Friday, July 27, 2018


The Women of Triple A gather at the 2018 NONCOMMvention
in Philadelphia (image courtesy of Rita Houston from WFUV)
Our review of the June 2018 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings brought a surprise: Triple A is the fastest growing format of the ten public radio format groups we track.

Twenty Triple A, Rock and Americana music stations increased their estimated weekly listeners in June 2018 by 6.7% over June 2016. According to Nielsen, the Triple group of stations reached 2,311,000 weekly listeners in the June 2018 sweeps.

Triple A is now the third leading format group, passing Jazz stations.  This is an important validation of the noncommercial Triple A approach that focuses on music discovery, careful curation and local music scenes.

Top performing stations included WYMS, Milwaukee; The Colorado Sound (KJAC) Denver and WYEP, Pittsburgh.

NOTE TO READERS: As of Thursday we have received messages from three PDs who asked us to use Nielsen Audio quarterly data, rather than monthly data, when we compile our comparisons. The reason is that three months of data are less susceptible to wide variations that are sometimes found in the monthly data.

We agree and we will begin using Nielsen Audio quarterly data when we compile the Fall 2018 trends. Thank you to the readers who made this suggestion.

Also, please stay tuned for Spring 2018 ratings from the Nielsen Audio Diary markets. We will begin reporting on them next week.


Full-time NPR News/Talk stations continue to have the largest number of estimated weekly listeners, up 5% in June 2018 compared with data from June 2016. In June 2018 these 48 stations had an estimated 12.739,900 weekly listeners.

• Full-time Classical music stations delivered the second largest number of estimated weekly listeners (4,823,600) in June 2018. The 26 stations in this format group had around 4% fewer weekly listeners in 2018 than they had in June 2016.

• Full-time Jazz music stations had a small decrease of their estimated weekly listeners in June 2018 compared with June 2916.

• Dual-format stations that air NPR News magazines, plus a music format, dropped approximately 4% of their estimated weekly listeners between June 2016 and June 2018. KCRW’s loss of 122,700 weekly listeners was the biggest factor.

• Urban contemporary music stations remained steady over the two-year period.

• Dual-format stations that air both Classical music and Jazz music had the biggest declines in weekly listeners. Major losses of listeners by WRTI, Philadelphia, was the biggest factor.

• There was not enough data for audio streaming, community stations or non-NPR news stations to make comparisons.


Of course, there is one other sizable group of noncommercial stations: Religious stations. In the charts on the left we list the top twenty evangelical stations as reported by Nielsen Audio.  Eighteen of the 20 stations air Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). CCM stations are sort of like secular adult contemporary stations that play only “God-ly” music.

CCM has become a major noncommercial radio format. In June 2018, According to Nielsen, there were an estimated 6,112,200 weekly listeners to these 20 stations.

The biggest single factor in noncom Christian radio are the stations owned and operated by the Educational Media Foundation (EMF). Twelve of the 20 stations listed are owned by EMF. Each of the EMF stations are programmed by satellite and have almost no locally produced content.

There is ample local content on the 8 other Christian stations. EMF stations reach 3,185,500 (52%) of the estimated weekly listeners. Local stations reach an estimated 2,925,700, 48% of the total number.

1 comment:

  1. This is curious to me. Washington DC's WGTS 91.9 is noticeably missing and it consistently comes around half a million.