Friday, January 20, 2017


Numerous news outlets are reporting that the incoming Trump administration will be pushing to “privatize” the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The proposal is part of massive cuts that include eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

According to a report in Current [link], Trump and Republican congressional leaders are following a plan created by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. The Heritage plan is called Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017. The 180 page document can be downloaded at [link].


First, I want to acknowledge and thank the Radio Research Consortium (RRC) for making Nielsen Audio ratings information available to public media. For over three decades RRC has played the crucial role by distributing Arbitron and Nielsen data.

One task performed by RRC is aggregating listening data in Diary markets to provide totals for each primary station. The raw Nielsen Diary data displays listening to specific call letters regardless of whether the station is a repeater or the primary program source.

For example, raw Nielsen Audio data lists around 30 noncom stations in the Des Moines metro. Only four originate programming; the rest are repeaters. RRC crunches the numbers to reflect listening to primary stations and repeaters of that specific station. This aggregated data is what SPARK! uses for its posts. RRC’s efforts are very much appreciated.

Speaking of Des Moines, dual-format WOI-FM, flagship of Iowa Public Radio’s (IPR) Studio One program stream keeps gaining momentum. Studio One combines NPR Newsmagazines and blocks of Triple A music.  Here is a question for IPR: What is the problem with your Classical programming? It is underperforming Classical outlets in similar size markets.

In Madison, Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) does things “the Wisconsin way.” This includes the Ideas Network, originating from WHA-AM. Ideas features wall-to-wall talk and interview programs but no NPR Newsmagazines. The ratings show that Ideas has lots of listeners.  Grassroots station WORT and College Rock WSUM do not subscribe to Nielsen but likely have significant listening.

Spokane is great noncom media city. All three local NPR News shops posted notable gains in estimated weekly listeners in Fall 2016 compared to Fall 2015. KPBZ is only station we know of in a rated market that airs PRX Remix 24/7. Classical music KAGU does not subscribe to Nielsen but likely have significant listening.

NPR News and Classical WFCR probably has more listeners outside of Springfield than in the home metro. According to Nielsen Audio, WFCR had 43.700 estimated weekly listeners in the Hartford metro, a PPM market. WFCR also has listening in at least three other markets.

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