Thursday, March 17, 2016


Today we have estimated results for five of the best noncommercial radio markets in the nation. We are showing Nielsen Audio PPM Weekly Cumulative Listener data for February 2016 and February 2015 and the changes over the year. Not all subscribing stations are shown because RRC is finalizing paperwork with some clients due to RRC new four-year deal with Nielsen.

Commercial broadcasters are noticing the increased listening to NPR News stations during the current election cycle. TomTaylorNOW [link] is posting a series of stories in his newsletter about big gains by NPR News stations in the most recent PPM ratings. Here is a sample quote from Tuesday 3/15:  

This presidential election season is tearing up the rule book, and it may be that listeners are turning to public radio more (and longer) for the latest.

Of course, public radio folks have known about this trend for some time.  It is usually followed by a theory “how to keep these listeners coming back after the election season.”

Nielsen Audio PPM results in five markets we have today proves that the “politics bump” may be happening. Six of the seven NPR News stations in the five markets are up, some substantially.

However there may be more than politics at play in Boston.  Estimated weekly listeners to WBUR are up 22% over 2015 and WGBH is up 20%.  These two stations are locked in an epic head-to-head battle that has boosted listening to both stations. The competition has added excitement and encouraged programming excellence at both stations.

Meanwhile, there is good news for Classical radio folks. Four of the five major Classical stations have gained weekly listeners over the past.  KVOD in Denver leads the way with 31% more listeners.

Scroll down to see all five markets and more analysis.


WCRB had a terrific February book. And it is nice to things turn around at WUMB.  WERS has been down in several recent PPM reports. It is nice to see WUMB on an upswing.

WAMU is likely another beneficiary of the “politics boost” increasing their one-year listeners by around 21%.

 Denver-Boulder is probably my favorite noncom radio market. This is the final book for KUNC as a dual format station.   

As of February 29, 2016 KUNC split into two stations: KUNC is now mainly NPR News and the new 105.5, using the call letters KJAC, is Triple A The Colorado Sound.

In Minneapolis-St. Paul KNOW, 89.3 The Current and Jazz KBEM are each up an estimated 15%.  KSJN is the only Classical station in these five markets to loose weekly listeners.

Uncertainty rules in Seattle-Tacoma. KPLU has “sort of” been sold to KUOW but there is uncertainty about what will happen next.  Longtime KUOW PD Jeff Hansen has left KUOW. Triple A KEXP stumbled and Northwest Public Radio’s classical repeater is making an impact.

© Radio Research Consortium, Inc. // //
These data are provided for use by Nielsen Audio subscribers ONLY, in accordance with
RRC's limited license with Nielsen Audio.
Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 12+ (Diary markets)
Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 6+ (PPM markets)
Data Copyright Nielsen Audio.
Format designations are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC.

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