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Audience Characteristics

What Public Radio Listeners Think And Believe

Have you ever wondered who your fellow public radio listeners are, and how their values and attitudes are different from others you know? 

Each year, we analyze reams of data from Mediamark Research in order to answer this question.  While there’s still plenty we don’t know, here are a few core beliefs that have stood the test of time. Not all NPR station listeners share these values, of course, but they do tend to describe the audience in aggregate.

Engaged in Lifelong Learning.   Listeners’ dedication to public radio is indicative of a broader commitment to learning throughout their lives. The NPR audience reads and attends adult education courses at a much higher rate than the overall population. They are also 46% more likely to express an interest in theories, and 30% more likely to enjoy learning about art, culture, and history.

Environmentally Conscious.  NPR station listeners demonstrate a high level of environmental awareness, taking this concern into consideration when making life choices. Nearly 80% of listeners recycle, and they are significantly more likely than the average adult to believe that being in tune with nature is important.  NPR station listeners are also keenly interested in the environmental impact of their purchases.

Curious About the World.   Public radio listeners have a great curiosity about the world around them, and are more interested in experiencing other cultures than the average American. They are more likely to visit museums and travel outside of the country, and they have a greater interest in spending an extended amount of time outside of the U.S.

Interested in Social Responsibility.  Through their actions and ideology, NPR station listeners demonstrate a higher level of social consciousness than the rest of the U.S. population. More than three-fourths rate social responsibility as being “very important.” The NPR aud ence is also very likely to believe in the ideals of equal opportunity and working for the welfare of society.

Independent Thinkers.   In contrast to the population as a whole, listeners are more likely to have an iconoclastic streak. They are much less likely than the average American to look to tradition and faith as sources of information, and are less likely to place importance on what other individuals think of them. By and large, they enjoy trying new and different things, but are not motivated to do so by a sense of trendiness. 

Views on Religious Faith.   Most NPR station listeners do not believe in creationism or support prayer in public school.  Still, more than half of listeners (58%) say that religious faith is a “very important” influence in their lives, and they are more likely to contribute to religious organizations than the average American.


Vincent Lampone is Research Manager for Corporate Sponsorship and Development in NPR's Audience Insight & Research group.

 

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