Jacobs Media & PRPD’s 9th Annual Public Radio Tech Survey Released

The challenge of tracking public radio listeners -- as the media and technology world is roiled by change -- is the central purpose of the Public Radio Techsurveys. For the past nine years, the Public Radio Program Directors Association has partnered with Jacobs Media to produce research that guides the system’s programmers, marketers, and managers as they face a future filled with challenges and opportunities.

Some highlights of this year’s Public Radio Tech Survey include:

  1. There is continued public radio listening momentum. Overall radio listening remains strong, with about nine in ten (89%) respondents in the total sample reporting listening to broadcast radio one hour a day or more (compared to 88% in last year’s PRTS8 study).
  2. The core values are intact.
  3. The 2016 election has been a key driver to increased listening. Nearly four in ten (38%) agree the Presidential race and its outcome has led to an increase in their public radio consumption.
  4. Emotional reaction and news fatigue are having a small but important effect.
  5. Smartphone penetration is nearly ubiquitous. Across the entire sample, the mobile revolution kicks into an even higher gear.
  6. Digital listening is on the rise.
  7. TV on-demand is as popular as ever. Overall, more than half the sample own a “smart” or connected TV.
  8. Podcast usage continues to be robust. Almost half of PRTS9 respondents (47%) listen to podcasts or on-demand audio monthly or more often, with younger generations of listeners and News/Talk partisans indexing even higher.
  9. Millennials will continue to impact the public radio landscape. More so than older generations, Gen Y public radio listeners are more likely to access news from digital sources rather than radio.


Executive Summary