In its “Radio Today” reports, Arbitron has consistently reported that black and Hispanic listening is often higher than that of the general population. Now Nielsen is weighing in reporting that black listeners “spent 21% more time listening than all persons 12+” according to Radio-Info.com. For Hispanics, the spread is 13% more time.

According to the report, it’s not so much that ethnicities are likely to seek out radio and listen more, it’s that radio is more a part of their daily lives. In fact, Radio-Info.com reports that radio’s reach among blacks and Hispanics is about the same as for the national average – they’ve just got the radio turned on more. As for locations where radio listening takes place, not surprisingly Nielsen says 40% is in the car; 34% at home and 23% at work.

One big caveat in the research is that Nielsen surveyed markets outside the top 100, thanks in large part to contracts awarded to Arbitron by Cumulus in 51 markets. So far, Nielsen hasn’t announced any additional markets beyond the original “Cumulus 51.”

Despite its limited geographic scope, what this research does show is one of radio’s biggest strengths: an ability to understand and speak to its audiences. More than any other medium, radio reaches particular targeted demographics with music and a message that speaks to its audiences.

Whether it’s an R&B; oldies station reaching an upper middle class black audience in large urban cities or a regional Mexican radio station in a border town, radio programmers who understand how to get, keep and relate to their audiences walk away with an ever-increasing share of the pie. Their audiences reward them with longer listening hours and brand loyalty.

Stay tuned…

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