Twice a year, Arbitron releases national broadcast ratings. This provides radio networks across the US to see how the national shows are performing in terms of measured audience.
We recently released NPR’s Spring 2010 broadcast ratings from Arbitron. Little seemingly has changed since our update earlier this year. The Spring 2010 ratings showed that the weekly audience to NPR Stations has held steady over the past year at near record-high levels. On average, more than 27 million listeners tune into at least one NPR show such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered or the hourly NPR Newscasts. NPR produces or distributes at least 25 shows each week to its member stations and you can see the Spring 2010 audience ratings for the NPR produced shows on the table below.
Steady broadcast ratings are no bad thing. Public Radio’s reach is holding at near-record high levels, whereas much of the traditional news media is suffering from declining audience ratings which are widely documented and covered in detail each year by Pew's State of the News Media report. More recently, Pew also pointed out that declining ratings aren’t due to a lack of news appetite; in fact it’s the opposite – Americans are spending more time following the news; they're just getting more information on digital platforms. So far – and admittedly no one can predict the future in this space – the integration of new technologies has not appeared to have affected the national weekly audiences for NPR member stations and NPR Programming.
Ben Robins is the Research Manager for NPR Programming.