Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I recommend Tyler Falk’s article titled "NPR, stations credit audience gains to range of factors
" which appeared in the August 9th issue of Current [link]. Falk investigates possible causes of the increases in listening to NPR News stations. We have also reported on this trend but Falk has access to a lot more data than we do. The bottom-line is the same: NPR News listening is at all-time high levels. 

Falk and I have been reporting on stations in Nielsen Audio’s PPM markets. Today we are looking at a different group of full-time NPR News stations: Those located in Nielsen Audio’s Diary markets.  Most of these markets are measured twice a year in spring and fall. In some ways it is a “second opinion” on trends seen in PPM markets – a different methodology and a new group of stations.

The big news is that NPR News stations in the Spring 2016 Diary markets confirm what we have been seeing in PPM markets: NPR News is on a roll.

Today we are examining 43 full-time NPR News stations in medium and smaller size markets. The number of estimated weekly cumulative listeners was up for 68% of them compared to Spring 2015. In the charts below you will see that we have 40 primary stations with data for both Spring 2016 and Spring 2015. Of the 40, 27 increased weekly listeners and 13 (32%) declined.

Note: “Primary stations” means a single programming source (for instance Vermont Public Radio) – several signals with common programming. Also, some stations have measurable listening in more than one metro (for instance WSKG).  We have combined the number of estimated weekly listeners.  Please keep in mind that there may be some duplication of listeners.


 WUOM d/b/a Michigan Radio is the King of the Diary markets. We have combined the weekly listeners for two of their stations but there certainly are more. Michigan Radio also has full-time repeaters serving Flint and Saginaw/Bay City that are not included in our estimates. Then there is WUOM’s Big Enchilada: Detroit, a PPM market where they have even more listeners. Someday we will add up all the listeners to Michigan Radio when we can count that high.

Note that all of the top five five primary stations increased their number of weekly listeners in Spring 2016 when compared to Spring 2015.

The same pattern is repeated with stations ranking #6 - #15. Most of them increased weekly listeners with a couple of notable exceptions: KRCC had a 17% drop in weekly listeners when results for Colorado Springs and Pueblo combined.  Why? I am not sure but KRCC did make some major programming changes between Spring 2015 and 2016.

Another possible cause of KRCC's lost listeners might be the increased listening to repeaters of Colorado Public Radio's KCFR from Denver. KCFR has listening in three Colorado Diary markets. They gained listeners in all three.

Note that #19, KAZU was up 14%, likely a result of KUSP’s move to all music and eventual demise.

KUNC in Greeley also was up, no doubt because of the switch to 24/7 News after the debut of Triple A 105.5 The Colorado Sound.  Keep in mind that KUNC has many more listeners in the Denver metro that are reflected in PPM data.

Look at the nice “bump” at Peter Dominowski’s WBOI in Fort Wayne. Their Classical station, WBNI, was also up considerably.

Check out WEOS’ gains in Rochester and Syracuse.  WXXI operates WEOS via a local management agreement (LMA) and they appear to be doing something that people are noticing.  

 WCMU, KSFC and WBAA-AM also had nice gains. 

We can only speculate about what caused the 33% loss in weekly listeners at WVXU’s repeater WMUB in Dayton.  Maybe Neenah Ellis added some “secret sauce” at WYSO.

Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 12+
These data are provided for use by Nielsen subscribers ONLY,
in accordance with RRC's limited license with Nielsen Inc. Data Copyright Nielsen Inc. Format distinctions are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC.

1 comment:

  1. WEOS did indeed do something that listeners are noticing: in late 2013/early 2014 they moved from 89.7 to 89.5 (note that gets them off the same freq as WITR 89.7 in Henrietta/Rochester) increased power from 4000 to 6000 watts, and dropped the DA to go to an omnidirectional antenna.

    So where WEOS wasn't audible anywhere in the Rochester market except for a small sliver over western Ontario they can be heard all the way into southeastern Monroe county. In the car you can hear them almost into the Inner Loop of downtown Rochester proper.

    Worth noting: that's a region where WXXI's 1370AM news/talk signal does not cover well at night thanks to its directional pattern. And during the Spring Book measurement period, "night" can be as early as 5pm. So I'm sure a lot of WXXI listeners in that area are realizing they can get pretty much the same programming from WEOS instead.

    But really it's simply law of averages; they're able to be heard by a lot more potential Nielsen diary-holders these days. Well, that AND the overall increase of listening to NPR news/talk content, I'd imagine.