Format Report Card: Classic Hits, Urban AC, Adult Hits Show Across-The-Board Demo Growth.


Four months into 2022, clear radio format trends emerge when comparing Nielsen PPM shares to both the January-April period a year and two years ago – the latter including the start of the COVID lockdown – and comparing April 2022's PPM shares to those from a year and month ago.


Inside Radio's analysis of PPM cross-market average quarter-hour share data for Monday-Sunday 6am-midnight, averaging each format's AQH shares for January-April in 2020, 2021 and 2022, still shows news/talk and adult contemporary as the most popular formats among persons 6+. News/talk's 11.3 share is even with where it was two years ago while down year-over-year, given the format's ratings bump during January 2021's Capitol insurrection. AC, meanwhile, has broken the 8-share barrier in 2022 so far, up a tenth of a point from two years ago and 0.3 year-over-year.


Four formats have gained steadily in 6+ share year-over-year, from Jan-Apr 2020 to Jan-Apr 2022: classic hits (5.4-5.5-5.8), urban adult contemporary (4.6-4.9-5.1), sports (3.7-3.8-4.1) and adult hits (2.2-2.4-2.6). Adult hits has also steadily gained from January through April 2022 (2.4-2.5-2.6-2.7).


Looking at key demographics, classic hits, urban AC and adult hits are all up from 2020 to 2022 among persons 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. Also up steadily among 18-34 listeners are AC (7.4-7.5-8.0) and adult alternative (0.8-0.9-1.2), while that's also the case for the Spanish adult hits format among 25-54s.


Meanwhile, steadily downtrending over the past two years based on 6+ share are country (6.4-6.2-5.8), classic rock (5.2-5.1-5.0), CHR (5.7-5.1-5.0), modern/alternative rock (2.7-2.6-2.3) and rhythmic-CHR (2.2-1.9-1.8). While country ranked third among all formats for the Jan-Apr 2020 and Jan-Apr 2021 periods, comfortably ahead of classic hits, both are now tied for third for 2022 to date. The encouraging news for three of these formats is they've been in bounce-back mode since the first of the year, with country's monthly share gaining steadily since January (5.6-5.7-5.9-6.1) and shares headed back up for both classic rock (4.7-4.7-5.2-5.2) and modern/alternative rock (2.2-2.3-2.4-2.4).


As for other monthly trends, gainers of 0.3 or more from last to this April in 6+ include adult contemporary (7.4-7.9), sports (4.0-4.4), classic hits (5.7-6.0), urban contemporary (2.7-3.0) and news (2.2-2.5). AC and urban contemporary also show year-over-year growth across all three key demos, while among 18-34s, classic rock and urban AC are also up.


In terms of format growth from March to April, up 0.3 or more 6+ are classic hits (5.7-6.0) and sports (3.9-4.4), with sports up in all demos while classic hits gains among 18-49s and 25-54s. Also notable is a bump up for hot AC (5.2-5.5) 18-34.

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