How Many People Are Listening to That Radio Show?

Are Those Listener Numbers Bull or Not?


What is the Cume?


How many people are listening to a radio program? How do you know? The way to determine that has been around for a long time per Nielsen ratings. The Cume is the average listenership for each 15 minute segment. More on this in a moment.

All radio stations and media planners provide you with a media kit. The media kit is what the radio station puts out to show you their average listenership or the Cume. And they tell you how far their radio signal covers in geographic terms.

I know that some people will suspect that the radio stations will fudge these numbers. So there have been entities such as the Nielsen ratings to have a third-party that guarantees these numbers. Our media planners are very aware of making sure we have the “correct” numbers of who is listening to a given radio program or show.

Want to see some impressive stats? According to RADAR 155, as of December of 2022, Nielsen Audio has estimated that in the Monday through Sunday 24-Hour Cume, there are 236,261,000 people ages 12 and up listening to the radio each week! According to the same source, they estimate 11.2 hours of listening each week!

Why is that Cume number important? You want to make sure that you get the most ROI or return on your investment for your advertising dollar spent. When you have a station that says they have 30,000 people listening to it but their Cume only shows they only have 2,000 people listening every 15 minutes, the math indicates that they’re not telling the whole truth.

You want to make sure that you’re getting the actual full listenership every 15 minutes so that your ad can be delivered to the most people possible. Make sense? If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via phone or via our email on the contact form on the bottom of the page.


By Sean Pearce and Pete Miller

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