Radio consumption shows impressive year-over-year stability, according to an analysis of key listening metrics included in Nielsen’s spring 2010 ratings within 51 U.S. markets. The survey - which measured radio listening in March and April among 115,672 consumers representing a population of 14 million - is the most inclusive sample available in the radio measurement marketplace.

Data for the reach, ratings, and time spent listening (TSL) in Nielsen’s latest survey are consistent with the findings from just one year ago. Listeners age 25 to 54 continue to thrive as the “sweet spot” for radio, while consumers in cell phone only (CPO) households continue to listen at a higher rate than the 12+ population. Meanwhile, listening among persons age 18 to 34 remains consistent with their counterparts age 12 and over in the 51 measured markets.

“The remarkable consistency of Nielsen’s spring 2010 surveys indicates that there’s no bounce from last year’s results,” said Lorraine Hadfield, Nielsen's director of global radio measurement. "Nielsen's address-based sampling (ABS) method - which captures all listeners regardless of whether they have a landline phone, cell phone only, or no phone at all - ensures that our ratings are based on the most reliable representation of the population in the 51 local radio metros."

An estimated 16.3% of households in the spring 2010 sample are cell phone only, up 8.7% from 2009. The increase is in line with the 2009 first half vs. second half rise of 8% in CPO households nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nielsen found that ratings for listeners from CPO households are 8.5% higher than those of the general population age 12+ in the 51 markets, and they listen 5.4% longer, on average, each week.

While the amount of listening in the 51 markets showed a slight uptick over the last year, the places where people listen to the radio have remained virtually unchanged. An estimated 40% of radio listening among persons 12+ takes place in the car, while 34% takes place at home and 23% at work. CPO listeners skew even higher at work, with 28.5% tuning in on the job.

Nielsen also found that while the reach for Black and Hispanic populations is in line with the total population age 12+, ratings and TSL are noticeably higher. Black listeners age 12+ spent 21% more time listening to the radio each week than all persons 12+, while Hispanic listeners 12+ spent 13% more time on the radio each week.

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