For immediate release
March 19, 2002
NPR: Laura Gross
Jenny Lawhorn

NPR Programs Attract Record-Breaking Audiences Public Radio Listenership at All-Time High

WASHINGTON, DC - NPR® announced today that its programs have attracted record high audiences, with 19.5 million weekly listeners tuning in to NPR programming on public radio stations each week-a 19 percent increase compared with Fall 2000 figures. Arbitron's Nationwide estimates for Fall 2001 show an average gain of 19 percent for NPR newsmagazines, 32 percent for NPR talk programs and 15 percent for NPR entertainment programs.

"NPR listeners now outnumber the combined circulation of the top 35 U.S. daily newspapers," said Ken Stern, executive vice president for NPR. "This demonstrates that NPR is a leading source for news, information and entertainment in America. All this comes after 17 years of steady growth for NPR, and at a time when radio listening is declining and Americans have ever more media choices."

Public radio has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade. Today, one in seven Americans aged 25 or older listen to NPR member stations each week. The Fall 2001 Arbitron figures also reveal increased audiences for public radio in general-both NPR, local and other programming sources. NPR member stations now draw a record 28.7 million listeners-19 percent growth over Fall 2000.

Reflective of the intense news cycle following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., NPR's newsmagazines and talk programs increased audiences across the board. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2001, Morning Edition® with Bob Edwards jumped from 10.7 to 13 million listeners; All Things Considered® grew from 9.8 million to nearly 11.9 million; Talk of the Nation® rocketed 40.8 percent to 3 million listeners; Fresh Air® with Terry Gross grew 25.4 percent to nearly 4.2 million and The Diane Rehm Show grew 38.6 percent to nearly 1.4 million. Growth in the NPR news/talk audience outpaced similar gains realized by commercial news/talk radio.

Audience increases for NPR's entertainment programming included 32.6 percent gains for the "oddly informative" news quiz Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me!®, now heard by more than one million listeners each week, and 16.5 percent gains for Car Talk®, now heard by more than 3.7 million people each week.

"Put together, these gains show that listeners recognize NPR as an important source for in-depth reporting, news analysis, entertainment and insight into the world around us," said Stern. "This growth is one measure that NPR is fulfilling its mission to serve listeners with programming that is unique, relevant and high quality."

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of more than 16 million Americans each week via more than 640 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.