Earbuds

Radio’s audience recovery continued in June with listening on the rise across demos and dayparts in Nielsen’s PPM markets. June marked the third month in a row where listening is on the upswing, according to updated metrics Nielsen presented to audio clients during a pair of webinars Wednesday.

Radio’s weekly reach in June rose to 95% of its March level, with 118.4 million weekly cume persons 12+ in the 45 non-embedded PPM markets, up from 112.7 million in May and 106.6 million in April. In March the PPM cume was 124.2 million. Radio’s cume recovery index hit 95% in the June PPM survey for nearly every demo.

Measured by Average Quarter Hours, listening in June was at 87% of its March level in PPM markets. June’s AQH Persons were 7.0 million, up from 6.5 million in May and 5.8 million in April. In March it was 8.1 million. As with cume, June’s AQH was up across all demos.

While drive time dayparts still have some catching up to do, listening in middays (91%) and weekends (96%) are approaching March levels.

In other encouraging news, the latest data shows out-of-home listening is surging and continues to drive radio usage. In fact, the portion of listening occurring out of home in PPM markets is almost back to where it was in March. In June, 68% of listening in PPM markets occurred out of home, an increase from 62% in May and 58% in April. That puts it within striking distance of the 71% recorded in the March PPM survey.

Meanwhile, data from medium and smaller diary markets that are continuously measured shows radio recovered 97% of its March AQH audience during the May survey, which is an average of the months of March, April and May.

A major contributor to resurgent audience levels is more people working outside the home. In the latest consumer tracking study from Nielsen, conducted from June 22-24, 25% said they either continue to work outside the home or recently started going back to the office. That’s up from 22% in the May 27-29 “flash survey” and 16% from April 30-May 2.

This growing segment of the population is much more likely to be heavy radio listeners and are much more likely to be out and about and shopping. While 25% of the total sample in the new survey, which tracks consumer sentiment on COVID-19 recovery and purchase intentions, say they are working outside the home, the number jumps to 37% among heavy radio listeners.

Nielsen also found that over half of consumers say they are “ready to go” and start to resume normal activity, up from just one third in March. This growing “ready to go” contingent is more likely to be heavy radio listeners and to work outside the home. They’re also seen as the key to reopening the economy.

In addition 89% say stores are beginning to reopen, up from 76% one month earlier. And 47% indicated they’ll resume most normal activities in the next month, about the same as in the previous study, conducted from May 27-29.

As businesses swing open their doors again, these “ready to go” Americans have a profile that’s attractive to advertisers. They’re more likely to be 25-54 year-olds and have kids aged 2-11 in their household. They also over-index for making $100,000 or more a year, having spent an hour or more in a car in the last day and working outside the house. Significantly, they’re more likely to be heavy radio listeners and are ready to spend.

This group of radio-friendly consumers is ready to open their wallet across a range of consumer categories, the new survey found, including shopping, professional services, household services, auto parts/repair, food and dining, and home improvement.