Noncommercial news stations gain audience share, benefit from election bump

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Presidential election years are generally a boon to public radio news stations, but new audience data shows gains in listenership have continued into this year.

According to Nielsen, 66 noncommercial news-talk stations in Portable People Meter markets gained audience share from February 2016 to February 2017 at a faster pace than 205 commercial news stations.

The commercial stations saw no growth in audience share over the time period, while share for noncommercial news stations grew by 13 percent. The share of millennial listeners (ages 18–34) grew 22 percent for noncommercial stations, versus 5 percent for commercial news stations over the same time period.

The noncommercial stations are still trailing their commercial competitors in audience share — 4.3 percent, compared to 6.8 percent. But among millennials, noncommercial news stations have a larger share of overall listening, 2.8 percent to 2.2 percent.  

Meanwhile, the Radio Research Consortium has released data showing that the top 45 NPR news stations saw a 17 percent increase in annual average–quarter-hour listening from 2015 to 2016 and a 15 percent increase in weekly cume over the same time period.

RRC also found that on Election Day and the day after, the stations reached their largest cume audiences and AQH listening of the year. AQH listening those two days exceeded the fall 2016 average by 50 percent.

One thought on “Noncommercial news stations gain audience share, benefit from election bump

  1. I would have thought that commercial news (all news 24/7), news/talk (all-news during part of the day and talk the rest of the time), and all-talk stations would also have seen gains in listenership.

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