With a news cycle that has only ramped up since the pandemic, two headline-grabbing election seasons and other key stories such as the George Floyd murder and subsequent trial, it’s no surprise that News/Talk is the biggest-gaining format across the board since 2019. Inside Radio‘s analysis of Nielsen PPM cross-market average quarter-hour share data for Monday-Sunday 6am-midnight shows News/Talk, Adult R&B and Contemporary Christian with higher average shares among persons 6+, 18-34 and 25-54 during January-October 2021, compared to the same periods in 2019 and 2020.
While the format shares used are estimates based on computing an average AQH share for each demographic for the first ten months of each year, there are clear trends pointing to News/Talk’s growth from before and since COVID as, for persons 6+, shares moved into double-digits in 2020 (9.5-11.1-11.2) and have stayed there in 2021 so far, with similar growth patterns seen among 18-34s (4.3-4.7-5.3) and 25-54s (6.7-7.6-7.7). That’s also the case for Adult R&B, showing year-over-year growth for the January-October period in 6+ (4.7-4.8-5.1), 18-34 (3.5-3.6-3.9) and 25-54 (4.3-4.3-4.6).
The only other format showing significant year-to-date growth for all three demos in 2021 vs. 2019 and 2020 year-to-date is Contemporary Christian, with most of that gain occurring this year (2.5-2.5-3.0 6+, 2.5-2.4-2.8 18-34, 2.4-2.3-2.9 25-54). Other formats with growth stories since pre-pandemic in at least two of these three demos include Adult Hits, Spanish Adult Hits and Spanish CHR, with Classic Hits at a higher share in 2021 among persons 18-34, and Regional Mexican having done the same among 25-54s.
Looking at growth during 2021 only, Classic Hits (5.4-5.6), CHR (5.0-5.4), All Sports (3.9-4.8) and Hot AC (4.2-4.7) are up from January to October in 6+, although none are performing at the same share level they were at during 2019. Other under-performers since pre-COVID (January-October 2019) include Adult Contemporary (7.6 average share 6+ January-October 2021, vs. 8.1 Jan-Oct 2019) and Country (6.2 vs. 6.7).