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Ask the Experts

3pm Hour

June 5, 2012

Question: What is it about the 3pm hour that often makes it radio’s most listened-to time on the weekdays?

Answer:  In PPM markets, the 3pm hour is frequently radio’s biggest in terms of Average Quarter-Hour audience on weekdays.   This isn’t the case in every market, and it certainly can vary from survey to survey.  But we frequently see 3pm at the “top of the charts” and it begs the question…why?  What is it about that hour of the day that pushes radio’s overall listening levels to daily heights?

We think there are several reasons. The key here is – lifestyle. There’s a lot of stuff going on at 3pm! First, in many markets, shift workers are ending their day at that hour – which can cause a spike in in-car listening.  Secondly, it’s “school’s out” for many kids during that hour.  Just look at the traffic congestion and the mini-vans around any school parking lot at that time of day!   Parents and caregivers are picking up their children, driving them to after-school activities, stopping at the store, picking up dinner…more in-car listening.  This is on top of all the existing “at work” listening for those who are working until 5pm – and beyond.

The 3pm hour is full of hustle and bustle, with lots of in-car activity, and continued at-work listening that we believe leads to radio’s large audience in that hour.  This is a great story for radio! Location and activities don’t matter – it’s all about the cume!  Radio travels with listeners from home to car and to work.  It is the “everywhere companion.”

Another great story for radio is our consistently strong audience on an hour-by-hour basis throughout the day.  If you are in a PPM market, it is important to educate your clients on the hour-by-hour flow of daily listening.  Are your advertisers aware of the minimal drop in the midday audience compared to mornings?  Have they seen the power of PM Drive, which sometimes includes the most listened-to hours of the entire day?  It’s a good opportunity to be the radio resource with your clients, and gives you a good reason to talk to them about not only your station, but the power of radio as a medium.

-Frank Stanitski, Vice President of Operations