One of the more compelling success stories for NPR is the growth of its broadcast audience from its member stations.
Given the backdrop over the past decade of an increasingly fractured news media environment, the audience growth shown across the top markets is no small thing. Take a quick review of Pew's excellent State of the News Media report and you'll see many storylines highlighting the decline of news audiences for TV, Newspaper, and Magazines.
The chart below shows the growth of the total weekly audience for NPR Newsmagazine stations (thereby excluding music-only stations). To view the chart in more detail, click on Menu in the left hand corner, then select view fullscreen.
Over the past decade, the total broadcast audience has grown by 51%. And for radio geeks, much of this growth was generated before the launch of the PPM and without a PPM-bump enjoyed by many commercial music stations. Instead, this growth was driven mostly by major news events. The chart demonstrates the importance of major news events in driving audience growth as well as the ability of NPR member stations to retain most of those gains.
Ben Robins is the Research Manager for NPR Programming