Share of listeners soars to 9.9 percent, best in four years
March 24, 2016
One unexpected side effect of this contentious election season, where the primary races remain competitive with just a few months left until the convention, has been to affirm the continued importance of traditional media.
Cable news has gotten a big bump in viewership from the campaign, as people tune in to watch the primary debates, find out election results, and see the candidates jaw with hosts.
Radio’s news/talk category, too, has seen a surge in listeners tied to the election.
During February, news/talk was the No. 1 genre on the radio among listeners over the age of 6, according to Nielsen data based on portable people meter ratings.
News/talk accounted for 9.9 percent of all listening, up 0.2 from January and hitting its highest level since four years ago, during the last presidential election.
It was 1.8 ahead of the No. 2 genre, pop contemporary hits radio, at 8.1.
Among adults 25-54, listener share was up 0.2, to 6.9, and it ranked among the top five genres for the month.
Even with adults 18-34, a group most assume would get their news from the internet, listener share was a solid 4.1.
Of course, many people are tuning in to hear the latest developments in the election, such as primary results.
But in this heavily partisan environment, the talk side of talk radio remains equally powerful. People listen to syndicated talk hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to hear their thoughts on the presidential candidates, which may influence listeners’ own decisions at the polls.
But it’s to some degree unique to traditional media. While there are certainly popular bloggers online, they don’t really command the same devotion as Limbaugh or Hannity.
And the more partisan the rancor, the higher the ratings will go for news/talk. Listeners turn there to hear their opinions echoed and confirmed. Bloggers can’t quite offer the same affirmation.
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