I love digging in to GfK MRI's Survey of the American Consumer. This exhaustive study asks almost anything you might want to know about individuals' buying habits, attitudes, and media usage. The recent surveys have included an interesting question about media use. Respondents are asked to select attributes that describe the major types of media – TV, radio, Internet, magazines, and newspapers. Attributes include being a good source of learning, a good escape, relaxes me, and so on. Looking at how NPR listeners answer this question reveals the unique way that our listeners interact with radio versus television. NPR listeners don't listen to the radio any more than the average (index 97), but they have very different attitudes about it. NPR's audience is much more likely to describe radio as a good source of learning, trusted, makes me think, gives me good ideas, and keeps me informed. NPR listeners don't disregard TV completely, but they do watch less than the average American (index 70). They give TV a distinct place in their media mix – they turn to it specifically for entertainment, escape and relaxation.
Susan Leland is the Research Manager for NPR's Corporate Sponsorship and Development.