NPR & National Public Media's Year in Review: 2023

December 2023

2023 brought changes and challenges, but NPR remained a consistent source of top-notch journalism and award-winning content for 44 million people each week. Check out a few highlights from NPR & National Public Media.

New NPR App debuted

The newly relaunched NPR app has brought together the best features from our previous mobile app experiences – NPR One and the previous NPR app – offering audiences news updates, stories, interviews, podcasts, live radio, headlines and more in one place. For sponsors, the NPR app offers NPR’s most custom branding opportunities and connection to highly engaged NPR fans.

Read more about the unified app here.

Body Electric engages listeners to make positive change

NPR launched Body Electric, a podcast hosted by Manoush Zomorodi investigating the relationship between our technology and our bodies, in the fall of 2023. In collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center, the series engaged participants in a groundbreaking interactive study to add prescribed movement breaks into their sedentary screen-filled lives. The experiment was widely successful with over 22,000 participants opting in to the study and making meaningful change in their lives. Hear more about the series’ success on Morning Edition.

Audiences will be able to take “The Body Electric Challenge” on their own starting in mid-January, so keep an eye on the series page for more.

Tiny Desk Contest hits the road

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest, the annual search for the next great undiscovered artist, entered its ninth year bigger than ever. The 2023 Contest winner Little Moon taped their very own Tiny Desk Concert at NPR’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. and embarked on a sold out eight-stop tour, celebrating with NPR Music fans in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Chicago and Houston.

Capital One, the 2023 Tiny Desk Contest presenting sponsor, and Guayaki Yerba Mate, the Contest’s supporting sponsor, aligned with every extension of the seven-month-long Contest, including joining the eight-stop Tiny Desk Contest On the Road tour, and saw high engagement:

  • 8.7M Impressions across radio
  • 7.3M Impressions across digital (+5.9M vs 2022)
  • +34% Increase in submissions versus 2022 (6,000 total)

Check out the full recap of the Tiny Desk Contest 2023 here.

NPR’s First-ever “Climate Week”

In October, NPR launched its first-ever “Climate Week: A Search for Solutions,” sharing stories on podcasts, broadcast shows and focused on the latest data and research about climate change, and how people, communities, and industries are working together to slow down and prevent further damage to communities around the world.

With its success this year, Climate Week will be an annual event that audiences can look forward to each fall. Interested in learning more about 2023? Explore all of the content here.

The most popular stories & episodes

Audiences not only tune in to NPR for award-winning news coverage, but they also engage with top-notch content across genres including arts & culture, lifestyle, business, science, history, comedy and more. Here are a few of the most popular stories & episodes audiences couldn’t stop consuming:

Podcast programming

NPR continued to be a leader in the podcast industry, with top podcasts in a range of categories, including two in the top 5 Up First and NPR News Now. In addition to daily news reporting, here are a few fan-favorite podcast episodes and series:

With 13M weekly users, features the latest stories of the day from across the country and around the world. Aside from news, here are some of the stories that kept audiences hooked in 2023:

You can see the full list of top stories from 2023 here.

New research from NPR Sponsorship

In November 2023, NPR & Edison Research released the annual Spoken Word Audio Report, delving into listening locations and spoken word audio consumption, examining habits at home, work, in-car, and other locations. For the fifth consecutive year, spoken word audio attained record high numbers in audience growth. Additional key findings include:

  • Spoken word listening at home has grown dramatically: Sixty percent of the total daily audio time spent with spoken word audio is at home, 24% in the car, 13% at work, and 3% at some other location.
  • Spoken Word listening in-car has shifted post-pandemic, but AM/FM radio remains on top with 62% of spoken word audio consumed by those in the U.S. age 13+ being AM/FM radio content, including over the air and streams.
  • For the first time ever, the mobile device is the primary way people listen to Spoken Word: 39% of spoken word audio consumed daily by those age 13+ in the U.S. is on a mobile device, followed by 35% on an AM/FM radio receiver.
  • Podcasts represent a large and growing share of spoken word listening: Podcasts now represent over one-third (36%) of time spent with spoken word audio.

To learn more, download the full report here, and check out the webinar replay here.

Sponsorship highlights for brands

For brands, understanding the impact and engagement of an audio campaign is key. With more tools at our disposal than ever, NPR Sponsorship’s dedicated to helping its sponsors measure the results of their investments.

In 2023, new tools for brand lift consistently showed strong impact for podcast sponsors. Average lift for 2023 podcast campaigns:

  • +10.3 in awareness
  • +11.0 in brand favor
  • +11.4 in intent
Check out a few success stories from 2023 sponsors Mass Mutual, Smartwool and Culturelle to understand what makes an NPR campaign thrive. And to listen to custom creative campaigns from 2023, check out American Cancer Society, Organic Valley and Deloitte.

Interested in what NPR sponsorship can do for your brand in 2024?

Let’s Talk

More from National Public Media

September 2023

Tiny Desk Contest Activates Millions Across On Air, Digital and In-Person

Sponsors joined Tiny Desk Contest on the road, bringing engaging on-site activations to each of the eight tour stops and connecting with NPR fans across platforms.

May 2023

NPR at the 2023 IAB Podcast Upfront

This May, NPR returned to the stage at the 2023 IAB Podcast Upfront, showcasing new programming, new hosts and why NPR is a trusted and brand safe media partner.

April 2023

When NPR Speaks, Listeners Pay Attention

A new study from NPR's Audience Insights team measured listeners’ habits against other forms of media. The results reveal NPR holds more attention than TV.