AM/FM Radio Reaches America’s Light TV Viewers Who Are Registered Voters

September 16, 2019 By Pierre Bouvard

Edison Research’s latest Q2 2019 “Share of Ear” report featured data highlighting the audio habits of American registered voters. In a first-ever analysis of this information, Westwood One showcased AM/FM radio as the dominant audio platform in share and reach among key political targets: Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

Key findings from the “Share of Ear” report included:

  • Among registered voters, 80% of all daily time spent with ad-supported audio goes to AM/FM radio.
  • Among registered voters, AM/FM radio’s share of audio time spent (80%) is 11 times larger than ad-supported Pandora (7%), 20 times larger than ad-supported Spotify (4%), and 27 times larger than ad-supported SiriusXM (3%).
  • AM/FM radio has the highest share of ad-supported audio time spent among all three major political affiliations: Independents (79%), Republicans (82%), and Democrats (78%).

How can AM/FM radio help political advertisers extend the reach of their TV?

Using Nielsen Scarborough data, Westwood One examined TV time spent among heavy TV viewers as well as light and non-TV viewers who are registered voters.

The key finding: Most TV ad impressions come from only a small percentage of TV viewers. Registered voters who are light and non-TV viewers are a large percentage of the TV audience but represent only a small percentage of TV time spent and commercial impressions.

An important lesson in heavy TV viewers: Among registered voters in the United States, 21% are heavy TV viewers, representing half of all TV impressions. So half of TV ad impressions come from 21% of American registered voters.

38% of registered voters are light and non-TV viewers: A significantly larger percentage, 38%, of registered voters fall into the light and non-TV viewer group. Despite their substantial size, light TV viewers only represent 6% of total TV ad impressions. Among registered voters, 38% of America represents only 6% of TV ad impressions. It’s no wonder that political media strategists and consultants find that audiences do not remember seeing political TV ads for candidates.

AM/FM radio makes TV campaigns better for political candidates by reaching light TV viewers

AM/FM radio reaches 90% of light TV viewers who are registered voters. AM/FM radio, the number one mass reach medium, is the solution for political advertisers who need to reach registered voters who are light TV viewers.

As the media landscape constantly evolves, AM/FM radio is a consistently effective tool for political campaigns needing to cut through the clutter. It reaches a massive, engaged, and diverse audience across the political party spectrum. With just a small reallocation of a TV media plan to AM/FM radio, political campaigns can also see significant lift in campaign reach in addition to driving growth in awareness, consideration, and advocacy.

Key takeaways:

  • AM/FM radio generates massive ad-supported share and reach among Independents, Republicans, and Democrats
  • Nearly 2 out of 5 registered voters (38%) are light/non-TV viewers
  • AM/FM radio makes TV campaigns better for political candidates by reaching light TV viewers
  • Reallocating a small portion of a TV media plan to AM/FM radio will increase reach and amplify awareness, consideration, and advocacy

Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus | Westwood One.

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