SNL Kagan

Syndicated news/talk shows and preprogrammed music commanded an average of 16.1 minutes of ad time per hour in 2018, with the average unit ad rates per 30-second spot ticking up 0.3% year-over-year, according to Kagan’s latest analysis of formats and spot rates across the top radio networks. The research firm estimates that news/talk shows drew an average of over 17 minutes of commercials per hour, compared to 14 minutes for music shows.

Kagan collected data from numerous program format clocks and analyzed it in conjunction with its view of broadcast radio ad trends. The annual study includes historical average ad rates and how they are trending each year.

Listening to network radio affiliates remains robust, according to Nielsen's Audio Today 2018 report released Oct. 22. It showed 94% of all listeners 12+ tune in to a network-affiliated station. That figure jumps to 95% for 18-49 year-olds and remains at 94% for the 25-54 demo.

Kagan estimates that over three quarters of all 30-second spots broadcast during network shows were sold by affiliate stations this year. Premiere Networks affiliates drew the highest percentage at 80%, while Salem Radio Network and Westwood One both saw over two-thirds of 30-second spots sold by affiliates.

The media research firm’s methodology for average unit ad rates across the three major networks includes estimated spot revenues for the industry and the average length of local and network spots on an hourly basis, coupled with its assumptions for average sellable programming hours per station and the ad sell-out ratio. Kagan says its estimated 2018 ad rates are based on data collected from format clocks on the three networks’ websites as of Oct. 10 and its most recent radio ad revenue projections for the year.