Thursday, December 02, 2010

Yes, But...

If you only look at the AQH Persons composition, you could write country off as an older-appeal format. Yes, the largest AQH cell is clearly 45-54 and yes, the 18+ AQH composition ranges from a low of 9.7% 18-24 to a high of 21.6% 45-54.

But the data released this week by the Research Director, Inc. and Inside Radio also shows that country has strength on the young end too, particularly in cume.

Unlike AQH persons, the cume rating by demo varies only slightly – about 4% -- between the data’s polar ends of 18-34 and 35-64 – much more homogenous than the data released so far show other formats.

Again, looking at the young-to-old variance but this time in shares, there’s only about a 10% difference from the polar ends – 3.6 to 3.9. The share differential is much greater across gender than age.

While the format (all stations combined) has a higher market rank as age increases – 18-34 (6th), 18-49 (5th), 25-54 (4th) and 35-64 (3rd) – individual stations rank best 18-34 then rank progressively lower through 25-54: 18-34 (6th), then 18-49 (8th) and 25-54 (9th). Even the 35-64 ranker has country 7th.

There’s a lot of data additional in the report including the impact of P1s (50% of country’s AQH comes from P1s which is a higher percent than any of the four other formats released to date including AC, Urban AC, Rock and Classic Rock), and that country’s P1 TSL is lower than all these except Urban Contemporary.

Plus, as CBS Radio VP of country programming Jeff Garrison observed in Monday’s Inside Radio, country is nearly a non-ethnic format (only 9% Black and Hispanic). That’s a factor now in urban markets and could be more so in the immediate future when the 2010 census is incorporated into Arbitron estimates.

But back to the format’s broad, healthy cuming: the most successful country stations will be those that best serve three generations of listeners with engaging, common denominator content, songs with passion across demos, relevance and in an environment that “feels good” every day and daypart.

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