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Millennials Flip the Dial to Classic Hits as the Summer Starts

2 minute read | June 2016

When the weather heats up for summer, the sun also starts to shine brighter on Classic Hits radio, which has experienced the most listener growth over the past two summers. So it’s not surprising that the format is off to a strong start this year once again.

While the audience share among persons 6 and older for this popular format was flat from April to May at a 5.4%, the 18-34 and 25-54 listener bases are growing. Classic Hits trended 3.6%-3.8%-3.9% among 18-34s and 4.7%-4.7%-4.8% among 25-54s since March 2016. The 3.9% share in May 2016 among 18-34 year-olds is the first time outside of the holidays that the format has reached this level among this listener group. This format may not be targeted toward Millennials, but they are tuning into Classic Hits like never before.

The Alternative format is also blazing new listening trends. Tune-in to this format tends to be pretty steady from month to month, but that may be changing, particularly among the older listeners of this format. This May, the listener share of adults 25-54 grew to 3.9%, which is good enough for a new record. While Alternative is still the sixth-most popular format among Millennials, the appeal of Alternative music appears to be spreading to the money demo of adults 25-54.

Just like in April, the All Sports format continued to surge at the onset of summer. Among persons 6+ the format jumped from a 4.5% share in April to a 4.9% share in May. The share among 18-34 audience climbed from 3.2% in April to 3.6% in May. The All Sports core demo of adults 25-54 moved up half a point to hit a 5.5% share in May. Thanks to post-season basketball, hockey and the start of baseball season, there are lots of reasons for sports fans to tune into Sports Talk radio in the month of May.

*Nielsen Audio officially has 48 measured PPM markets, but three of them (Nassau-Suffolk, Middlesex-Somerset-Union, and San Jose) are included in the larger New York and San Francisco metro areas. Therefore, the listening data from those Maykets are included in these results even though we did not break them out separately.

Data used in this article is inclusive of multicultural audiences. Hispanic consumer audiences are composed of both English and Spanish speaking representative populations.

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