Politalking: News/Talk Radio Hits Its Stride

Written By

SMI Staff

Published On

Tuesday, Feb 21

No matter your view on the recent election, there’s one thing we can all agree on—there’s no shortage of opinions and topics to discuss. And while we’ll avoid political commentary, we can shed some light on the effects of this heated political climate on the radio and radio advertising industry. 

A big trend we saw in 2016 was the rise in ratings of News/Talk radio formats. A report from Nielsen shows that News/Talk was the highest ranking format of the year. Audience shares in this category grew from 8.9% in 2015 to 9.6% in 2016. No other top 10 radio format saw such a large increase in listeners. 

There’s no doubt a direct correlation between the often-contentious political climate of the 2016 election and the growing popularity of News/Talk radio. Love or hate the Trump administration, it gives people something to say. And when people are impassioned, radio is a common outlet they turn to to listen to like-minds and literally have their voices be heard. 

Even better news for News/Talk radio and its advertisers is that this rising trend in listenership isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Inside Radio reports that News/Talk ratings have risen even more since the election. Every day since the January 20th Inauguration brings more polarizing news and stories from the Trump White House, giving News/Talk radio personalities and listeners constant food for thought—and talk. As Steve Moore, CBS VP of Programming for News/Talk, puts it, “President Trump is a content machine.” 

Mike McVay, SVP Content and Programming for Cumulus Media/Westwood One, agrees. “We are looking at a potential cornucopia of content,” he said about the record ratings of the News/Talk format. So, while there are many bold and differing opinions about whether or not Trump is good news for politics, he’s definitely good news for the radio industry. 

This wealth of content plus a huge number of local and Satellite News/Talk stations across the country creates opportunities for radio advertisers. SMI has extensive expertise in leveraging News/Talk formats for a range of clients, and can help put it to work for your products and brands. To learn more, call us today. 

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