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Jacobs: Public Radio Listeners Are the Best Educated on the Planet.

February 28, 2011

Jacobs Media and the Public Radio Program Directors Association have released the results from their latest national web poll survey. The poll consisted of over 21,000 respondents from more than 40 public radio stations across the U.S. This is the third year the survey has been done by the two groups.  Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs says theres been a lot written and said about how new technology impacts old media. Our findings clearly show how the smartphone continues to be the hot item, led by the Apple iPhone.

Jacobs says the biggest surprise was just how fast some of the most traditional Public Radio listeners are catching up.  "Take Classical fans - the oldest, most loyal to these stations.  Half of THEM have profiles on social networking sites.  A quarter of them text at least weekly. And more than a fifth have a smartphone. These are all listeners from email clubs and/or membership databases. But more of them are online 8 hours a day or more than listen to the radio 8 hours a day or more.  This speaks volume about how the Internet has eclipsed everything."

The report reveals that eight in ten public radio listeners have a college degree and nearly half hold a graduate degree. "Public radio listeners have to be the best educated on the planet" the report says. That might just get the ire up of a few commercial broadcasters out there.

Jacobs says the education data is fascinating and pretty much identical to what we've seen in past years. "When you compare our Public Radio listeners to what we see in our Rock study (and I would submit that because we're dealing with Rock radio listeners from under 18 to over 65, they're pretty representative of the radio universe as a whole), the differences are stark. Overall, more than 8 in 10 respondents have a bachelor's degree (or more).  Nearly half have earned an advanced degree. Compare that to our most recent Rock Tech Survey, where only a third have a bachelor's degree or better. Thus, my conclusion that they're the most educated radio listeners on the planet.

The study also says a quarter of public radio listeners use Pandora every month or more.

Here are the additional findings from the study...
- More than one-third own a smartphone, up 29% from last years study. The top choice? The iPhone
- Nearly two-thirds now have a profile. Facebook and LinkedIn are the big gainers, MySpaces decreased.
- Four in ten listen to streaming audio at least weekly, up 17% from last years survey.
- Six of every ten say they have downloaded and listened to a podcast.
- More than four in ten participants text weekly or more.
- More than one in ten owns an eReader, such as a Kindle or Nook.
- 6% have already purchased an iPad.
- HD Radio ownership continues to rise. Overall, 6% say they have an HD Radio, up 22% from last year.
- Satellite radio has plateaued at 13%, similar to PRTS2 levels.

The survey was was conducted in November 2010. The report says the study was "a web-based survey, and cannot replicate all radio listeners or all public radio listeners. As with all Internet-based research studies of this kind, the results reflect only those who chose to participate in the survey, and do not necessarily represent the views of all public radio listeners in the country. Still, the diverse radio stations that invited their listeners to take the survey are a broad cross-section of the public radio community, from large and small markets".

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