A headline in the New York Times on April 6 proclaimed, "Young, Rich and Ruling Radio, Country Walks a Broader Line." Nationally, radio reaches 93% of all adult consumers during the course of a week. Over 14% of these consumers choose to listen to country radio, more than any other format according to Nielsen Audio, the radio ratings company. This is bigger than the audience for news/talk radio (11.3%) and Top 40 radio (8.0%). So what does all of this mean for the advertising and marketing plans of small businesses in the Portland, Maine and southern Maine area? Quite a lot, actually.
First of all, if you think that only people in in places like Kentucky and Louisiana listen to country, then you would be wicked-wrong. According to research firm International Demographics, 19.8% of adult consumers in southern Maine listen to country radio, significantly higher than the national share of listening. And, to echo the New York Times, these Mainers are "young and rich" with more than $6.3-billion dollars to spend this year. And, despite unearned stereotypes, they are not spending it on chewing tobacco and Greyhound Bus tickets. Compared to the general population, here are just some of the things Portland's country radio listeners are spending their money on:
- 123% more likely to buy fine jewelry at Jared's
- 89% more likely to buy a snowmobile
- 84% more likely to buy cosmetics at Sephora
- 79% more likely to buy baby furniture
- 77% more likely to buy running/jogging gear
- 68% more likely to buy /lease an sport utility vehicle
- 51% more likely to buy $3000+ of new windows
- 50% more likely to buy snowboarding equipment
- 46% more likely to stay at a bed & breakfast
The age composition of Maine's country music audience defies stereotype as well with the largest share of audience being between the age of 25 and 44.
The New York Times explains the popularity of country music among a younger more affluent audience. "Country stations have traditionally focused on adult audiences, analysts attribute much of the recent growth of these stations to an increasing appeal to a younger audience, helped by a youthful tilt in the music. As a result, country now reigns as the most popular musical format on the radio." This change can be visually underscored by audiences at country music concerts.
“Five years ago, the key listener for country radio was a 40-year-old white woman from the suburbs,” said Brian O’Connell, the president of the country division of Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, told The Times. “We’re finding out that the audience was significantly younger than that.”
Although advertising on a country radio station may sometimes not be the right choice for every Maine small business, the choice should not be based on misconception and stereotype. The attributes of the audience for this type of entertainment has clearly shifted and is not what it was even 5 years ago. (Oh my god, was that just Nelly I heard singing with Florida Georgia State Line?). Any reputable media rep can provide the qualitative research tools to determine if country radio should be considered to advertise a Maine small business.