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2021's Format Report Card: CHR, Hot AC, Classic Hits On The Rise.

Inside Radio's analysis of Nielsen PPM cross-market average quarter-hour share data for Monday-Sunday 6am-midnight from January through July 2021 shows good news for a half dozen contemporary music based and both “classic” music formats, while news/talk and sports stations have been down-trending. Share trends among Persons 6+, 18-34 and 25-54 show steady month-to-month gains for CHR, adult contemporary and hot adult contemporary stations during the past seven months, with news/talk steadily declining since January.

CHR's and hot AC's growth has been especially noticeable among the 25-54 demo, where shares for the hits formats have gained 0.4 and 0.6 respectively since January. CHR has moved from 6.2 in January to 6.6 in July, posting a 6.8 high in June, while hot AC's 25-54 share increased from 4.7 to 5.3. Hot AC has been a big gainer among 18-34s as well, from a 5.4 share in January to 6.1 in July. Since April, AC has displayed steady growth across the board, up 0.4 (7.1-7.5) in 25-54 – where it took over for news/talk as the number one format in June and July – and up 0.3 (7.2-7.5) in 18-34, and 0.2 (7.4-7.6) 6+.

Both classic hits and classic rock have good stories to tell for 2021 to date. The former is up 0.5 in the 25-54 cell since January (4.8-5.3) and 0.3 with persons 6+ (5.4-5.7), with share highs in May of 5.4 and 5.8, respectively. Classic rock sees a 0.3 gain among 18-34s, steadily rising from 4.3 to 4.6 from January to July.

The adult R&B format continues to grow in 2021, especially among the 25-54 demo, where shares have gained steadily from 4.4 in January to 4.7 in July, while 6+ shows similar gradual growth from 4.8 to 5.1 over the same period. While country remains the third biggest format 6+, it also saw gains since February, moving from 5.9 to 6.4.

The year so far has also seen growth for both the Spanish contemporary and regional Mexican formats, with the former up half a share point among 18-34s (3.6-4.1) and up 0.3 25-54 (3.5-3.8) from January, while the latter has steadily gained from 3.4 to 3.7 since May. Also up in recent months is Contemporary Christian, moving from 2.6 to 2.9 since April among 25-54s.

Since January and the Capitol insurrection, news/talk's story has been the opposite across the board, with a general share decline in all three demographics. Among 25-54s, it's off by 2.7 (9.7-6.8), 1.6 for 18-34 (6.4-4.8) and three share points 6+ (13.3-10.3). While the sports format displayed a temporary lift in April and May, shares overall have declined 0.7 persons 25-54 (4.3-3.6) and 0.5 18-34 (2.8-2.3).

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