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Hit Hard by COVID, Car Listening Now Nearly Tied With Home.

In-car radio listening is on the road to recovery, according to an analysis of March 2021 data from Nielsen's 44 continuous diary measurement (CDM) markets by Radio Research Consortium. Based on listening location percentages for total average quarter-hour (AQH) to radio in March (Jan-Mar) 2021, the percent of listening from the car moved up to 40.3%, just 0.6 behind home (40.9%).

Pre-pandemic, car listening's share had been significantly ahead of home, with Nielsen January 2021 figures showing it at 44.3% compared to home's 35.7%. That was before a COVID-driven downtrend that saw car listening fall to a low of 33.1% for June 2020, while home listening hit a high of 49.9%. Since last August, the gap between the two has gradually shrunk from five percentage points to 1.5 in January 2021, 1.3 in February and 0.6 in March.

RRC's analysis of CDM markets also shows total week cume persons to radio in March 2021 down just 0.6% from February 2021, although still 99% of the pre-pandemic March 2020 level. At the same time, total AQH (persons using radio) is off 0.7% from February, representing 95% of the March 2020 level.

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