Jacobs Media's 6th Annual Public Radio Tech Survey Released
July 23, 2014

Six years of annual technology surveys on behalf of public radio stations throughout the U.S. has created an exciting narrative about the impact of digital media on broadcast radio. In Jacobs Media's PRTS6, in partnership with the Public Radio Program Directors Association (PRPD), radio listeners paint an amazing picture about the strength of public radio, as well as the opportunities and challenges presented by the digital revolution.

Arthur Cohen, President of PRPD, comments, "The survey results reinforce the strength of public radio's offerings - on our traditional platform (radio) as well as the many digital channels. Maintaining those core values in all we offer is an opportunity to remain of service to our communities, even as their media habits change."

And Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs notes, "PRTS6 points to the opportunities and challenges faced by public radio stations and the networks that provide its programming content. The audience's rapid migration to digital signifies the potential to satisfy their informational and entertainment needs on their preferred channels."

PRTS6 shows the following trends, impacting the entire public radio system:
The "why" of public radio: Credible programming, deeper news perspective, ongoing learning, and respect for the intelligence of the listener emerge as the four pillars of public radio's value proposition. Each is mentioned by more than seven of every ten respondents as main reasons for listening to public radio stations.

The trust factor: Three-fourths (75%) of PRTS6 respondents agree that public radio news efforts are not influenced by advertisers or sponsors - another indication that credibility and trust are core assets.

Streaming rising: Streaming - both audio and video - continues to grow at a rapid pace. On a weekly basis, six in ten (61%) access online video, while nearly half (49%) now stream audio every week.

The mobile revolution: Seven in ten (71%) PRTS6 respondents own a smartphone, while over half (56%) carry a tablet. And by far, Apple is the preferred platform of choice.

WOM: When it comes to recommendation, public radio stations are off the chart. Overall, the Net Promoter Score for public radio - which measures word of mouth - is an impressive 71 – significantly stronger than the NPS for commercial stations in Jacobs Media's Techsurvey10 – 43.

Cars, cars, cars: The "connected car" continues to play a more significant role for public radio. In this year's study, nearly six in ten public radio listeners (58%) are able to pair a phone or mp3 player in the vehicle they drive.

Socializing: Three-fourths (75%) of these public radio respondents have a social media profile, led by Facebook and LinkedIn. But these platforms vary considerably by public radio formats and individual station brands.

Twitter momentum: Of the most popular social media platforms, Twitter shows strong year to year growth. And one-third (33%) of Twitter users say they're using the platform more than they were one year ago.

Big news: More than a third (36%) of these public radio fans say they're increasingly accessing news from digital sources (websites, texts, etc.). 

Fred Jacobs will present PRTS6 key findings at the Public Radio Program Directors Convention in Portland, OR - September 9-11, as well as a special "stakeholders only" session for participants in PRTS6.

To register for the PRPD conference: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1548455

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Jon Zellner
EVP/Programming Operations

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