Report Highlights Top Public Radio Stations


The Media Audit FYI
July 2013

A new report highlighting the nation's top public radio stations reveals that Ann Arbor, Michigan's WUOM-FM ranks highest in 7-day cume listening. According to the study, 25.1% of Ann Arbor's metro area adult population has listened to the public radio station in the past 7 days, ranking the station as the number one highest ranked public radio station across The Media Audit's 80+ measured markets.  Ranking second is Northern California's KQED-FM, which has a rating of 18.8% with adults 18+ in the San Jose metro area, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota's KNOW-FM, which has a rating of 17.7% with adults 18+.  More than two hundred public radio stations were included in the report.

Ranking fourth is Portland, Maine's WMEA-FM, with a 17.3% 18+ rating, followed by Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina's WUNC-FM which has a 16.9% 7-day cume rating.

Public radio stations represent the largest number of non-commercial radio stations in the U.S. and in many cases they can be formidable competition for local advertising dollars.  Among one of the strengths of public radio is its ability to keep listeners coming back for more. According to The Media Audit's National Radio Format Report, Public Radio ranks as the third highest reaching radio format, with an estimated 22.5 million listeners across The Media Audit's measured markets. On average, 64% of those who listened to a public radio station in the past week also listen to the station more than any other station in the market.  The figure, when compared to other commercial radio formats, ranks Public Radio third highest in converting cume listeners to "most often" listeners, creating an opportunity for underwriters to garner greater frequency from an underwriting campaign.

July 2013 PR Top 10

Furthermore, many public radio stations are gaining ground in local website ratings, increasing the size of their total reach within a metro area.  According to the same report, Portland, Oregon's KOBP-FM ranks highest among public radio stations in website visitors, reaching 21.8% of the metro area over a 30 day period.   Salt Lake City, Utah's KBYU-FM ranks second, with 19.9% of the metro area's population having visited the station's website in the past 30 days, followed by San Francisco, California's KQED-FM (18.9% reach), KQED-FM in San Jose, California (18.5% reach), and Albany, New York's WMHT-FM (14.8% reach).

In San Jose, California, the addition of the station's past 30 day website visitors to the station's past 7-day listening audience results in a 28.6% total unduplicated reach for the combined radio and website audiences- the highest of any public radio station measured.  Portland, Oregon's KOBP-FM has the second highest unduplicated radio/web reach (27.4%), followed by Ann Arbor, Michigan's WUOM-FM (25.8%), KQED-FM in San Francisco, California (25.8%), and Salt Lake City, Utah's KBYU-FM (23.9%).

Intelligence from The Media Audit's National Radio Format Report also identifies the demographics of a typical public radio listener in addition to buying patterns. The report suggests many listeners who choose to listen to public radio most of the time are more likely to be wealthy consumers with active lifestyles. According to the report, those who listen to a public radio station most often are 67% more likely to earn $150,000 or more in household income, 55% more likely to have liquid assets of more than $250,000, and 80% more likely to be a business owner. Furthermore, those who listen to a public radio station most of the time are heavier consumers of foreign luxury vehicles (39% more likely to own), hotels (25% more likely to stay 10+ nights per year), and air travel (79% more likely to be heavy domestic air traveler, and 65% more likely to be a heavy foreign air traveler).

Surveys were conducted in 80 U.S. cities among more than 100,000 respondents. In addition to cume and "most often" listening, the study provides analysis of past 30 day website visitors, and the total unduplicated net reach of the radio and website audiences combined for each station measured.

A complete summary of the report will be made available at the upcoming Public Media Development & Marketing Conference July  11 - 13 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.