Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Making Growing Audiences Laugh After 20 Years

February 2020
NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! celebrates its 1000th live show for a sold out audience in Salt Lake City, UT

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! — the show that celebrated its 1,000th episode and made its way into the Top 10 of Podtrac’s “Top 20 Podcasts” monthly ranking in 2019 continues to grow its audience and excite fans and sponsors across the nation after 20 years of weekly live broadcasts. A 24% bump in audience growth across the last three months of 2019 boosted the program onto the Podtrac charts, where it debuted as the ninth most popular podcast in the U.S. by audience size.

The weekly radio quiz show hosted by humorist and award-winning playwright Peter Sagal offers listeners a quick-witted, oddly informative, and highly entertaining way to digest the week’s news. In addition to audience quizzes with a panel of the best and brightest from the world of news and entertainment, Wait Wait hosts celebrity guests each week to participate in a segment called “Not My Job,” where Sagal asks guests such as Actor Jon Hamm about Spam, Weatherman Al Roker about Coldplay and NPR Correspondent Nina Totenberg about Tote Bags.

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! continues to innovate and attract new, younger listeners, with the majority of its audience making up the A25-44 demographic. What’s more, Wait Wait currently has the third largest audience base of any NPR podcast.

76% of Wait Wait listeners have a more positive opinion of businesses when they find out it supports NPR podcasts

Cross platform extensions are also fueling audience growth. The full Wait Wait show is available to listeners as a weekly podcast in addition to the regular radio broadcast, and an extension to smart speakers allows users to interact with the program. Across streaming services, Wait Wait experienced a 4% YOY increase. As NPR’s first ever built-in Amazon Alexa podcast skill, the “Wait Wait Quiz” allows users to interact with the Sagal on their Amazon Alexa smart speaker. It was selected as one of Amazon’s Top Alexa Skills of 2019, for its “commitment to delivering an engaging customer experience,” and has seen a 28% increase in usage since October 2019. 

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me Sponsorship Opportunities

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In addition to weekly live tapings in Chicago, IL, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! takes the show on the road to select markets nationwide throughout the year, with a sellout rate that’s grown to nearly 99% in FY20 thus far. From weekly shows at the Chase Bank Auditorium for 400+ audience members to road shows in front of thousands of attendees, Wait Wait consistently fills auditoriums and venues of all sizes. In 2019, Wait Wait hosted ten (10) live shows across the United States for over 66K attendees culminating in two back-to-back sold out performances celebrating its 1,000th live show in October. 

To learn more about Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and its sponsorship opportunities, contact NPR’s sponsorship team here.