Public Radio Audience Grows

Public radio has long attracted consumers interested in listening to specific types of music, reporting and limited advertising.  This radio format reaches over 5% of younger audiences (18–24) and nearly 20% of older audiences (55+). In addition, the percentage of consumers who listen to public radio increased from 11.8% in 2009 to 11.9% in 2010.

The demographic profile of the typical public radio listener is as follows:

  • Employed in managerial/​professional occupations: Skews higher than average
  • Home ownership rate: 79%
  • Median household income: $74,500

And these consumers are more likely than average to spend money on travel, home improvement and investments. Public radio listeners spend at higher than average rates on the following products and services.

  • Hotel/​motel stays for business
  • Domestic air travel for business
  • Car rental for business
  • Home improvement loans
  • Mutual fund purchases
  • 529 college savings plans

During the weekdays, the public radio audience peaks between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and reaches another high point between 4:00 p.m. and 5 p.m. In general, listeners prefer the news/​talk format (44.8%). But the news/​classical (21.2%) and classical music (15.4%) formats also draw respectable shares of this audience.

Marketers who want to reach a new group of consumers should consider underwriting a program on a public radio station during commuting hours.

[Source: Public Radio Today 2010 How American Listens to Radio. Arbitron. 2010. Web. 16 Aug. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.