New NPR programs saw the biggest gains on public radio weekend schedules after stations dropped Car Talk en masse last fall.
A Current analysis of the schedules of 51 public radio licensees that dropped Car Talk last fall found that stations filled nearly one-quarter of the time slots vacated by the show with another weekend staple, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! — in most cases by moving the show into Car Talk’s slot. We focused on these licensees because they either publicized the schedule changes in a press release or had archived schedule information on their websites that allowed for before-and-after comparisons.
The second- and third-place runner-ups were two NPR programs that debuted as Car Talk left schedules. It’s Been a Minute replaced Car Talk in seven time slots. Hidden Brain moved into six open slots.
Many stations that dropped Car Talk took the opportunity to revamp their weekend schedule while replacing the show. Again, NPR programs saw the biggest carriage gains. Planet Money/How I Built This gained about 18 percent of the hours in station schedules devoted to new shows. About 15 percent of the new hours went to It’s Been a Minute and about 12 percent to Hidden Brain.
The three shows account for about 45 percent of the new programs added to weekend schedules during the Car Talk shakeup. Thirty-one other programs were also added to the 51 station schedules during the change.
Planet Money/How I Built This now airs on 173 stations. Hidden Brain airs on 167 stations, and It’s Been a Minute is on 155 stations, according to NPR. Some stations dropped shows, but no national programs saw big losses among the 51 licensees.
NPR said in September 2017 that around 280 of the 400 stations then airing Car Talk would drop the show. Car Talk’s producers are continuing to provide Best of Car Talk episodes for stations that want to keep airing it.
Do you know of programming changes at a licensee not represented in our data? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know, and we’ll update our count.
|Station||Date Car Talk removed from schedule (2017)||Time aired||Programs filling former Car Talk slots||New programs added to weekend|
|Alabama Public Radio||9/30||10 a.m. Sat/Sun||It's Been a Minute (Sat), Wait Wait (Sun)||It's Been a Minute, The Moth, Wait Wait (additonal hour), Reveal|
|Arizona Public Media||10/1||10 a.m. Sat, 5 p.m. Sun||Only a Game (x2)|
|Boise State Public Radio||10/1||10 a.m. Sat, 4 p.m. Sun||Wait Wait (Sat), It's Been A Minute (Sun)||Hidden Brain, Planet Money/How I Built This, Flyover, It's Been a Minute|
|Capital Public Radio||10/1||10 a.m. Sun||Hidden Brain||Hidden Brain|
|Colorado Public Radio||9/31||10 a.m. Sat, noon Sun||TED Radio Hour (Sat), Fresh Air Weekend (Sun)||Second airings of Radiolab and TED Radio Hour|
|High Plains Public Radio||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||Mountain Stage||Mountain Stage (two hours)|
|KANW||9/30||3 p.m. Sat||Ask Me Another||New Yorker Radio Hour|
|KERA||10/8||2 p.m. Sun||Ask Me Another||Ask Me Another (second airing)|
|Nevada Public Radio||10/1||4 p.m. Sat, 8 p.m. Sun||Hidden Brain (Sat); It's Been a Minute (Sun)||It's Been a Minute (two hours), Ask Me Another (two hours) Planet Money/How I Built This, Hidden Brain|
|KOSU||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||Freakonomics||Freakonomics, New Yorker Radio Hour, Ask Me Another, Planet Money/How I Built This|
|KPBS||9/24||2 p.m. Sun||This American Life||Flyover|
|KQED||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||New Yorker Radio Hour||Planet Money/How I Built This|
|KRCC||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Planet Money/How I Built This|
|KRCU||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||It's Been A Minute||It's Been A Minute, American Routes (two hours), Planet Money/How I Built This, Hidden Brain|
|KSMU||10/1||noon Sat, 6 p.m. Sun||Fresh Air Weekend (Sat), Live From Here (Sun)||Planet Money/How I Built This (two airings)|
|KTEP||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Planet Money/How I Built This|
|KTNA||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Travel with Rick Steves||Travel with Rick Steves|
|KTTZ||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Planet Money/How I Built This|
|KUHF||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||Planet Money/How I Built This||Planet Money/How I Built This, Intelligence Squared|
|KUT||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||Weekend Edition (extra hour)||Only A Game, Weekend Edition Saturday (extra hour), BBC World Service (two hours)|
|KWIT||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||Ask Me Another||Ask Me Another|
|Nashville Public Radio||10/1||9 a.m. Sat, 5 p.m. Sun||Wait Wait (Sat), Planet Money/How I Built This (Sun)||More Perfect, It's Been a Minute, Hidden Brain, Planet Money/How I Built This|
|New England Public Radio||9/30||11 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Says You|
|OPB||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Planet Money/How I Built This||Planet Money/How I Built This|
|Prairie Public Radio||10/7||9 a.m. Sat||A Way With Words||A Way With Words, Planet Money/How I Built This|
|St. Louis Public Radio||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Snap Judgment||Live From Here (two hours)|
|Vermont Public Radio||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||It's Been a Minute||It's Been a Minute, Reveal|
|WAMC||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||New Yorker Radio Hour||New Yorker Radio Hour|
|WAMU||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Weekend Edition||Weekend Edition (extra hour), It's Been a Minute|
|WBFO||9/24||6 a.m., 10 a.m. Sat, 11 a.m. Sun||Marketplace Weekend, Planet Money/How I Built This, TED Radio Hour||Marketplace Weekend, Planet Money/How I Built This, Travel With Rick Steves|
|WCVE||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Freakonomics||Freakonomics|
|WEOS||10/1||10 a.m. Sat, 11 a.m. Sun||Wait Wait (Sat and Sun)||Hidden Brain (two airings)|
|WFIU||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Hidden Brain||Hidden Brain|
|WFPL||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Hidden Brain||Hidden Brain, On Being (second airing), Travel with Rick Steves (second airing)|
|WFYI||9/30||11 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Planet Money/How I Built This, Ask Me Another, It's Been A Minute, The Pulse|
|WHQR||10/1||10 a.m. Sat, 1 p.m. Sun||TED Radio Hour (Sat), Bullseye (Sun)||TED Radio Hour, Reveal|
|WILL-AM||10/1||9 a.m. Sat, 11 a.m. Sun||Splendid Table (Sat), Says You (Sun)||Splendid Table, It's Been a Minute|
|Wisconsin Public Radio||10/1||11 a.m. Sun||Bullseye||Bullseye|
|WJCT||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Planet Money/How I Built This, Freakonomics|
|WKAR||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Wait Wait|
|WLRN||10/7||10 a.m. Sat||New Yorker Radio Hour||Snap Judgment|
|WNIN||9/30||9 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||Ask Me Another (second airing), It's Been a Minute (two airings), Planet Money/How I Built This (two airings), Inflection Point, A Way With Words, TED Radio Hour (second airing), Beat Latino|
|WNPR||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||It's Been a Minute||BBC NewsHour Extra, It's Been a Minute|
|WOSU||9/30||1 p.m. Sat||This American Life||Milk Street Radio, It's Been a Minute|
|WRVO||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Hidden Brain||Hidden Brain|
|WUIS||10/1||1 p.m. Sun||Planet Money/How I Built This||Planet Money/How I Built This|
|WUWM||10/1||11 a.m. Sun||Hidden Brain||Hidden Brain, It's Been a Minute|
|WVXU||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||It's Been a Minute||It's Been a Minute, New Yorker Radio Hour, Hidden Brain|
|WYPR||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Wait Wait||BBC World Service (four hours), Hidden Brain, It's Been a Minute|
|WYSO||9/30||10 a.m. Sat||Dinner Party Download (after cancellation, replaced with It's Been a Minute)||eTown, Dinner Party Download|
|WYSU||10/1||10 a.m. Sat, noon Sun||Wait Wait (Sat), Fresh Air Weekend||Freakonomics, New Yorker Radio Hour|