Friday, November 3, 2017


Data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM estimates for October 2017 continue to arrive. From what we have seen so far, more than half of 19 stations (58%) have increased their estimated weekly listeners by more than 3% when comparing October 2016 and October 2017.

Another 26% of the NPR News/Talk stations we have viewed, weekly listeners are about the same – plus of minus 3%. Only three of the 19 stations (16%) lost more than 3% of their estimated weekly listeners in the past year.

The findings are significant because before the 2016 election, NPR News/Talk stations typically saw weekly listeners decline by 15% - 20% after hubbub of election dies down. 

This time the results are different, signaling that many stations have exceeded their October 2016 estimates.  Some of the stations appear to be adding new weekly listeners a year after the 2016 election.

Before making any sweeping statements, keep in mind that data for two-thirds of the PPM stations have yet to be reviewed. We will be crunching the numbers this weekend and will have more to report next week.

The chart on the right shows six of the 19 stations that have added more than 10% new weekly listeners since October 2016. 

It is good the see the listener growth at all them but it is a treat to see major gains at WBEZ.  In the past we have reported on WBEZ’s anemic ratings performance [link]

Recently WBEZ brought in a new PD to get things going in the right direction.

The next chart on the right shows three of 19 stations that had the biggest losses of estimated weekly listeners. 

KUNC competes from just outside the Denver metro so there might be sample-size issues that cause the variance.

The biggest surprise is the loss of weekly listeners by WAMU, the defacto flagship for the NPR News network. Perhaps commercial competitor WTOP made changes that caused them to move back above WAMU. Or, consider the theory that WAMU and NPR have “topped out” in the District. We will be watching the next few books to see if a trend emerges.

Next, here is data for my five favorite noncom markets.

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