How much progress has public radio made toward its goal of growing its audience by 50 percent by 2020? There are bright spots in the first follow-up to Station Resource Group's 2010 report that laid out aspirational goals and tactics for increasing the use, reach and diversity of public radio listenership, but also some set-backs.
"In 2010 more people tuned in a public radio station in a typical week and more people used public media’s online services than ever before," write Terry Clifford and Tom Thomas, SRG co-directors and co-authors of the CPB-backed research project. "But the amount of listening – the average audience at any one time – declined significantly, principally due to changes in measurement methodology. Compared to 2008, the percentage of Black listeners in the average audience declined and the percentage of Hispanic listeners grew." Download their first progress report here.
The switch to Arbitron's portable people meters make apples-to-apples ratings comparisons difficult, but in the top 30 metro markets where radio listening was measured by PPM in both fall 2009 and fall 2010, the average audience grew 5.2 percent to 559,100, a gain that exceeds the annual growth rate needed to meet the 10-year goal.