Radio...Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

"Ask anyone to list the strengths of Radio as an advertising medium and its massive audience in morning drive is sure to rank near the top of the list. Perhaps an even greater strength, which is just now coming to the surface in our PPM world, is Radio’s ability to take those large morning audiences and actually grow them throughout the day.

This quarter, we track how New Yorkers listen to Radio on an hourly basis from early morning to late night, and look specifically at how that morning drive audience builds as the day goes on, actually peaking in the 3pm hour. Radio audiences in the New York metropolitan area remain at morning drive levels or higher all day long, right up until early evening. All data is based on Arbitron PPM, New York metro, January through Holiday 2010 (13-survey average).


Morning drive has always been Radio’s bread and butter, but there are even larger audiences tuning to New York Market Radio in the midday and late afternoon. In the 3-4pm hour, Radio’s audiences in the New York metropolitan area are larger than at any time during the entire week. Notice the consistently high audiences listening to Radio throughout the day. Between 7am and 6pm on weekdays, the hourly audience only varies by 13% between the highest and lowest hours. Radio’s audiences are strong and consistent all through the day.


Why 3pm? A lot happens in New York each weekday between 3 and 4pm. For some, the workday ends. The kids are out of school at that time. If you are traveling anywhere between 3 and 4pm, you can see that people are on the move. Perhaps it is the combination of the end of the work and school day, on top of all the at-work listening still taking place at that time that drives that hour to number one. 3pm is tops for Persons 6+, but also for Adults 18-34, 25-54 and 35-64, along with African American, Hispanic and Other 6+.

 Radio’s top five weekday hours all fall between noon and 5pm, and all exceed the audience of the highest hour of morning drive, 8am-9am. How different are the listening patterns by demographic? The strength of the 3pm hour is primarily driven by women. For men, it is the noon hour that has the largest audience, followed by 2pm, and then the 3pm hour.

Another demographic difference has to do with morning drive. Adults 18-34 had no morning drive hours rank among the top 5 weekday hours, while both Black and Other had two AM drive hours in the top 5.

 The 8am hour was the highest ranking morning drive hour for all demos except African American, who listen more to the 7am hour in the mornings.


Weekend listening levels to Radio in the New York metropolitan area are extremely strong, with weekend midday audience levels mirroring the strongest weekday hours. The noon hour is typically the biggest hour on Saturdays, while the 1pm hour is often the most listened-to hour on Sunday.


Adults 18-34 and Black 6+ had their strongest weekend hours slightly later in the midday than the general population. Meantime, for Men, noon is the strongest Sunday hour. Among Hispanics in New York, the audience in the Saturday noon hour was the largest audience of the entire week. This is the only case in this analysis of a weekend hour exceeding the highest weekday hour.


The PPM data shows the tremendous stability in the size of the New York Radio audience throughout the day. Radio’s large morning drive audiences are growing in the late morning and early afternoon to their peak in the 3pm hour. 3pm is the top weekday hour for Women, while the noon hour is tops for Men. On the weekends, audience levels grow slower in the early morning, but by late morning/noon time, these audience levels are approaching the size of the best weekday hours.

Of course, because of format and demographic appeal, the hourly audiences of individual stations will vary. Arbitron’s software makes it easy to look at hourly audience flow by station. Advertisers and stations should know the differences in how listeners use each station throughout the day.

Click here to see all of the hourly estimates for the New York market for weekday, Saturday and Sunday by demographic.