Nielsen's Audio Today Report: Hispanics Listen to Radio More Than Any Other Group

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The latest Audio Today report from Nielsen spotlights the growing influence of Hispanic radio consumers in the American media landscape.  

The study, titled “State of the Media: Audio Today, A Focus on Black & Hispanic Audiences,” looks at data from the second quarter of 2015 and points to an all-time high for the second year in the row in terms of the broad national radio audience: currently, there are a whopping 245 million Americans 12 or older using radio each week.

Here’s the insightful part: African Americans and Hispanics together represent a record 71.7 million audio consumers, equal to almost a third (29.3 percent) of that national audience. Specifically, Hispanics account for 16.5 percent and African Americans account for 12.8 percent.

The weekly reach of radio among these two audience groups has been consistently growing over the past five years, the study shows. In 2011, Hispanics accounted for 36.5 million of the weekly national radio listeners, while in 2015, that number has grown to 40.4 million, representing a growth of 11 percent. By comparison, African American radio audience has grown 5 percent since 2011, from 29.8 million to 31.3 million.

Put another way: more than 9 out of 10 Hispanics are listening to radio each week, spending about 12 hours and 35 minutes a week tuning in, mostly outside of their homes.

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The report goes on to state that “because radio reaches more than 90 percent of both of these audiences, the footprint of where that listening is highest mirrors the larger population trends taking place in the U.S. today.” So it should come as no surprise that the top five Hispanic radio-listening markets in the U.S. are Los Angeles, New York, Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Houston/Galveston, and Chicago (in that order) -- all cities in which Latinos are served by a multitude of stations. Maps in the report also show that California and Texas are substantially above the national average for Spanish-language radio listening -- no surprise, since both states have a high percentage of immigrants who are Spanish-dominant. 

As for what Hispanics are listening to across the 250 U.S. markets large and small analyzed in the report, regional Mexican takes the cake -- which is good news for labels and brands making a significant investment in that format.


The study also takes a comparative look at “Hispanic heavy media users,” defined here as adults 18 or over who are heavy consumers of radio, television, internet, and print. When it comes to radio specifically, the data shows that heavy Hispanic users of that medium are on average 39 years old, and skew more male (52 percent, versus 48 percent female). A 72 percent of those Hispanic heavy radio users also work full-time, with an average yearly household income of $58,600, and spend 18 hours and 45 minutes listening to radio each week (compared to seven hours and 23 minutes spent online). Hispanic heavy internet users are on average younger than Hispanic heavy radio users (35 years old). They’re also evenly split 50 percent male/female, with a higher average household income of $64,400, and spend 11 hours and 30 minutes listening to radio each week (as opposed to the 15 hours and 52 minutes they spend online). Heavy television users are the oldest of the Hispanic heavy media user groups compared side-by-side in the study, with an average age of 44.

The biggest takeaway, according to the study: “These black and Hispanic consumers spend more time with radio each week than any other group, and possess enormous buying power for advertisers looking to reach a qualified audience when they are away from home and in the marketplace ready to purchase.”

The full report is available for download on