Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media Strategies [link] has released the Executive Summary and presentation slides of Public Radio Tech Survey 8 (PRTS 8). The results were presented last month at the PRPD Content Conference in Phoenix. You can download the complete info at [link].

I find these reports fascinating because they are “snapshots in time” of the changing media environment specifically by public radio listeners. I’ve included portions of the Jacobs’ key findings below along with several slides from the presentation.

BTW – I don’t know if anyone says thank you to Fred Jacobs for his important work.  Public radio is better because Jacobs Media is involved. I know Fred totally gets “the public radio sensibility” and we in the biz are grateful for his insight.

My own observations come from a chart I created from the Jacobs data that compares results of PRTS 8 by format, plus a breakout of millennial-age respondents.  First, here is my comparison chart:

My observations about PRTS include:

• Radio listening is still robust by respondents in all categories, even by folks of millennial-age. People are still listening to radio, particularly in vehicles. Keep in mind that most respondents who participate in PRTS 8 are recruited from station lists.

• Podcast listening is most often determined by the age of the respondent and the particular type of content they like. Of the three formats in PRTS 8 (there was not a breakout of Jazz listeners), news listener podcast usage far exceeds Triple A and Classical music listeners. Take a look at yesterday’s post showing Podtrac’s top ten podcasts.  I don’t see a music-based podcast on the list.  Perhaps the cost of music rights are prohibitive for many podcast producers.

• Is there more information about millennial-age folks and their relatively low use of SiriusXM satellite radio? Are millennials who aren’t public radio listeners also avoiding SiriusXM?

• Question for Fred Jacobs: The millennial portion of in-tab respondents is around 8% but millennials make up a much larger percentage of the total population.  Is the relatively low proportion of millennials included in PRTS 8 too low to be reliable?


 Jacobs Media Observation:

Across the entire sample, the mobile revolution kicks into an even higher gear. More than eight in ten (83%) respondents now own a smartphone; nearly two-thirds (64%) carry a tablet. Overall radio listening is up a tick. Nearly nine in ten (88%) listen to broadcast radio one hour a day or more often. In the new study survey, nearly one-fifth (18%) say they’re listening to more public radio in the past year, while only 7% indicate listening less.

Jacobs Media Observation:

The election is driving listening. Overall, one-fifth agree/agree strongly with the notion the Presidential race has led to an increase in public radio listening, especially fans of the News/Talk format, as well as Millennials. 

Jacobs Media Observation:

As is the case for all of broadcast radio, the car represents the top radio listening location, but “connected cars” provide options that are used often at broadcast radio’s expense.

Jacobs Media Observation:

In PRTS 8, 40% of respondents are News/Talk fans, while the composition of Triple A & Classical has increased.

Jacobs Media Observation:

Millennials are different. Gen Y public radio listeners are deep into podcasts, mobile phone usage, and social media connections. 
 More so than older generations, they are more likely to access news from digital sources rather than radio. They are also less likely to own a radio where they live. Millennials are most likely to interact with their favorite public radio station via podcasts and mobile apps. 

Jacobs Media Observation:

Public radio’s health is strong, but more and more consumption is moving to digital platforms. The core values are intact. For the total sample more than half say key drivers supporting public radio listenership include learning new things, credible and objective programming, a deeper news perspective, respect for the listener’s intelligence, and a balanced perspective.

This is my favorite slide of PRTS 8!

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