Will Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity decide the 2016 presidential election? Or will it be NPR? Not singlehandedly, of course, but their listeners definitely will. With candidates and Super PACs making ad buys in crucial states talk radio is worth considering. It’s no secret, talk radio shows are highly segmented by ideology. Limbaugh and Hannity attract largely conservative bases. NPR attracts more of a liberal base. Is it a waste to invest ad dollars on programming that may already heavily promote a candidate’s agenda? If the radio show matches your ideology you are getting tons of free publicity daily. If the show does not match, you are likely speaking to people already firmly committed to the other guy.
As for media buyers, it may not be worth totally ignoring this medium, especially in tight races. Consider this 89% of talk radio listeners are registered voters. In 2008, Eighty-nine percent of talk radio listeners voted in a primary and more than 92% of talk radio listeners voted in presidential election. This political activism may not be surprising, but these demographic facts might be:
They don’t have to agree to listen:
Research shows that a large segment of listeners are independents. They are also people who like to hear what the “other side” is saying.
African Americans listen to conservative radio:
Despite a tendency to vote for liberal candidates, conservative talk radio actually has a large African American listenership. Nearly a quarter of conservative talk radio listeners are black.
Talk radio listeners are not just guys in suits:
Blue collar workers are a growing segment of talk radio listenership.
In fact they’re not just guys at all:
Talk radio skews largely toward male listeners, but women are another growing segment of listeners.
They like country music and sports:
Country music listeners are also a large segment of talk radio listeners. So are classic rock and oldies listeners and football fans.