Country Radio is still #1 in the U.S.

100.7 the Tiger is proud to be part of America’s favorite radio format!

As the 49th annual Country Music Association (CMA) awards broadcast tonight, country radio has plenty to celebrate. Starting with this—it remains the No. 1 most-listened-to format far and away, with a leading 15.2% total audience share, according to Nielsen.

That compares with No. 2 news/talk at 10.6%, top 40 at 8.0% and AC at 7.6%—meaning that Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood command almost twice as much listening as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.

The annual “CMA” broadcast, meanwhile, commanded a mighty 16.1 million viewers in 2014—ranking it the fifth-most-watched awards show, behind the Oscars, the Grammys, the Golden Globes and the Emmys, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

While country radio has changed its musical course over the decades—from pop/country in the ‘80s through bro country over the past two years—it maintains its stance as an über-reliable dial destination for a broad-appeal audience. Last year, The New York Times reported that, “Country has been one of radio’s biggest success stories over the last decade,” pointing to slowly rising ratings and its stable station count.

You don’t have to convince those who make a living in the format. Consultant Joel Raab, principal of Country Radio/Media, offers, “Formats will come and go, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now, country will still be here. The amazing thing about the format is how it has evolved through the years and continues to grow. Once you’ve established a strong country station, it’s hard to knock off unless you make some egregious errors.”

The format’s Teflon coating has a lot to do with that broad appeal, according to Jaye Albright, a principal at country consultancy Albright, O’Malley & Brenner. “Our demographics are a tremendous reason for optimism in 2016,” she says. “If you still want to own 18-49, 18-34 and thus 25-54, one station can reach the audience as long as music is well-researched and has brand-building personalities who fit the image desired by contemporary country fans.”

In addition, country radio plays it smart by remaining true to its core. “Country radio continues to appeal to everyone, everywhere,” veteran country journalist Phyllis Stark tells Inside Radio. “Certainly it ebbs and flows—sometimes skewing younger, sometimes skewing pop, sometimes skewing more traditional—depending on available artists and songs, but for the most part the format has resisted splintering.”


Inside Radio

November 4th, 2015