PRPD is excited to once again partner with Jacobs Media to produce the next chapter in their national audience research studies – Public Radio Techsurvey9.  

As the saying goes, we’re living in exciting times.  And they are a changin’.  These studies have been instrumental in identifying trends in technology, and helping public radio stations big and small better understand the landscape and how to best maneuver it. 

I’ve spoken with Fred and Paul Jacobs ahead of this year’s survey.  In addition to the areas they normally research in these PRTS studies, this ninth annual project will go further than just identifying ways the audience is using technology.  It will dig deeper into the changes that are impacting the media and our country.

All in all, public radio stations – especially those in the news/talk world – have experienced considerably higher ratings – in some cases, record results.  PRTS9 will drill down into the reasons for these increases, as well as explore how listeners feel moving forward.

Given the questions about funding that are all over the news, there will also be questions related to giving and supportif, in fact, financial conditions change.  It is this type of “currency” that can help stations throughout the system get a better fix on their situations today – and how they might fare down the road. 

PRTS9 goes into the field starting on April 24th.  We’d like to invite you to be a stakeholder in this research. 

The goal of these PRTS studies is to help public radio stations better understand the impact all this change has on their operations, and help them strategically navigate the digital waters in order to maximize effectiveness, build strategies, communicate to staffs, and set priorities.

As discussed, media and technology are changing rapidly.  To better serve your audience and your underwriters, a firm understanding of the platforms, media, and gadgets they use is essential.   This research can help inform your content creation, as well as your budgeting process, and it’s the most comprehensive, trackable survey available to all public radio stations in the U.S.

We are very much in this together.  In order to produce a highly actionable, informed piece of research, we need the unified cooperation of many public radio stations across the country, representing the various formats, regions, and diversity that make our system so unique. 

If you’ve participated in one of the PRTS surveys in the past – or even last year – you might wonder whether perceptions and reality can change enough to warrant being a stakeholder station in PRTS9.  


So what’s new about this year’s study?  In addition to all the trackable data that has been a part of every PRTS study, as well as the “current events” issues already mentioned, the Jacobs team has important new questions planned for PRTS9.   The survey will take an even deeper dive into podcasting, a hot topic in the public radio system.  There will also be questions about “smart speakers” – Amazon Echo and Google Home – as well as headphone/earbud usage, streaming habits, and apps.  

We will also continue our question series about NPR One.  We’ll be able to trend the penetration of this platform, and how your audience is using it.

Of course, PRTS9 will also track the “connected car,” a big topic in radio.  We’ll be looking at the in-car audio share of radio, satellite radio, apps, and other audio sources, as well as penetration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

We know that listenership to the NPR news magazines is of paramount importance.  So PRTS9 will explore how the Presidential race and its aftermath have impacted listening and public radio interest.   PRTS9 goes into the field shortly after President Trump’s first 100 days, so perceptions and behaviors are critical for public radio programmers understanding the new lay of the land. 

Increased participation from public radio stations suggests that we’re on the right track with the PRTS studies.  Last year, 69 public radio stations participateda very strong showing.  Combined, we gathered more than 29,000 responses, enabling the Jacobs team to provide essential trending information to provide additional perspective.  

This year, we’re including a very modest price increase ($50) for the larger markets, but a decrease for the smallest ones in the hope we can generate more penetration.  The PRTS studies remain one of the best deals in public radio.  

• $550 for PRPD members in markets 1-30
• $450 for PRPD members in markets 31-75
• $350 for PRPD members in markets 76+
• $750 for non-PRPD members 

Because the survey will be fielded in late April and May, stations whose fiscal year ends in June will have the option to either pay before or after the June 30th date.


The Details:

PRTS9 will be fielded between April 24 and May 19.  As usual, stakeholder stations can choose to launch the survey any time during that period.  As we have done in the past, the Jacobs team will work closely with your web/database person(s) to ensure this is a simple, turn-key procedure for you and your audience.  

As a stakeholder station, you will receive an array of information to help guide your understanding and decision-making: complete totals for the survey, your format, and your local audience, along with key demographic breakouts.  

Additionally, the Jacobs team will include two different Media Usage Pyramids for your audience – one focused on major activities (radio listening, streaming, podcasting), as well as a new Brand Pyramid that is focused on specific brands from Netflix, Sirius/XM, YouTube, and Pandora.  And of course their traditional Media Usage Pyramid, showing the hierarchy for your local audience, allowing you to compare it to the national totals, as well as generational profiles to help you better understand how different audience segments are using media, and specifically, your content.  

An executive summary will be presented via webinar upon analysis of the data.  It will be open to stakeholder stations and their entire staffs only.  We will then present an executive summary of PRTS9 at the PRPD Conference in August in Washington, D.C. 

When PRPD and Jacobs Media introduced PRTS to public radio in 2008, we knew these studies would have a significant impact. But as we enter the ninth year, it’s important to emphasize that the success of this project depends on the inclusion of a wide range of stakeholder stations. Public radio has become reliant on these studies, and the only way to ensure that they continue is to encourage participation, as well as to ask you to share this email with your colleagues.  


We need your station's commitment as soon as possible.  

ACT NOW:  Contact Lisa Riker ( at Jacobs Medito secure your participation or you can register online by clicking on the link below:


Jacobs Media handles all survey development and hosting details, along with communication with local station marketing, programming, and or web personnel.  Please contact us no later than Friday, April 21st.


If you have any questions, please call Jacobs Media - 248-353-9030.