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Public Radio’s Youth Listeners Grow

Arbitron study says news/talk/information accounts for more than half of all public radio listening

Public radio’s efforts to reach a younger audience are paying off and news/talk/information accounts for more than half of all public radio listening.

That’s according to Arbitron in its new “Public Radio Today” survey.

Public radio reached record numbers of men age 18–24 and 25–34 in spring 2012, and the medium reaches more than 17% of older men, according to the data.

The average quarter-hour (AQH) share hit 51.7% for public radio news and talk in fall 2012, up 2.7% from fall 2011. The format is most popular in the PPM markets but it’s the number one format in diary markets as well, according to Arbitron. “Listeners to this format are better educated and live in a greater number of high income households than the listeners to any other public or commercial radio format,” notes the audience research firm.

In an era of increasing media choices, time spent listening to public radio has held steady in recent years.

During the fall 2012 rating period covered by this year’s study, over 32 million people, about 12% of the 12+ population, listened to a public radio station in an average week. Some 1,247 rated radio stations (AM, FM, streamed and HD Radio) were evaluated.

Arbitron clients can access the full study at