Respected researcher George Bailey, President of Walrus Research, has released a series of reports analyzing audience data from the early weeks of the Cornonavirus pandemic. The effects of mandatory closures and stay-at-home orders are evident in the March 2020 data set gathered from Neilson PPM markets. Out-of-home listening accross the country took an enormous hit as people's rountines were dramatically disrupted. While many stations have seen gains in digital audience, those gains are far outweighed by the losses to traditional in-car listening. However, there is good news for public radio during this time of change. At-home listening has remained stable for NPR News stations and our core audience, those who spend the majority of their radio listening with us, are more loyal than ever. Losses in weekly cumulative audience are coming from the fringe listeners instead of our most ardent fans and supporters.
Here is George's analysis of both News/Info stations and Classical stations.
Also, George wrote an excellent article for Current that delivers a lot of context to this analysis. You can find it here as well
Thanks to Walrus Research, Lori Kaplan at NPR, Steve Olson at Audience Research Analysis and Joanne Church at the Radio Research Consortium who helped generate the data and gave permission to publish it, and David Giovannoni, the designer of the AudiGraphics tools used in the report.