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Report from The
Media Audit says Urban radio formats offer value beyond ratings data
(August 27, 2009) Analysis from the newly released National Radio Format
Report from The Media Audit paints a dramatically different picture of
listeners to urban-formatted stations such as Urban Adult Contemporary
and R & B/Urban. The study suggests that these formats offer greater
value to advertisers beyond what ratings data tells us. Further, the
study reveals the two major urban formats have relatively low audience
duplication between the two, each offering distinct demographic profiles
that are complimentary to each other.
According to the national study, one commonality shared between the two
radio formats is listener loyalty. Among those who have listened to an
Urban AC station in the past seven days, 46.4% state that they listen to
that station more than any other station. Among R & B/Urban listeners,
42.8% state that they listen to the station more often than any other
competing station. Additionally, listeners to both formats are more
likely to be loyal to radio as a medium.
Among Urban AC listeners, 33.9% are heavy radio listeners, spending more
than 3 hours listening in a typical day. The figure is 64% higher
compared to the average U.S. adult. Among R & B/Urban listeners, 33.4%
are considered heavy radio listeners, a figure that is 62% higher
compared to the average U.S. adult.
According to the same study, the demographic profiles for each format
are different, thus when combined, the stations reach a large spectrum
of ethnically diverse consumers looking to make large purchases. On one
end of the spectrum, Urban AC listeners earn an average household income
of $61,255 while the median age is 40 and 59% are female.
More than half consider themselves to be “financial optimists” and feel
they will be better off financially within the next six months. As a
result, listeners to Urban AC stations are seeking to make major
purchases of items such as automobiles, college courses, and electronics
such as video cameras and personal computers.
Among Urban AC listeners, 14.1% plan to make a domestic vehicle purchase
in the next twelve months, a figure that is double the rate for the
typical adult. Nationally, only 7.1% of all adults plan to purchase a
domestic vehicle. More than 28% plan to take a college course in the
next year, a figure that is 51% higher than the rate for the typical
With more than 52% of Urban AC listeners with children living at home,
listeners are in the market for household items such as electronics and
appliances. More than one-third plan to purchase a personal computer in
the next twelve months, while 28% are in the market for video equipment
such as a video camera, DVD player or VCR and 17% plan to purchase a
major household appliance such as a refrigerator, washer and dryer,
cooking range or dishwasher.
On the other end of the spectrum, R & B/Urban listeners represent a
younger demographic and a more gender-balanced profile. Fifty-two
percent of R & B/Urban listeners are female, while 48% are male, and the
median age is 29. The typical R & B/ Urban listener earns $57,716 in
household income, with half of listeners who are single and have never
Among R & B/Urban listeners, they are more frequent purchasers of
clothing and apparel, fast food, soft drinks, and more likely to be in
the market for a new or used car. More than 30% plan to buy a new or
used vehicle in the next twelve months.
Additionally, 54% are frequent purchasers of women’s clothing, while 47%
are frequent purchasers of men’s clothing. R & B/Urban listeners are
also more than twice as likely compared to the typical adult to be a
heavy fast food eater, eating fast food an average of five or more times
in a typical week. R & B/Urban listeners are 25% more likely than the
average adult to be a heavy consumer of soft drinks.
In the electronics category, R & B/Urban listeners are 54% more likely
to frequently buy or rent video games, while more than one-third
frequently make music purchases. Much of the purchase activity is likely
due to a single lifestyle, as there are fewer people in the household
and disposable income is divided among fewer people .
With more than 8.9 million listeners across 88 measured markets in the
U.S., Urban AC shares a relatively small portion of its audience with R
& B/Urban’s 8.6 million listeners.
According to The Media Audit, only 18.5% duplication exists between the
two audiences. As a result, the two formats combined reach more than
14.8 million listeners in a typical week.
The Media Audit National Radio Format report is now available for 2008
and offers a comprehensive profile of listeners of each format including
demographic profiles, shopping behavior, stores shopped, media habits,
and lifestyle information. The report covers sixty different radio
formats in the
The Media Audit is a syndicated multimedia, local market qualitative
audience survey that covers over 450 target items for each rated media's
audience. These qualitative data points cover things such as
socioeconomic characteristics, life styles, business decision makers,
product purchasing plans, retail shopping habits, travel history,
supermarket shopping, stores shopped, products purchased, fast-food
restaurants eaten in, soft drink consumption, brands purchased, health
insurance coverage, leisure activities, banks used, credit cards used
and other selected consumer characteristics important to local media,
advertisers and advertising agencies.