Urban and Spanish Radio Growing
The hip-hop heavy urban contemporary format was the second most-listened to format, accounting for 9.7% of listening. Spanish-language stations ranked fourth with 7.4%. Katz VP/director of research Lisa Chiljean says radio seems to be keeping pace with America’s changing lifestyles and demographics. “The study strongly suggests that radio formats have evolved as the population has become more diverse,” she says.
Advertisers are taking notice, and while ethnic radio continues to earn less for their ratings points than general market stations, more money is moving to those stations. “It is a very effective reach and frequency vehicle to reach the total Hispanic population because radio is a lifestyle choice that transcends language,” says Jorge Percovich, general manager of Media Planning Diversity, a unit of the Havas’ Media Planning Group. “The advantage of Hispanic radio over other in-language mediums is that you can target the different Hispanic's by country of origin by addressing certain radio formats.” That’s because one station may air Tejano, another regional Mexican, and a third tropical music – each targeting listeners with a different cultural background.
Sherman Kizart sells national radio time for urban stations for Katz competitor Interep. He points to Toyota’s announcement last February that it will spend $100 million over the next three years targeting Black and Hispanic consumers as a turning point. Since then, others have said they plan to do the same. “It’s like a domino effect,” says Kizart, pointing to Nissan’s decision to follow Toyota’s lead. “In a tough economy, there is a greater emphasis on generating new business and for a lot of marketers these are new. There’s a huge potential for profits.”
The Katz Media report also found that listeners to ethnic formats spent longer periods of time with those stations than did listeners to general market radio stations. The average time spent listening to an urban radio station was just under 11 minutes, with gospel and Spanish-language talk stations not far behind. Each kept users listening nearly twice as long as English language top 40 or all-news stations. “It’s a very attractive because urban and Hispanic radio is a media that accompanies those groups throughout the day. It's not just a medium that you listen to while you're driving, you have it on at work, at retail outlets in Hispanic neighborhoods, because it's a lifestyle choice,” says Percovich.
According to the M Street Journal, the number of Spanish-language stations has dramatically risen in recent years. In 1992, there were 331 across the U.S. By last June, that number had surged to 603. Although growing at a least dramatic pace, stations targeting African-Americans have increased as well. The number of Black Gospel stations has grown the most, increasing from 96 in 1992 to 254 in 2002. “There is still room to grow – that is why you have radio stations popping up all the time. And the same goes with TV,” says Percovich.
The Katz Media study was based on ratings at 3,059 radio stations in 283 Arbitron markets around the country. Its analysis also indicates that baby boomers are still rocking. The report also found that classic rock and oldies stations have aged along with their core listeners, but their popularity has not waned. Classic rock was the ninth largest format, accounting for 6.4% of radio listening, while oldies was 13-th with a 5.3% share.
Classical music has also seen its audience shares more than double since 1985, although they still account for just 2.8% of listening. The growth can partly be credited, says Chiljean, on the fact that a number of mainstream broadcast groups have taken over many of the classical stations, enabling them to be better marketed to consumers.
Format Share of Listening
Top 40 8.8
Urban AC 6.5
Album Rock 6.5
Soft Rock 6.4
Classic Rock 6.4
Source: Katz Media analysis of Arbitron spring 2002 ratings, persons 12+.