Network radio reaches more than 180 million Americans aged 12 and older each week, reports Nielsen [download page] in a recent study of 46 individual networks. While the age distribution of network radio listeners skews towards the 45+ demographic, a large share of Americans of all ages listen to network radio. The study also points out that listeners are spread across the US and tend to represent an attractive group in terms of their income and education levels.
Looking first at the age distribution of network radio listeners (defined as the audience reached by the 46 RADAR networks), the study notes that:
- Teens (12-17) comprise 6% share of listeners;
- The 18-34 bracket accounts for 24% share of listeners;
- The 45-54 group represents a plurality 20% of listeners; andSome 35% of listeners are aged 55 and older.
Overall, 52% of network radio listeners are male, but the gender split differs across age groups. For example, network radio’s reach among women is greatest in the 18-24 group, with 72.5% of women in this age group having heard a network radio commercial during an average week between the hours of 5AM and midnight. Among males, though, network radio’s reach is greatest with 45-54-year-olds, of whom 75.5% hear a network radio ad during the average week.
Network radio audience’s geographic distribution mirrors the population at-large, per the report, with no region over- or under-indexing in its share of the network radio audience relative to its share of the general population. Interestingly, while almost one-third of the audience lives in the top 10 DMAs, another 30% live in the smallest markets (ranked 51 to 210).
Looking at the qualifications of network radio’s audience, Nielsen reveals that:
- 69% have household income of more than $75k, including 70.8% of Millennial (18-34) listeners and 72.2% of Gen X (35-49) listeners;
- 66% of adult listeners are college graduates, including 68.4% of the Millennial audience and 69.6% of the Gen X audience; and
- 74% of listeners aged 18-64 are full-time workers.
On a race and ethnicity basis, network radio’s reach among Hispanics is highest for the Millennial and Gen X cohorts (65% each), while its reach among African-Americans is highest for the Gen X (80%) and Boomer (50-64; 78%) cohorts.
About the Data: The data is based on RADAR data from June 2014; network audiences to all commercials, Monday-Sunday 5AM-midnight. Working data is based on adults 18-64; education data based on adults 18+.
Nielsen RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) is a national radio ratings service which compiles national and network radio audience estimates for listeners 12+ in the contiguous United States. The RADAR service measures audiences to cleared commercials for 46 individual radio networks. These networks are operated by AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and Westood One.
The number of networks and their affiliates vary over time as the networks adjust to meet marketplace needs, and because RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks, RADAR estimates do not account for listening to all network radio programming in the U.S.
RADAR 121 includes both Portable People Meter (PPM) respondents in the top 48 radio metros in the United States as well as Diary respondents in the remaining 228 radio metros and Radio County Coverage sampling areas for the period corresponding to the Spring 2013, Summer 2013, Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 surveys.