Jacobs Media & PRPD’s 8th Annual Public Radio Tech Survey Released

Over 29,000 public radio listeners from 69 stations participate in a survey that illustrates how media and technology are changing the listening environment

With eight years of tracking, Jacobs Media and PRPD’s research partnership has produced a powerful new study that builds on eight years of tracking to document the progress of the digital revolution and its impact on public radio.  PRTS8 vividly depicts a changing culture of media consumption that is impacting public radio listeners of all ages and reaches across every platform and device.

Here are some the highlights from this year’s Public Radio Techsurvey:

  • Public radio’s core values are intact – The foundation of public radio’s mission remains solid: learning, credible/objective programming, a deeper news perspective, respect for the listener’s intelligence, and a balanced perspective are all key drivers among a majority of the audience.
  • Strong recommendation scores – Every PRTS8 survey tracks public radio’s Net Promoter Score, a measure of recommendation.  This year, the NPS has increased to a 66, with higher scores among women and Millennials. This score ranks with the top performing brands across all categories and industries.
  • Sustaining membership rules – Overall, more than eight in ten respondents in PRTS8 are members to the stations that sent them the survey.  Of them, half are sustaining members, especially fans of News/Talk stations and Millennials.
  • Podcasting is robust – Overall, four in ten listen to podcasts/on-demand audio monthly or more often, particularly younger listeners and those who are News/Talk partisans.  And listening to podcasts has momentum, especially among GenY respondents.
  • The digital shift – More listeners are finding their favorite public radio content in the digital space.  Nearly one-fourth of public radio consumption now occurs on digital platforms (streaming, podcasts, etc.), an increase from last year. 
  • Social media matters – Nearly eight in ten of the PRTS8 public radio sample has a social media profile.  Of this large group, nine in ten are on Facebook.  And a majority log on at least daily.
  • The car’s the thing – Two-thirds of respondents can now connect a phone to their cars.  And a rising number owns a “connected car,” most of whom say they “love” or “like” their in-dash media system.
  • NPR One is showing growth – Among smartphone and tablet owners who download radio/music-centric apps, one in ten has accessed NPR One, especially Millennials.  More than a third of those with the NPR One apps use it weekly or more often.  More than eight in ten score the app “excellent” or “good.”

A mini-deck of PRTS8 highlights is available here.

Jody Evans, President of PRPD comments, “The partnership between Jacobs Media and PRPD is at the foundation of these studies. Our work together to provide the system with reliable data about the audience and their media and technology habits serves a guide for stations throughout the country.”

Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs notes, “Public radio fans exude a huge amount of loyalty and passion for their favorite stations.  But PRTS8 clearly shows how their use of digital platforms to access this content continues rising.  This compels programmers and managers in the system to continue providing high quality programming on the audience’s preferred outlets.”

PRTS8 data was gathered online from May 11-June 15, 2016. Overall, 69 public radio stations across the U.S. participated, contributing 29,406 respondents, most of whom are members of these station databases. PRPD partnered with Jacobs Media for this study, while NuVoodoo Media Services handled the backend responsibilities of the study. 

Executive Summary