"There are two formats that defy the usual research approach: Country and Urban. You’re either in the Country or Urban Lifegroup or you’re not. There are some interesting research nuances to watch for within these two formats."
People of all ages constitute the Fan base of both Country and Urban formats. The age range for Country is remarkably even, depending on the market composition. In most formats we’re able to segment music styles. Not so with Country. The best stab has been to see how audiences respond to eras rather than music styles when researching Country.
The same wide age range is apparent with Urban formats. The trend to watch in Urban in 2009 is how much formatic deference to age is given.
Traditionally, Johnson blogs, Urban has targeted younger, but we’ve seen quite a bit of old library material dating back to the 1970s being played on Urban stations. Urban AC purports to deliver a smoother texture of music, but those stations must be relevant to members of the Urban Lifegroup who are growing older. It’s fascinating to watch how may—if any– and which songs from the Hip Hop genre Urban stations trying to reach an audience over 25 can employ. Although you can dance to lyrics like, “I’m going to blow you away with my A.K.,” these types of songs tend to burn out quickly. It may be difficult to bring back many Hip Hop songs as they become unpalatable to an aging Urban audience.
One difference, darn it: Arbitron does not have any "high density country areas" with higher premiums and weighted respondents, unfortunately, because of course country listeners of all ages tend to be more cooperative research participants than Urban listeners seem to be.