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Who Listens To Rock Music Radio?

What comes to mind when you think of rock music? Let’s talk about who exactly is listening to rock radio in northern Indiana — and why your business may want to make sure it's rocking alongside this audience.

A Glance at the Stations

Both 103.9 The Bear in South Bend and 98.9 The Bear in Fort Wayne play a mix of current rock, classic rock, grunge, and 90s rock. Between both stations, you’ll hear a lot of Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Shinedown, Guns N Roses, AC/DC, Ozzy, and many more names that we all know and love. 

These stations focus mostly on rock from back in the day – music that brings them back to a simpler time when all they had to worry about was whether their favorite band t-shirt was clean or not. 


So, you have a good idea of what music these stations play, but you may (or may not) be surprised when you find out who’s listening. If the image in your mind is of a teen in all black, in their “whatever mom” phase, think again. Most of these listeners (coming out of South Bend for 103.9 and Fort Wayne for 98.9) are men between 24 and 45. (Ladies love these stations, too, just not quite as much as the guys!)

Millennials and Gen X-ers are clearly into their old school rock, given that 103.9 has 88,000 weekly listeners and 98.9 has 71,000. Rock is not dead! (Far from it.)

Employment and Income

Rock music is all about sticking to the man but, hey, we still have to pay the bills. And, anyway, isn’t listening to rock while you work a small dose of sticking it to the man? That’s what we’ll tell ourselves because most people who listen to both stations are full-time employees. They listen to rock music on the way into work, during the workday, and on their way home. It’s a lifestyle, baby! 

Because most rock listeners are full-time workers, their average income is between $50k-$75k, and they spend a good chunk of that money on services, their cars, and food and drinks. If these listeners love one thing as much as they love rock music, that thing is their cars. And food. So, two things. 

Marriage, Homeownership, and Education

If you’re still picturing rock listeners as the lone wolves they’re stereotyped as, don’t let them fool you. A huge portion of these hardcore rockers are married people who own their homes. It’s very likely that you have at least a handful of these listeners in your life, whether you’re aware of it or not. Or, maybe you qualify as one yourself! 

As for education, rock is for everyone, no matter the amount of school you have finished. Most listeners finished high school or have a GED, with about the same number having completed at least a 4-year college degree. But rock is universally relatable, no matter where you’re at in terms of education. After all, everyone wants to rock out now and again.

The Generosity of Rock Fans

Rock fans care deeply about their community, which is why these stations make it a point to give back. 

103.9 The Bear won the Indiana Broadcasters Association’s Cardinal Community Service Award from 2016 through 2021. The station hosts two annual fundraisers: Stuff-A-Bus to collect food and funds for South Bend Center for Homeless and the Stryker Liker Open to benefit the Center for the Homeless and the Faith Mission of Elkhart.

The station also participates in several community events every year to benefit nonprofits such as the Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart County, the Family Justice Center, local animal rescues, and the Great Lakes Burn Camp.

98.9 The Bear received the IBA Cardinal Community Service Award in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Every year, The Bear hosts A Hero’s Holiday, which gathers and donates Christmas gifts and household items to a local veteran family. The Bear also participates in several community events in the Fort Wayne area that benefit nonprofits including the Allen County SPCA, Special Olympics in Indiana, and FW22. 

Do You Live the Rock Life?

If you’re part of the rock-listening demographic, Federated Media sees you and thanks you for being loyal to some of our favorite stations.

To read more about who exactly is listening to rock music, check out our stats pages for both 103.9 The Bear and 98.9 The Bear, and be sure to reach out to us if you have questions! 

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Written by Federated Media