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Format Scorecard: Country, Classic Hits, And Adult Hits Remain On The Up-and-up.


Year-over-year persons 6+, and over the course of this year to date in four key demographics, three radio formats have maintained their momentum, with notable share growth: country, classic hits, and adult hits.


According to Inside Radio's monthly analysis of Nielsen's PPM cross-market average quarter-hour share data trends, covering Monday-Sunday 6am-midnight, country, which consistently ranks third among all formats for 6+, has gained 0.7 from January to May 2023 in total audience (6.0-6.7) while up 0.6 in persons 18-34 (7.2-7.8), 18-49 and 25-54 (6.4-7.0 for both). Comparing Jan.-May 2021 with the first five months of this year, country's 6+ share hasn't shown the same level of growth but is still up 0.2 (6.2-6.4).


In the 18-34 demo, the 0.6 lift Jan.-May 2023 puts country in a tie for second with CHR, also up from January (7.6-7.8), with both just a tenth of a share point behind adult contemporary, which has trended down significantly from January (9.0-7.9). Country and CHR also tie for second in persons 18-49, where the latter is also up from January (6.7-7.0) and AC still leads while down slightly (8.6-8.3). For 25-54, country stands alone in second behind AC, which has lost just a tenth of a point since January (8.5-8.4), with CHR third and up 0.3 (6.2-6.5).


Helping to boost country's standing in PPM markets are May share gainers such as Beasley Media Group's WXTU Philadelphia and Bonneville's KYGO Denver.


Classic hits, ranked fourth just behind country in 6+, is up at least 0.3 across the board. That's the case from Jan.-May 2021 to Jan.-May 2023 (5.6-5.9), and from Jan. 2023 to May 2023 in 6+ (5.8-6.0), 18-34 and 18-49 (4.7-5.0 in both demos), and 25-54 (5.1-5.4). Driving growth are stations such as iHeartMedia's “95.7 The Jet” KJEB Seattle, and Cox Media Group's WMMO Orlando.


While adult hits is lower-ranked overall, with less representation in the largest PPM markets, 6+ share is up Jan.-May 2021 to '23 to date (2.4-2.7), with similar growth in all examined demos since January 2023. Notable stations pulling these numbers up include Audacy's “95.7 the spot” KKHH Houston, and Local Media of San Diego's “100.7 Big FM” KFBG.


It's also worth noting that classic rock, which ranks fifth overall, is up Jan.-May 2023 (5.3-5.7) and Jan.-May '21-'23 (5.1-5.4) among 6+.


The only format where numbers continue to be down nearly across the board is top-ranked news/talk, off by 1.7 in 6+ since Jan-May 2021 and half a share point 6+ from January to May of this year, while also down since January among 18-49 (5.7-5.4) and 25-54 (6.5-6.1).


Additional formats gaining steam since January of this year include the aforementioned CHR, as well as rhythmic CHR, the latter up anywhere from 0.3 to 0.6 among 18-34s, 18-49s or 25-54s. In the 18-34 group, there's also growth for urban contemporary (4.7-5.2), urban AC (3.7-4.0), and Spanish regional Mexican (3.1-3.7).


Trending in the opposite direction since January, in addition to AC and news/talk, are sports, off by 0.3 for 6+, 18-34 and 25-54, and contemporary Christian, down anywhere from 0.3 to 0.5 in the demos other than 6+. On the other hand, AC and sports are both up significantly '21-'23, while contemporary Christian has gained two-tenths of a point.

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