Fresh audience data illustrates how lockdown orders instituted to contain the spread of the coronavirus impacted the locations where Americans tuned to broadcast radio. With many people working from home, the percentage of total radio listening in Nielsen’s 44 continuously measured diary markets occurring At Home increased by 6.1 points in the April 2020 survey, when compared to March 2020, according to an analysis conducted by the Radio Research Consortium (RRC).
The percentage of listening in these diary markets taking place At Home jumped to 42.9% in the April survey from 36.8% in March, surpassing in-car listening which declined from 43.8% in March to 38.7% in April.
At Work listening declined 1.5 points to 16.2% in the April survey from 17.7% in March. Listening classified as Other stayed flat at 2.2%.
Nielsen’s CDM diary service relies on a three-month average in which the new month’s data is added in and the oldest month drops off. The April data reflects an average of February, March and April listening, meaning about half of the survey period was during the pandemic. The March survey represents January, February and March.
The RRC analysis used Persons Using Radio data.
While the RRC exercise shows shifts in listening by location, Nielsen’s own analysis showed virtually no impact on overall listening levels during the April survey. Nielsen looked at unweighted quarter hours by month across the 44 continuously measured diary markets in April and compared them to the pre-COVID-19 February survey. It found that AM/FM radio retained 97% of prior listening volumes in these markets. Put another way, there was only a 3% reduction in 12+ listening from 1.45 million quarter hours in February to 1.41 million in April.