2017: A Record-breaking Year for NPR on the Radio

January 2018

Audio is a thriving medium today. People spend an average of four hours per day listening to audio programming [1]. Spoken word radio listening is up 17% YOY [2]. Monthly podcast listening is up 71% since 2012 [1].

And while advancements in technology have enabled the rise of new audio distribution platforms – from smart phones to smart speakers – AM/FM radio remains the primary channel for audio consumption, accounting for 51% of all time spent with audio [3]. According to eMarketer, the average American adult spends 1h 26m with broadcast radio daily, more than double the time spent with social media, which clocks in at 51m per day. 

At NPR, broadcast remains the most common way for audiences to connect with us throughout the week. And the latest Nielsen ratings confirmed NPR’s radio tune in is not just maintaining, it’s growing alongside our digital and experiential offerings. Growing at a rate that far outpaces more measured growth in its commercial news counterparts.  

37 Million Weekly NPR Stations Listeners

As of this year, programming on NPR stations now reaches 37M listeners weekly in broadcast with growth across news and culture programs, among Millennial and Gen X audiences, and among a greater diversity of listeners [4].

NPR Shows Achieve Record-Breaking Weekly Listenership

NPR’s two flagship programs – already the two most listened-to drive-time radio shows in the country – reached all-time-highs for weekly audience. Morning Edition now reaches 14.63M weekly listeners. All Things Considered hit 14.60M. And November 2017 represents the 24th consecutive month of YOY growth for All Things Considered among listeners A25-54 [4].

All Things Considered and Morning Edition saw YOY increases in weekday listenership of 10% and 8% respectively (cume growth, Spring 2016 – Spring 2017)

From NPR’s essential news magazines to culture shows, programs across genres have seen tremendous audience increases this year. Top highlights include:

Attracting a Younger, More Diverse Audience

NPR is also seeing major growth in younger audiences, particularly listeners A25-44. Year over year, listening among people A25-34 and A35-44 is up 17% and 16%, respectively [4]. And this demographic is eager to access NPR whenever, wherever. Gen Xers lead NPR users in cross-platform engagement between broadcast and digital platforms.

And as NPR continues to grow its Millennial and Gen X audience, it’s seeing increased diverse audiences as well. Morning Edition saw a 10% gain in Hispanic listeners and a 16% gain Black/African American listeners YOY. All Things Considered saw similar increases at 9% and 18% respectively [4].

1 Edison Research, Share of Ear, 2016, the Podcast Consumer 2017. 2 The Infinite Dial © 2017 Edison Research and Triton Digital. 3 Edison Research, Share of Ear 2017. 4 ACT 1 based on Nielsen Audio Nationwide, © 2017 The Nielsen Company. 5 Lightspeed Research, State of Sponsorship Survey, March 2017. % Agree or strongly agree among Morning Edition/All Things Considered weekly listeners, n=500. 6 NPR, October 2017 Audience Paths Research



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