According to the latest Nielsen report, Radio Is The Answer to political campaign reach. Staying ahead of the curve is essential in today’s dynamic political landscape. With traditional strategies facing challenges and emerging new avenues, campaigns must adapt to reach voters effectively. A recent Nielsen study, conducted in partnership with Cumulus Media, iHeartMedia, and Audacy, has unveiled a significant revelation: the profound impact of radio on political campaigns.

The insights gleaned from this study can potentially revolutionize campaign approaches, highlighting the pivotal role of AM/FM radio in voter outreach, particularly among undecided voters. Contrary to common assumptions, radio is a potent tool for broad-reaching engagement, surpassing the effectiveness of television and connected TV across all voter segments.

Key Findings of Nielsen Study

  • 12% Radio increased reach without impacting the budget by allocating one-fifth of the ad budget to AM/FM radio, the campaign delivered a 12% increase in audience reach without increasing spending.
  • 29% Radio delivers the most incremental reach for light TV viewers. Radio added 29% more incremental reach among TV viewers who watch less than two hours daily–more than connected TV (CTV)1 or social.
  • 23% Radio reaches more unaffiliated viewers. Adding radio to the campaign media mix resulted in a 23% lift in reaching “swing voters.”

Source: Nielsen

AM/FM Radio and Digital Media Stand Out in Reaching Voters across all voter segments.


One of the most striking insights from the study is the effectiveness of early deployment of radio ads in enhancing voter engagement. Allocating a portion of the campaign media budget to traditional radio recovers lost voter reach from previous campaigns and significantly boosts overall voter engagement. This rings especially true for critical demographics such as undecided voters, light TV viewers, Gen Xers, and Millennials.


Moreover, radio plays a pivotal role in shaping the multicultural vote, particularly among Hispanic and Black communities in the United States. With high percentages of registered Hispanic and Black voters consistently tuning into AM/FM radio, political candidates and advocacy groups have a unique opportunity to connect with these demographics on a platform they trust and engage with regularly.




As America becomes increasingly diverse, the influence of radio on the electorate remains profound. By integrating AM/FM radio into their strategies, political campaigns can effectively enhance their reach and impact, transcending the barriers of age, ethnicity, and media fragmentation.

Furthermore, the study challenges the notion that digital platforms can compensate for TV’s diminishing reach. Instead, it reveals that increasing the proportion of CTV/digital in media plans lowers voter reach. This underscores the enduring significance of radio as a critical component of political communication strategies.


AM/FM radio achieves significant reach among light TV viewers. Nielsen dissects each component of a political media buy targeting light TV viewers to assess the additional voter reach attributed to each platform.

  • The core linear TV buy reaches merely 6.3% of light TV viewer voters, indicating that 94% remain untouched by TV political ads. This underscores the age-old adage in media planning: “You can’t solve your light TV viewing problem by purchasing more TV!”
  • The inclusion of connected TV (CTV) contributes only 3.3% to the voter reach among light TV viewers.
  • Digital campaigns boost voter reach by 11.8% among light TV viewers.
  • Remarkably, integrating AM/FM radio into the media plan elevates voter reach among light TV viewers by a staggering 28.9%.
  • Of the incremental voter reach generated by CTV, digital, and AM/FM radio, AM/FM radio accounts for two-thirds, highlighting its effectiveness in connecting with light TV viewers.


Allocating 20% of the political media plan to AM/FM radio results in substantial boosts in overall voter reach, particularly among undecided voters, light TV viewers, Gen Xers, and Millennials. Nielsen’s research shows that dedicating 20% of the media plan to AM/FM radio effectively regains all previously lost voter reach from the prior year.



Campaigns that leverage AM/FM radio “early and consistently” reap rewards: Nielsen’s examination of significant local races indicates that initiating and maintaining AM/FM radio advertising as a primary mass reach platform yields notable incremental reach in races won by slim margins.


The Nielsen study underscores the enduring relevance of radio in political campaigning. It highlights its potential as a game-changer in reaching and engaging voters, especially in today’s dynamic media landscape.

Embracing radio as a central component of campaign strategies can pave the way for success in engaging diverse voter demographics and shaping the outcomes of elections.

Ready to amplify your campaign voice? Contact us at to learn how digital audio advertising can take your political campaign to the next level!

Source: Nielsen article, Nielsen Study