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Arbitron Looks At Ethnic Radio

February 25, 2010: Arbitron releases the "Black Radio Today 2009" and "Hispanic Radio Today 2009" studies, with both reports featuring PPM data for the first time.

"Ethnic-formatted stations reach millions of listeners every day," Arbitron EVP Alton Adams said. "These studies show the strength of radio as a media companion to ethnic consumers. Radio's relationship with ethnic listeners has been consistent over time; year-over-year, more than 90 percent of black and Hispanic listeners tune in to radio for news, culture, and sounds of the community."

The "Black Radio Today" study reports that Urban AC is "far and away the most popular format among black listeners," with 28 percent of listening. The format's reach increased more than 6 percent between spring '07 and fall '08 and was the top format in all dayparts other than evenings, when it was slightly behind Urban.

For Rhythmic, the audience is growing older, with the proportion of listeners 35 and older moving to 35 percent in fall '08 from 25 percent in spring 2002, while 35-54 listeners moved up to 29 percent from under 23 percent over the same period. Rhythmic has more than 20 percent of all teen listening, but teen tune-ins dropped 22 percent between spring 2005 and fall 2008, the largest drop for any format studied.

But Rhythmic listeners, while they are older, are also more affluent, with 41 percent living in households bringing in $50,000 a year or more in fall 2008, up from below 37 percent in spring 2004. In fall 2008, more than 28 percent of Rhythmic listeners lived in households earning $75,000 or more.

And as Rhythmic's African-American audience was aging, that for News/Talk/Information was getting a bit younger More than 90 percent of listeners were over 35, but between spring 2007 and fall 2008, the 35-44 segment grew from less than 16 percent to more than 21 percent, and the segment with a college degree grew from 37 percent to more than 39 percent.

Arbitron also says radio was "resilient" with black listeners overall: Says the report: "Despite myriad competing media, radio's overall reach among black consumers declined by a rate of just 2 percent between spring 2007 and fall 2008, which was comparable to the performance of all radio listeners. More impressively, over a seven-year span going back to spring 2002, the weekly tune-in among black/African-American listeners remained above 92 percent, declining only 1.6 percent during that entire period."

The "Hispanic Radio Today" study looked at 16 formats, 10 of those Spanish-language (Regional Mexican, Spanish Adult Hits, Spanish Contemporary, Spanish News/Talk, Spanish Oldies, Spanish Religious, Tropical, Spanish Variety, Tejano, and Latino Urban), and the rest English-language (AC, Classic Hits, Country, News/Talk/Information, Top 40, and Rhythmic).

Radio's reach among Hispanics is still "overwhelmingly strong," says Arbitron, at 95 percent in 2008. With PPM in the study, AQH ratings moved down by 36 percent from spring 2007-fall 2008, but Arbitron says, "These differences should not be regarded as actual declines or losses in listening, but as a shift in measurement methodology."

Weekend listening among Hispanics is gaining relative to weekday listening, coming in at 71 percent as high as weekdays in fall 2008, up from 66 percent in spring '06. From 7 p.m.-5 a.m., weekend listening was just 1 percent less than weekdays, compared to 8 percent in spring of 2006.

Away-from-home's share of listening continued to grow among Hispanics, with quarter-hour ratings on weekdays divided 60 percent-40 percent in favor of away-from-home. Away-from-home picked up more listening for 13 hours each weekday, from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. -- a change from spring 2007 and spring 2006, when most away-from-home listening was between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. The study says, "This suggests Hispanics, like all other consumers, were experiencing longer commutes and shifting work schedules."

Looking at formats, Regional Mexican "continued to dominate Hispanic radio listening," attracting more than twice the audience of second-place Spanish Contemporary. Hispanic AQH share for the format moved up for the sixth straight year.

All six English-language formats in the study saw increased Hispanic cume, and all but Rhythmic gained Hispanic audience share. Other than Tejano, all Spanish-language formats saw a "high proportion" of Spanish-dominant listeners, while nearly half of English-language Classic Hits' Hispanic listeners were Spanish-dominant, followed by AC, at more than 42 percent. About a third of Rhythmic's Hispanic audience was Spanish-dominant.

The study notes that language preference has a "major impact" on listening patterns: "Radio's quarter-hour ratings were higher among Spanish-dominant Hispanics at home with every demographic group than among those Hispanics who were English-dominant."

 




(2/26/2010 3:13:17 PM)
It is still telling that to Arbitron, 'ethnic' refers only to Black and Hispanic listeners. I'm in a market where 22% of the population is Asian (San Francisco). If you add NY, Houston and LA's Asian populations to this, you're talking about 5.4 million people (Census numbers, not mine). These folks also listen to general market radio but their listening habits are not measured at all. Lots of lost listening there people.....

- Jaime Arbona

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