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Radio’s Primetime Listening Season Is Here. Is Your Station Ready?

The kids are back at school, adults are back at work, and football season is officially here. Post-Labor Day marks the start of radio’s primetime as listening levels climb compared to the summer months as Americans resume their regular routines and normal listening behaviors return. For programmers, that means there are more quarter hours to be had, the pie is about to get bigger, and it’s time to capitalize on that.

Contesting shifts into high gear, including thousand-dollar giveaways for the big groups. On-air lineups get tweaked, new shows and new formats launch.

And with good reason. According to Nielsen PPM data, the highest months for radio listening are the October and November surveys, followed by September and May. Keep in mind, this reflects survey dates in which “October” means Sept. 14- Oct. 11 and November runs Oct. 12-Nov. 18.

Looking at every individual PPM survey since 2019 in the key persons 25-54 demo, seven of the top twenty largest months for radio listening were in the fall and six were in the spring.

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