For immediate release
September 24, 1999
NEW STUDY SHOWS THAT NPR HAS BECOME PRIMARY NEWS SOURCE FOR HEADLINES AND BREAKING NEWS
NPR Newsmagazine Study Finds Significant Audience Growth Potential
WASHINGTON, DC - A new study shows that National Public Radio® (NPR®) listeners increasingly rely on NPR as a primary news source for headlines and breaking news, as well as its trademark, in-depth news coverage. The 1999 NPR Newsmagazine Study also found that programs such as Morning Edition® with Bob Edwards and All Things Considered® are ripe for significant audience growth in the coming years. The year-long study by Denver-based Paragon Research included focus-group research, auditorium testing and a phone survey of NPR listeners and non-listeners in eight U.S. markets. It was developed by NPR with input from an advisory group of 14 NPR member stations.
Among NPR listeners, eight in ten participants cited NPR as “a reliable source for late-breaking news stories.” Nine in ten listeners believe that NPR news is “better quality than other news sources.” The study revealed strong listener loyalty to NPR newsmagazines, plus very high regard for NPR hosts and journalists -- nine in ten listeners said that they “trust NPR's journalists.” NPR listeners especially appreciate NPR's headlines, in-depth coverage, political news, international segments and science/technology features.
The study found that the current content of NPR newsmagazines (Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and their weekend counterparts Weekend Edition Saturday®, Weekend Edition Sunday® and Weekend All Things Considered®) held strong appeal for non-listeners - upon hearing NPR segments during the study, two-thirds said they would listen in the future. They ranked headlines, in-depth coverage, international news and medical/health stories as the content they preferred.
“NPR newsmagazines occupy a unique space in the American dialogue, providing engaging news coverage that sets the standard for journalistic excellence,” says Kevin Klose, President and CEO of NPR. “This research shows that NPR programs are strongly positioned for solid audience growth. We are expanding our outreach initiatives to bring this unparalleled programming to more Americans.”
Morning Edition will heighten its visibility beginning this fall, with a series of major public events in Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and other cities nationwide marking the program's 20th Anniversary in November. Morning Edition, carried on 531 U.S. stations, draws public radio's largest U.S. audience -- the weekly cume is up 7% in the past Arbitron survey year to 8.8 million.
NPR audience numbers have attained unprecedented heights. 15% of Americans listened to NPR regularly in 1998, up from 5% in 1990 (Pew Research News Consumption Survey, 1998). In Fall 1998, 14.6 million Americans per week listened to NPR programs, up from 13.9 million in Fall 1997 (Arbitron). 524 U.S. stations air All Things Considered, whose audience rose 6% in one year to 8.3 million in Fall 1998. The program, which is hosted by Noah Adams, Robert Siegel and Linda Wertheimer, began airing in 1971. All Things Considered offers incisive coverage of the day's events, newsmaker interviews, and signature NPR commentators. NPR's weekend newsmagazines also gained U.S. listeners according to the Arbitron survey. Weekend Edition Saturday, hosted by Scott Simon and heard on 498 stations, achieved audience gains of 6%. Weekend All Things Considered, carried on 454 stations, grew by 13%. A membership organization of 619 public radio stations across America, NPR is radio's leading provider of high-quality news, information and cultural programming. NPR is the producer and distributor of such noted programs as Talk of the Nation®, Car Talk® and Jazz Profiles®. NPR Onlinesm , at www.npr.org, was launched in 1994. The Web site brings hourly newscasts and NPR features and commentaries to Internet users through audio streaming. Visitors to NPR Online read nearly one million pages and listen to 250,000 audio files on the Web site each week.
NPR programming has been available overseas since 1993. NPR Worldwidesm, NPR's steadily-growing international service which expanded into its 41st country in 1999, is available via 140 radio stations, and to 32 million satellite and cable households overseas. NPR Worldwide delivers public radio programs to radio, satellite and cable listeners in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, and to military installations overseas via Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.