please see MarketingCharts’ latest study, US Media Audience Demographics, 4th Annual Edition.


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