Radio Listening Remains Very Strong


That’s according to a new report from Nielsen. The ratings firm says adults 18 and older spend just shy of six hours with their TV-connected devices every week. Time spent with radio is nearly 12 hours per week (this corrects an earlier version of our story that incorrectly stated 12 hours per day).

Imagine if the industry could figure out a way to convince advertisers about radio’s dominance and translate to a fair share of revenue.

The time spent listening news was part of Nielsen’s latest report on which format listeners enjoy the most. The news/talk format remains the most popular genre on the radio—a designation it’s held for nearly a decade. The divisiveness of politics, impeachment and a 2020 presidential election pretty much guarantees the popularity of news/talk through 2020.

Nielsen says Adult Contemporary and Country are also tops with adults, but their trajectories are heading in different directions with AC growing and Country declining.

Among younger listeners, Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) and Urban Contemporary are most popular choices, while AC and Pop CHR are the top two genres among the 25-54 crowd.

The 3 charts below break down the national listening landscape for the 10 most popular radio formats of 2018 in Nielsen’s PPM markets using Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) share.



  1. I believe radio will slowly continue losing more of its news/talk audience as that audience is steered toward social media for such content. At some point, these social media giants will decide to directly compete with terrestrial talk radio and monetize their audience. Facebook is already making a play on television with Facebook Watch as well as Snapchat with Snap Originals. Stations should be careful as their hosts are conditioning their listeners to use social media for engagement.


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