Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Lots of folks have noticed that News and Talk stations of all types are experiencing a bump in Nielsen Audio PPM ratings for January 2017.  Typically, listening estimates tend to go down after a national election.  Not this time.

The volatile political developments surrounding President Trump’s election and inauguration continue to be on the minds of listeners. According to Nielsen Audio estimates, the News-Talk format is seeing its best numbers since just before the 2012 election.  Some NPR News stations are setting all-time records.

The trend may continue for a while. President Trump seems to like confrontation and there is no sign he will change his ways.

The January PPM survey period was from January 5 to February 1. News-Talk stations were up in all age-cohorts. Perhaps the most notable jump was the record high AQH shares for listeners ages 18–34. Most other formats dropped in 18-34 listening. Nielsen’s News-Talk cohort includes commercial news and talk stations plus noncom NPR News stations.

Today we are looking a estimates for five PPM markets: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Portland and Seattle-Tacoma. Six of the seven NPR News stations in these markets increased their number of weekly cumulative listeners between Winter 2016 and January 2017. The estimated number of weekly listeners was up over 20% for WRAS in Atlanta, KUT in Austin and WYPR and WAMU in Baltimore.  The only station that had a decline in weekly listeners is dual-format KNKX, Seattle.

Speaking of Sea-Tac, perhaps the honeymoon period for KNKX is over.  Without seeing hour-by-hour data it is impossible to say whether the losses were greater for News listeners or Jazz listeners. Triple A KEXP added weekly listeners, as did Classical KTVI, a repeater of Northwest Public Radio’s classical channel based in Pullman.

WRAS in Atlanta is an amazing success story. They have gained weekly listeners in almost every survey since they began around two years ago. WRAS is Georgia Public Broadcasting’s news flagship even though it only airs news programming 17 hours a day. Elsewhere in Hotlanta, Jazz WCRK and CCM WVFJ were also up.

The January book likely caused smiles at KUT and KUTX.  Both stations had sizable increases in estimated weekly listeners from Winter 2017 to January 2017.  No data is available for Classical KMFA. Alt-country, Americana, Rockabilly and bluegrass hometown gem KDRP made an infrequent appearance.

In Portland, Oregon, KOPB gained 30,000 estimated weekly listeners in the past year. Data for Jazz KMHD was not available.  The two CCM stations listed are repeaters of K-LOVE. Nice to see KBOO make an appearance in the Nielsen data.

NPR News is doing very, very well in Baltimore. Both hometown WYPR and DC’s WAMU gained weekly listeners.

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