Nielsen

When is it safe to call something a trend? For the folks who work in classic hits, that time is now: For the third-consecutive year, Nielsen’s July portable people meter (PPM) survey results show that summer lovers dig that format in a big way.

In its latest report, the measurement service offers, “On the radio airwaves, summer seasonality plays a big role in how audiences grow or shrink during warm weather months. A number of factors—including working, traveling, music cycles and changing tastes that accompany lake vibes, coastal vacations or backyard cookouts—affect what and when audiences tune in. Yet for as much as things change season-to-season, some things stay the same.”

That being the case, classic hits listening is again benefiting from a mercury-based seasonal uptick while news/talk radio is also spiking as a result of the mind-boggling upcoming presidential election race.

As Inside Radio intimated in its recent feature package on classic hits and adult hits, from June to July, while the former format’s share of audience remained flat, trends reveal that it is in a strong position as the “format of the summer” the past two years and stands poised to be the radio format that sees the largest increase in listener share during summer months for a third year.

Perhaps unexpectedly, classic hits is also beloved among Millennials in July. Nielsen reports that, since PPM measurement began in full in early 2011, there have only been three months that the format has topped a 4.0 share with listeners 18-to-34, with two of those coming in the June and July 2016 reports.

And for news/talk, which is generally the top-ranked overall format 6+ in major markets, this year’s election has pushed the format even higher. Nielsen says: “Simply put, we haven’t seen comparable summertime results for news/talk since the 2012 election. Listening patterns tend to fall off for the format during summer months, but don’t drop as dramatically in big election years. This month’s numbers mark the best July in four years.”