Radio’s broad tent just keeps getting bigger as terrestrial radio’s popularity with two key demographic groups continues to grow. According to a new report from Nielsen, radio reaches more African-Americans and Hispanics on a weekly basis than any other medium, and listening levels among both groups are increasing at a steady clip.
Nielsen’s September “State of the Media” report shows 41.3 million Hispanics and 31.8 million African-Americans tuned into weekly radio in September, up from 40.1 million Hispanics and 31.2 million African-Americans during the same period a year ago, and a sizable increase from 2012, when 39 million Hispanics listened and 30.9 million African-Americans tuned into radio. In contrast, the number of “Other” listeners, defined as respondents who are not black or Hispanic, but includes Asian-Americans, has only grown slightly during the same period, ticking up to 174.1 million in September 2016 from 172.1 million in September 2012.
African-Americans now represent 13.3% of all radio listeners, while Hispanics make up another 16.6%, and radio reaches the vast majority of both groups regularly. On a weekly basis, radio hits 97% of the Hispanic population 18+ and 92% of African-American adults, Nielsen says.
Nielsen’s report reveals some interesting behaviors among both demographic groups. For Hispanic adults, midday is the most popular daypart, regional Mexican is the most popular format and 70% of listening occurs out-of-home. Within the Hispanic audience, regional Mexican is overwhelmingly the most popular format, ranking no. 1 among adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.
As the U.S. Hispanic population shifts to include more young and English-speaking Latinos, audio tastes are changing as well. Among Hispanics age 12-17, for instance, CHR is the most popular format with 18% of listeners ranking it as their top choice, while CHR is the No. 2 format among Hispanic Millennials 18-34 (capturing 12.1% of listening, compared to 16.9% for regional Mexican). And English-language formats are the most popular choices for English-dominant Hispanics 12+, with CHR the No. 1 format at 11.5% share of listening, followed by rhythmic CHR (9%); adult contemporary (7.8%); country (6.9%); and hot AC (6.8%).
For advertisers looking to reach Hispanic consumers, Nielsen says radio is an attractive vehicle that can deliver young, upscale and engaged users. Among heavy Hispanic media users, the average radio listener is 40 years old—younger than the average TV viewer or newspaper reader. In addition, heavy Hispanic radio users spend 18 hours, 15 minutes listening to radio each week.
While the African American radio audience is smaller than the Hispanic numbers, Nielsen says black listeners are similarly enthusiastic radio consumers. Of the 31 million African Americans that tune in weekly, Nielsen says they listen for an average 13 hours per week, the most of any ethnicity. Afternoon drive is the most popular daypart and urban adult contemporary is the top format across all key demographic groups. About one-third of African American listening is out of home, and the audience is nearly evenly split between men and women. Heavy African-American media users spent an average 18 hours and 30 minutes per week listening to radio.
And just where are all these listeners? Nielsen says there is some overlap in the top media markets for Hispanics and African-Americans, with New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale all ranking as top-ten markets for both demographics. New York ranks as the top market for African-Americans and the No. 2 Hispanic market, while Los Angeles is the No. 1 Hispanic market and the No. 9 African-American market. Among African-American markets, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC and Houston-Galveston round out the top five, while Miami-Ft. Lauderdale; Houston and Chicago complete the top five Hispanic markets.