Radio 2016: News/Talk Wins Ratings Title

Story by Neilsen

During this controversial, crazy, contentious campaign-heavy year, it’s little surprise that news/talk wraps 2016 as the most listened-to radio format. Nielsen’s Comparable Metrics Report reveals that it garnered a 9.6 share 6+, up from 8.9 in 2015. That is the largest increase in shares among the top 10 radio formats.

It was another sign of the “Trump effect” as interest in the presidential election drove media consumption habits across all media segments. “News/Talk’s share of audience spiked around the culmination of the election season,” Nielsen reported last week as the December monthly ratings rolled in and the format delivered its highest share numbers since the 2012 election season.

Nielsen says news/talk also posted its highest-ever ratings among Millennial listeners aged 18-34 since PPM-based measurement was introduced. “It’s also further proof that interest in the American political process reached an all-time high for consumers of all ages in 2016,” the ratings company says.

CHR was just behind news/talk for year, with an 8.1 share 6+. And for both the 18-34 and 25-54 demos, CHR tops the list, ranking No. 1 among radio formats for the third year in a row.

The No. 3 most popular dial destination for 2016 was AC, with a 7.5 share; followed by country, at 7.4; and hot AC, with 6.4. Gold reigned at No. 6 and No. 7, with classic hits taking a 5.3 share and classic rock a 5.1 share.

One other format deserves a call-out for its performance this year—classic rock. Although the format ranked No. 7 overall this year, it was named the “radio format of the summer,” overthrowing classic hits, which had won that title in the two previous years.


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