The ups and downs of radio listening in 2020

According to NLogic, radio listening fluctuated at different stages of the pandemic, with in-home audiences peaking during lockdowns.
Radio Car

New research and insights provided by analytics software company NLogic show that radio listening in key Canadian markets rebounded after the initial lockdown in March 2020, then rose in the summer before tapering off in the fall.

According to the software company’s radio dashboard – based on Numeris Radio PPM data – in-home and OOH radio-listening in Toronto had an average-minute audience (AMA) of roughly 139,000 listeners, aged 25 to 54, from Feb. 10 to Mar. 15. Overall radio listening then plummeted among members of the cohort shortly after the pandemic hit.

From Mar. 16 to May 10, the AMA dropped to approximately 91,000 listeners, then climbed to 110,000 from the end of August to the end of September, before levelling off at roughly 101,000 listeners from the end of October to end of December.

In-home radio listening for Torontonians aged 25 to 54 was at its highest between Mar. 16 to May 10, with an AMA of approximately 52,000 listeners. Meanwhile, OOH radio listening for that demographic was, for obvious reasons, at its highest for the pre-pandemic period of Feb. 10 to Mar. 15. Most radio listening occurred during the rush-hour drive, primarily in the 8 a.m. hour.

When looking at the Montreal Anglophone and French markets in total, in-home and OOH radio listening reached an average 104,000, among those aged 25 to 54, then dropped to about 77,000 listeners during the period of Mar. 16 to May 10. From May 11 onward, total radio listening rose to about an AMA of 96,000 for the period of Oct. 26 to Dec. 27.

In-home radio listening for all Montrealers was at its zenith between Mar. 16 to May 10, with an AMA of about 43,000 listeners. OOH listening was at its peak from Feb. 1o to Mar. 14, with an AMA of 70,000 listeners.

In Vancouver, in-home and OOH radio listening combined had an AMA of 56,000 listeners (from the 25 to 54 segment) from Feb. 10 to Mar. 15., which dipped to about 41,000 from Mar. 16 to May 10.  In-home and OOH radio listening combined were on a slight upward trajectory, from May 11 to Oct. 25, before coming back down to an AMA of about 45,000 listeners from Oct. 26 to Dec. 27.

In-home listening in Vancouver for those aged 25 to 54 was at its highest from May 11 to July 5, with an AMA of 16,300. The city’s OOH audience was, once again, at its highest between Feb. 10 and Mar. 15. In Vancouver, the average audience among those two years or older who streamed radio content in November and December was 15% higher than before the lockdown, but accounted for only 13% of total listening.