Reaching African-Americans
with Radio

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

Earlier this year, the Selig Center for Economic Growth released the 2018 edition of The Multicultural Economy.  According to this report, they estimated that the overall consumer buying power was nearly $15 trillion in 2017.  Of that, African-Americans accounted for nearly 9% of the total (just slightly below the Hispanic market), or $1.3 trillion, and that figure is expected to rise to over $1.5 trillion by 2022.

African-Americans are a strong influencer group. They are trendsetters that impact fashion, music, pop culture and more.  When it comes to entertainment options, specifically radio, they spend more time listening to radio compared to the general population.

According to the latest Nielsen data, radio reaches 91% of African-American adults 18+ – tuning into radio for nearly 14 hours every week.  When it comes to men versus women, men spend more time listening to radio compared to women – nearly one hour more.

African-Americans are not only big media users, they are also audiophiles – engaging with audio content across various devices and platforms.  In fact, they are more likely than the general population to listen to the radio on their smartphones, listen to a radio station stream, and visit a radio station’s/personality website (36%, 15% and 27%).

But how do they feel about radio as a medium and the ads that they hear on radio?  According to Scarborough data, Black/African-American radio listeners are more likely than the general population to state that radio:

  • Gives them good ideas +15%
  • Keeps them up-to-date on the latest styles and trends +28%
  • Radio ads provide good information about product use of others +34%
  • Radio ads are amusing +31%
  • Don’t believe that ads on radio are repeated often +29%
  • Don’t believe that radio ads are alike +16%

Without a doubt, radio has a strong connection with the Black community.  It is a medium with incredible reach across a wide range of categories — well over 90% of Black consumers who spend $200+ on groceries, plan to buy/lease a new vehicle, or use professional services like local insurance and real estate agents.  Simply stated, radio plays an important role when targeting this consumer segment.


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