Public Radio Tech Survey 2018

Everything is changing and all of us are looking for tools as we try to keep up.

That’s why PRPD is excited to partner once again with Jacobs Media on Public Radio Techsurvey 2018 (PRTS 2018)

In recent years, PRTS has been instrumental in identifying trends in technology and helping public radio stations understand both the landscape contour and how to maneuver through it.

Why invest in PRTS 2018?  A year and a half ago, almost no one outside the bleeding edge adopter community and tech innovators was talking about smart speakers. Now, nearly 1 in 5 Americans have access to one. That’s a bold new doorway into peoples’ lives. What’s driving that rapid change and what does it mean for a public radio manager and their station?

The goal of these PRTS studies is to help public radio stations better understand the impact 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.  To better serve your audience and your underwriters, a firm understanding of the platforms, media, and gadgets they use is essential. PRTS 2018 will 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.

For the most part, public radio stations, specifically NPR News and Information stations, have experienced considerably higher ratings and, in some cases, record results. PRTS 2018 will drill down into the reasons for these increases, as well as explore how listeners feel moving forward.

PRTS 2018 goes into the field starting on April 30th. We’d like to invite you to be a stakeholder in this research. 

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 PRTS 2018.


What’s new for PRTS 2018?

In addition to all the trackable data that has been a part of every PRTS study, as well as exploring current events issues, the Jacobs team has important new questions planned for PRTS 2018.

Smart Speakers – How has your audience responded to the rapid rise of smart speakers (Amazon Echo and Google Home) and how are they using them?

Podcasting – This year’s study will go even deeper into podcasting, a vital topic for public radio.

Trump Bump/News Burnout? – We will also look at the effects of the 24/7 news cycle and if, or when, it leads listeners to engage more – or to tune out.


PRTS 2018 will carry forward many key threads from last year:

The state of giving and support – How has the needle moved in the last year?  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.

NPR One – We’re tracking the trend of this platform’s penetration and how your audience is using it.

The “connected car” – We’ll be looking at the in-car audience share of radio, satellite radio, apps, and other audio sources, as well as penetration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Radio’s enduring brand strength – We must keep our eye on the core business, so PRTS 2018 will continue to explore how the first year of the new administration has impacted listening and public radio interest.


The Details:

PRTS 2018 will be fielded between April 30 and May 25. 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 usage Pyramids for your audience, with a Media Pyramid focused on major activities (radio listening, streaming, podcasting), and a Brand Pyramid showing usage of specific brands like Netflix, SiriusXM, YouTube, and Pandora. Each Pyramid shows you the hierarchy for your local audience, allowing you to compare it to the national totals. The inclusion of generational profiles also helps you better understand how different audience segments are using media platforms and brands, 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 PRTS 2018 at the PRPD Conference in August in Austin, TX.

Again, the key to the success of this project depends on the inclusion of a wide range of stakeholder stations. We strongly encourage your station’s participation. Please also share this information with your colleagues.

There is no change in the fee structure since last year and we feel strongly that 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.

ACT NOW: Contact Lisa Riker ( at Jacobs Media to 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 27th.

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