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The Truth Matters

May 19, 2017

You knew that our world had changed when the term “Alternative Truth” became part of our lexicon. While everyone can have opinions, there is only one truth.

No, this is not a political debate, or an argument on the merits of our current federal government. This has to do with the marketplace perception that radio is dead. Okay, dead might be overly dramatic, but many believe that radio listening is eroding.

Again the truth matters. According to Nielsen’s most recent Total Audience Report, radio listening has remained pretty much the same over the past 12 months. Let’s compare the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016.

Monthly TSL 2015 2016
P12+ 54:24 54:55 +31 minutes
Teens 12-17 31:18 32:06 +48 minutes
A18-24 45:50 45:55 +5 minutes
A25-34 49:13 48:53 -20 minutes
A35-49 59:44 60:14 +30 minutes
A50-64 65:36 66:33 +57 minutes
A65+ 53:53 54:41 +48 minutes


Are you surprised by this finding? And if so, how many of your advertisers might also be surprised?
Have you looked at total radio listening trends in your market? For those in PPM markets, it is PUMMS, while for our colleagues in diary markets it is PURs. Either way, it is a judge of how popular radio is in individual markets.

I recently held meetings at radio stations in three PPM markets. In all three markets I tracked radio listening over the past three plus years. In all three markets radio listening was either flat or up. We at Research Director, Inc. examined both 12+ and 25-54 for:

  • Weekly Cume (typically over 90%)
  • Daily Cume
  • Average Quarter Hour
  • Weekly Time Spent Listening

While this may not work in every market, for every demographic group, or for all of the above estimates, it is important to know the truth. I suggest you perform this exercise. If you are a client of Research Director, Inc. we can help you know the truth. If not, it is an exercise that is worth performing on your own.

So why is this important? On a regular basis sales people are questioned about the viability of radio in 2017. Challenge this perception with truth and facts. Truth and facts will win! In this case, perception is not reality.

It’s one thing to have public perception against you when it is true. It’s another situation entirely when it is not. The radio industry needs to be out there telling our story because can’t expect anyone else to do that for us!

-Charlie Sislen, Partner

Source: The Nielsen Total Audience Report | Q4 2016, Monthly Time Spent in Hours:Minutes Among Users (tables 4A and 4B).