Nielsen Finds Signs Of AM/FM Radio Recovery As US Economy Reopens


July 2, 2020       courtesy


NIELSEN AUDIO’s client webinar on WEDNESDAY (7/1) offered an update on the radio market with evidence that the economy’s recovery is likewise boosting radio listening.

Among the highlights, JUNE numbers indicate that PPM market quarter hour listening is recovering across all demographics and dayparts, and diary markets are showing similar recovery signs. Reach has recovered in PPM markets to 95% of MARCH’s pre-shutdown number, and cume audience has also rebounded to 95% of MARCH’s level after APRIL’s severe dip. AQH persons are at 87% of MARCH’s number, a strong rebound from APRIL and MAY, with the figures up across all demos and middays and weekends also close to MARCH’s numbers (although the morning recovery has been slower).

Out-of-home listening has also rebounded, with 68% of AQH persons listening out of home in JUNE, close to MARCH’s 71% and well ahead of APRIL’s low point of 58%. As for formats, share percentages have been consistent, with most formats maintaining their proportionate share from MARCH and the most marked dip showing in the Sports format.

In diary markets, radio has retained 97% of its weekly reach on a three-month rolling average basis, and has recovered 97% of its AQH persons 12+, with middays and weekends in MAY showing numbers similar to MARCH. Most formats maintained their share of the audience, with Sports once again the notable exception.

An additional consumer study showed growing sentiment that the economy and other activities are returning to normal, despite a smaller percentage of respondents saying that “it is safer than it was a month ago” and fewer saying they are less concerned about the virus risks. More than half — 55% — said that they are “ready to go” with resuming regular activities, slightly up from MAY’s 54% but ahead of APRIL’s 34%; the “ready-to-gos” index at a high level among 25-54s, parents, high earners, and those who commute, and say that they are ready to spend in several categories within a month of the easing of restrictions. And the “ready-to-go” respondents are heavy AM/FM listeners as well, indexing ahead of those proceeding with caution and those taking a wait-and-see position. Significantly, the percentage of people working outside the home has risen to 25% in JUNE from a low of 16% in APRIL; those commuters are much more likely to be heavy radio listeners (37% as opposed to 25% overall), and are more likely to have gone out to shop and participate in other activities in the past week.

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