Arbitron Releases Public Radio Today Study
July 8, 2010

Arbitron has released "Public Radio Today, 2010 Edition," an analysis of audience demographics and listening patterns of the nine most popular public radio formats: News/Talk, News-Classical, Classical Music, News-Music, Adult Album Alternative (AAA), Jazz, News-Jazz, Variety Music and News-AAA.

"Public radio continues to be a vibrant and relevant part of many Americans’ lives," said Chris Meinhardt, Arbitron Inc. "The medium plays an important role in today’s media landscape by providing important programming not available anywhere else. Public radio is also meeting the challenges of a crowded media landscape by taking full advantage of technological innovations, including podcasting, Internet streaming and HD Radio multicasting."

Some of the highlights of the study include:

  • News/Talk captures nearly half of all public radio listening and remains the most-listened-to public radio format in the nation, with twelve more stations adopting the format in 2009.
  • News/Classical lost 13 stations nationwide (from 263 in 2008 to 250 in 2009) but increased its share by 1 percentage point from 20.2 in 2008 to 21.2 in 2009.
  • The addition of nine Classical stations, combined with a steady decline in the number of commercial Classical stations, increased from a 13.7 share in 2008 to 15.4 in 2010, the largest increase of any public radio format in 2009.
  • Formerly known as AAA/Eclectic, Adult Album Alternative (AAA) had 11 fewer stations in Fall 2009 compared to a year earlier, but its numbers are relatively stable.
  • Twenty-six new Variety Music stations helped boost the format from a 1.7 share to a 2.2 share of the public radio audience in 2009.
  • Thirty-nine stations that were formerly recognized as News, AAA or News-Music are now classified as News-AAA.

Looking further in depth at the Triple A data from the study, the format made up 3.7 percent of the AQH share of all Public Radio listenership in the Fall of 2009. The format's cume was 1,793,000 among weekly listeners 12+. Broken down by gender, there is a 60/40 Male/Female split among 12+ listeners to Triple A. Also when broken down by age groups, 22 percent of listeners land in the 45-54 demo, with 20 percent in 25-34 and 20 percent in 55-64. Arbitron also found that while Triple A's age composition has shifted from year-to-year, it has a younger age profile than all other Public Radio formats.

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