Wednesday roundup: Pew releases annual media report, advocacy group protests renewal of WGBH license

• NPR’s monthly listenership hit an eight-year high in 2013 with an average of 27.3 million listeners each month, according to the State of the News Media study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, released Wednesday. NPR’s average monthly audience was up from 26 million in 2012. On public television, the weeknight broadcast audience for PBS NewsHour continued to slide, dropping 3 percent from 2012 to an average of 947,000 viewers. The average audience in 2012 was 977,000, down 8 percent from 2011, when the average audience was 1.06 million viewers. The Pew study also found that while legacy media, especially newspapers, continued to provide the bulk of content, audience for online news outlets continued to grow at a brisk pace.

Going to news has been done, but going up against WBUR …

Boston’s public radio landscape shifted Dec. 1 when WGBH moved all of its classical music programming to WCRB 99.5 FM and adopted a news/talk-dominated format for WGBH 89.7. The change, made possible by WGBH’s $14 million purchase of the commercial classical station from Nassau Broadcasting Partners, marks a strategic redirection for the Boston pubcaster that’s known throughout the world as the top producer of television programming for PBS. Its radio service, with a 100,000-watt signal extending far beyond Boston, had tried for decades to satisfy both music lovers and NPR news audiences. Like pubradio licensees in other major cities, WGBH now looks to super-serve both sets of listeners and attract new ones with two distinct formats.