Radar 101: 235 Million People Tuning In Weekly

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That’s right. In the 12 and over age bracket, there are 235 million people tuning in to radio each and every week. Monday, Arbitron will be releasing its RADAR® 101 National Radio Listening Report with all of the fine details, but in the meantime they have given us a taste of what is to come.

This year’s report is the first to make use of Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) for harvesting information, and it seems to show that radio has a much longer reach than previously thought. As a matter of fact, that is one  of the first statements made in the current media release on Arbitron’s website:

As additional radio markets transition to electronic measurement, total radio reach is revealed to be larger than in previous surveys. Listening to RADAR Network Affiliate stations has also risen year over year. Over the course of a typical week, more than 213 million persons age 12 and older tune to the more than 7,700 RADAR Network Affiliated stations, up from 210 million listeners one year ago in RADAR 97.

There is lots of other encouraging data they’ve shared as well.

  • Radio reaches 92% of persons 12+ each week, not too shabby in light of the rise of mp3 players and Internet radio.
  • 89 % of the youngest radio audience (12-17 years old) tune in each week. Since this is the demographic most used to new and alternative media, this finding shows radio’s continuing relevance to the tech-oriented younger generations.
  • Network radio also reaches almost 85% of adults 18-34, “the ad elusive and media multi-taskers.”
  • 92% of black non-Hispanics and 93% of Hispanics 12 and older tune to radio in a given week.
  • Radio reaches about 93% of black non-Hispanics and Hispanics age 18–49.
  • Radio reaches more than 94% of college graduates ages 25–54 with a college degree and an annual income of $50,000 or more.
  • Network affiliated stations reach nearly 86% of college graduates ages 18-49 with a household income of $75,000 or more.  (All radio stations reach close to 94%) of this age group.

I would say that this is great news across the board! The ubiquitous nature of radio has never really been in question, but it is always nice to hard numbers that verify that reach. Granted that the jury is still out on the how accurate the PPM system is, I still believe that these numbers both encouraging and worth examining. Since Nielsen is now competing with Arbitron in the radio metrics area, I will be most curious to see how their research compares once they release some.

Photo courtesy of Marcus Q, used under its Creative Commons license

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