For the past seven years Jacobs Media has conducted a Public Radio Tech Survey, in partnership with the Public Radio Program Directors Association. This year saw more than 19,000 people participate to reveal just where radio stands in the continuing digital revolution.
The growth of podcasting is one of the big things occurring in media, and radio listeners are flocking to it. Just shy of a quarter (23%) of listeners said they are listening to more on-demand content from public radio stations, with 44% of public radio listeners say they’ve listened to a podcast or on-demand audio within the last month; the number is 76% among millennials. Among the most popular podcasts are “This American Life,” “Serial” and “Fresh Air.” While on-demand and podcasts are on the rise, streaming platforms like Pandora and Spotify have not been able to overcome traditional public radio.
The ability to go mobile is also becoming a major factor with public radio, as 78% of participants own a smartphone, and 61% own a tablet. Many are using these mobile devices to listen to public radio, though, as apps like NPR One are used frequently and are ranked highly among those who have downloaded it.
At the end of the day, however, the root of what keeps people listening to public radio is what it has done since the beginning. Participants claim “it’s about learning, credibility and objectivity, and a deeper perspective into news that drives ongoing public radio usage.” One-third of people surveyed said that by 4 p.m. they are very informed about the big news of the day; younger fans, however, are more reliant on social media and national news websites. The ability to listen to radio in the car is also still a must, as nine in ten people in the market for a new car say an AM/FM radio is important.
To see the full results of PRTS7, click here.