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What a Difference a Year Makes

June 22, 2021

I just had the privilege of speaking at a conference with over 400 broadcasters. Standing on the stage viewing a roomful of people amazed me. Who would have thought just a few months ago that this would ever occur again? This was not the “new normal.” This was normal.

Last week, the May 2021 PPM data was released. This survey period covered April 29 to May 26. By casual observation I noticed that market listening in the May survey increased.

Nielsen corroborated my observation with a report showing that Cume to radio, aggregated across all the PPM markets, is higher than at any time since COVID struck, and is approaching March 2020 levels.

Looking at the chart below we can see that Cume is now at 98.3% of where it was in March of 2020, leading up to the lock-down (February 27 to March 25).

While Cume is nearly back to March 2020 levels, even more significant is Average Quarter Hour. In just the past three months, market AQH has grown over 10% and is also approaching March 2020 levels.

Why is this important? Everything begins with market listening. The size of the radio pie is critical to the success of our business. More listening means more AQH ratings in the market to sell, and therefore more revenue to be made.

Maybe even more important is what this says about radio. When COVID began impacting our daily routines and broadcast listening decreased, some pessimists believed that this was a sign of the future of radio. Some predicted that audio listening would be taken over by the pureplays and radio would never recover.

The May PPM report proves those critics wrong. Radio listening continues to bounce back – and with it, the revenue that drives our industry.

Be aware that Nielsen’s study is an aggregate of the PPM markets, and not all markets are growing at the same rate. Radio stations in a PPM market should check how their local data compares to this study. Radio stations not in a PPM market can use this information to assure advertisers that radio remains strong and is still a great way to deliver customers.

If you’d like to discuss how to use this study and other Nielsen data to increase your revenue, reach out to us here.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner