Benefiting from December flips to all-Christmas, and steady declines for traditional format leaders news/talk and CHR, adult contemporary has been the hottest format in 2022, gaining overall and in every key demographic for year-to-date and month-by-month.
Based on Inside Radio's latest monthly analysis of Nielsen's PPM cross-market average quarter-hour share data, covering Monday-Sunday 6am-midnight, and including averaging each format's monthly AQH shares to compute January-to-December delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022, AC is up anywhere from 0.3 to 1.1 share points – the latter gain among persons 18-34 – for 2022-to-date vs. 2020. Looking at the January-to-December trend for this year, AC's growth is more impressive, up at least 3.4 points in all four examined demo groups – persons 6+, 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.
While news/talk maintains a considerable lead in the year-to-date sweepstakes, its shares have fallen over the past two years, including a 7.9-7.1 trend among 25-54s which pushed AC up to No. 1 in that demo. In the 6+ monthly trend for 2022, news/talk led in every month except December, the only time where news/talk did not deliver a double-digit share, allowing the Christmas music-boosted AC format to take over at the top. News/talk's shares, meanwhile, were down more than a share point across the board January-to-December, including -1.6 6+ (11.5-9.9) and -1.5 25-54 (7.7-6.2).
At the same time, CHR, which in 2020 led among 18-34s and was neck-and-neck with AC among 18-49s, has seen its shares tumble, off 0.6 among 6+, 18-34 and 18-49. As a result, AC has taken over the 18-34 lead by 0.4 over CHR (8.4, vs. CHR's 8.0) while widening its 18-49 lead by 1.2 (8.1, vs. CHR's 6.9). Since January 2022, CHR is also down 0.6 among 6+ and an eye-opening 1.7 among 18-34s, where its January lead over AC (8.6, vs. AC's 8.1) has evaporated to a 5.3-point deficit in December (6.9 vs, AC's Christmas-enhanced 12.2).
Aside from AC, sports and adult hits, are also up across all demos for YTD 2022 compared to that of 2020, with the former up 0.8 (2.8-3.6) 6+ and the latter with the same gain among 18-34s (2.2-3.0). On the other side, country, CHR and rhythmic CHR are trending down significantly, with country down the most, off 0.8 among 18-49s (7.0-6.2).
Month-by-month for 2022, the only other format aside from AC to show growth from January to December is classic rock, up 0.6 6+ (4.7-5.3). Aside from news/talk and CHR, the only other format down-trending in every key demo is Spanish regional Mexican, off by 0.4 6+ and 18-34, and 0.5 18-49 and 25-54.