Radio Station Formats

Radio stations create programming for a particular type of listener in mind. This programming is referred to as a radio station format. These various formats tend to attract listeners in different demographic age and lifestyle groups. Below, is a general list and will vary by market.

Each format’s demographics can vary greatly depending on it’s niche. For instance, within the Adult Contemporary (AC) format, “Hot AC” stations tend to play newer music, therefore attracting a younger audience than a “Soft AC” station.

Generally speaking, radio listeners tend to listen to several stations that share similar formats. If you want to expand your reach to as many different listeners as possible, it’s a good idea to buy stations with formats that are different from one another that target your customer, if you’re planning to buy more than one radio station.

Format Age Group
Adult Contemporary
(AC, Hot AC, Modern AC, Soft AC)
25+
News/Talk/Information
(All News, All Sports, All Talk, News/Talk)
35+
Contemporary Hit Radio
(CHR, Pop CHR, Rhythmic CHR)
12-34
Urban
(Urban AC, Urban Oldies, Urban)
12-54
Country
(Classic Country, Country, New Country)
18+
Hispanic
(All Varieties)
12+
Rock
(‘70’s, Active Rock, AOR, Classic Rock)
35-54
Oldies
(‘70’s Hits, ‘80’s Hits, Classic Hits, Oldies, Rhythmic Oldies)
35-64
Alternative
(Alternative, New Rock)
18-34
Religious 35+
Adult Hits 35-54
New AC/ Smooth Jazz 45+
Classical 55+
Adult Standards
(Easy Listening, Nostalgia, Variety)
55+