Jacobs Media, in partnership with the Public Radio Program Directors Association (PPRD), has released results from the fourth annual Public Radio Tech Survey (aka PRTS4). Jacobs polled over 30,000 respondants from 49 Public Radio stations around the country and will present the full report at the 25th annual Public Radio Programmers conference in Las Vegas this September.
While the most recent overall Jacobs Media Techsurvey8 found that radio listeners most like to hear their "favorite songs," Public Radio fans want information, as programs and hosts also play a significant role in driving AM/FM radio listening among core public radio listeners.
While slightly more than half (53 percent) of these core public radio listeners start their day listening to the radio – especially at home – one-fifth say that checking email is a popular "first destinations" for media consumption. Approximately one in ten reads a print newspaper or turns on the television to begin their media days.
In PRTS4, 85 percent of respondents are members of the stations that sent them the survey. Of this group, nearly half say they’ve been members for five years or less, indicating new listeners discovering and appreciating public radio’s programming offerings. These newer members are likelier to be younger and fans of public radio’s Triple A-style formats. Twenty-three percent said 3-5 years, while 21 percent said 6-10 years. The average age of respondants who had been members for less than five years just over 50 years old, while members for 6-10 years were an average of just over 58 years old. Members for 11 years or more averaged out to 63 years old.
When respondants were asked about their most-used news source, "this station" was the top response, followed by NPR news reports, NPR programs, the daily local paper and a national paper.
Four out of ten Public Radio fans do most of their radio listening in the car, while half are now able to listen to an MP3 player or smartphone through their car. Nearly one in ten surveyed has a vehicle with a "digital dashboard" in-car entertainment system.
Three in ten (30 percent) own a tablet, especially fans of public radio’s News and Triple A formatted stations. Among those who don’t own a tablet, nearly four in ten (37 percent) say they are very or somewhat likely buy one in 2012. While more than six in ten (63 percent) public radio listeners in PRTS4 have a profile on Facebook, nearly one-fifth (18 percent) now use Twitter – up 57 percent from the previous study. It’s the 18-34 year-olds that are most apt to follow a public radio station, host, or show on Twitter.
PRPD President Arthur Cohen stated "The ability to see our listeners' media usage in the context of the full range of radio audiences is critical to helping stations better target their resources in this ever-changing environment."
Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs adds, "The data from PRTS4 continue to point to the public radio audience rapidly using new media and gadgets in the pursuit of informing themselves. Station programmers and managers would do well to better understand the fast rate of adoption, and shape content offerings accordingly."