Radio 2003: A Snapshot

By combining its own ratings data with Scarborough demographic information Arbitron has delivered media planners a unique snapshot of the radio audience in its Radio 2003 study.

The study now carries the name of its release year, rather than the year in which the data is gathered. Last year's study was called Radio 2001, and this year's uses data collected in 2002.

As in last year's study Radio 2003 describes a stable industry that reaches the entire market and a listening pattern that is strongest in the morning, peaking during morning drive on weekdays and around midday on weekends. There are also details here that highlight the differences among listening patterns for both sexes at various ages.

The addition of Scarborough data results in a large number of findings media planners can take advantage of immediately, especially when they need to compare formats. Some of these findings are obvious, others less so. Arbitron's press release on the study noted the following:



  • New Adult Contemporary (NAC)/Smooth Jazz listeners are 53% more likely than average to buy a new luxury car. They are also a fitness-conscious audience.

  • Some 38% of golfers are News/Talk/Information listeners. This audience segment also consumes all types of financial products and services at rates well above the national average.

  • About 57% of Country listeners eat at fast-food restaurants five times or more per month.

  • Rock listeners are 35% more likely than the norm to have a home improvement loan.

  • Spanish-language radio listeners spend more on groceries than listeners of any other format.

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg. A quick glance through the report yielded the following additional gems:

  • The Adult Standard, Adult Contemporary and Contemporary Hit formats skew heavily toward women, while the Rock, News/Talk/Information and Alternative formats skew heavily toward men.

  • The Oldies format is strongest in the Mountain States and West North Central regions, but very weak in Texas and South Central regions, where Country is strong. (Ironically Country is strongest in the West North Central region.)

  • More than half of the Urban format's audience has some college education.

  • The Classical audience is far more likely than average to have retirement savings in an IRA or Keough account.

    No matter what you or your clients are selling, however, you can easily find your own favorite data points in the Radio 2003 report. The addition of Scarborough data makes this a breakthrough for media planners.

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