WAMU sees gains in black, Latino audience

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The black and Latino audience for WAMU in Washington, D.C., has grown substantially in the last four years, according to local publication the Washingtonian.

The station had about 45,000 African American and 49,000 Latino weekly listeners in 2014, according to the article, titled “Has WAMU Solved Public Radio’s Diversity Problem?” So far this year, that’s increased to about 106,000 for each ethnicity. Combined, the two groups represent about one-fourth of the station’s 1 million weekly listeners.

General Manager J.J. Yore was cautious about explaining the gains until he could see whether they are maintained over time. But the Washingtonian speculates that changes to the station’s sound could be part of the reason, such as more African-American voices on the air.

Alicia Montgomery, WAMU’s editorial director and former supervising senior producer of NPR’s Code Switch, told the magazine that the station is focused on boosting its digital audience and continuing to grow its nonwhite audience.

“It’s not just sort of a nice thing we should do because we’re good people,” she said.

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