It’s the political season, and a key metric for candidates is the strength of their core voters’ preference (or lack of it). Which led me to wonder, when it comes to radio, what is P1 listeners’ level of preference for the station they listen to most?

So, earlier this month, we surveyed 18-64 listeners online. We asked them to name the station they “spend the most time listening to.” And (among other issues) we asked them how much better it is, in their opinion, than the other stations they listen to.

We ended up with 732 respondents who named a specific station they listen to most, and categorized each station’s format based on their ID and market. Here’s what we learned…

Overall, 50% of listeners think their P1 station is “a lot better” than other stations. Christian stations have the highest level of preference among their P1 listeners. Nearly three-fourths think their #1 station is a lot better:

How much better is [station you listen to most] than other stations you listen to?  

CHRISTIAN P1s

A LOT Better 73%
SLIGHTLY Better 19%
NOT Better  3%
Don’t know  5%

Information-focused stations — NPR and News/Talk — rank next in preference among their P1s. Country stations are also above average, as a group:

[Station listened to most] is  A LOT BETTER than other stations…  
CHRISTIAN 73%
PUBLIC RADIO/NPR 64%
NEWS/TALK 61%
COUNTRY 56%
ROCK 50%
AVERAGE 50%
URBAN 47%
SPORTS 44%
ADULT CONTEMPORARY 43%
OLDIES/CLASSIC HITS 42%
CHR 39%

CHR stations have the lowest percentage of P1s saying they are a lot better. The majority of CHRs’ P1s find them only slightly better:

How much better is [station you listen to most] than other stations you listen to?  

CHR  P1s

A LOT Better 39%
SLIGHTLY Better 55%
NOT Better   4%
Don’t know   1%

It’s important to note though, that the relatively low P1 preference for CHR (as well as Oldies/Classic Hits and A/C) stations doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality of their programming. Remember, that what we’re probing is how much better their P1s think they are compared to other stations they listen to. And those stations generally face more competition than Christian, NPR and Country stations.

“Stay tuned” for more from our study of different formats’ P1s. Next week, we’ll reveal how loyal they are to the station they listen to most.