NPR says its radio broadcasts, podcasts, and digital reporting have all reached new heights in 2016. CEO Jarl Mohn says, “NPR’s increased ratings and digital engagement can be attributed to first-rate journalism, riveting storytelling, revamped newsmagazines, live reporting, and better user platforms.” Mohn added NPR is substantially outperforming commercial radio news operations. “Commercial news radio, which operates in the same news cycle and is affected by the same events, is up 15% percent in the morning, NPR is up 26%. In the afternoons, commercial news radio is up 19% in the top markets, NPR is up 43%.
Mohn says the increases confirm that there is a real appetite for factual reporting, and people are turning to NPR as their source for credible news. Here are more details according to an NPR press release:
The number of listeners for every NPR news, information, and talk program increased considerably this year. NPR’s flagship programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, broke broadcast audience records, particularly in the coveted 25-54 age demographic. All Things Considered hits an all-time weekly audience high of 13.3 million, and Morning Edition is at its second-highest at 13.5 million. In the 25-54 age demographic, Morning Edition grew by 26%, All Things Considered grew by 43%, Weekend Edition (Saturday) grew by 16%, Weekend Edition (Sunday) grew by 30%, and All Things Considered (Weekend) grew by 33%. The total weekly listeners for all NPR stations is about 36.6 million; weekly listeners for NPR programming and newscasts account for about 28.8 million of that total.
On the podcasting side, in the month of September, NPR’s combined podcasts had 63 million unique downloads, nearly double its closest publisher. Every new podcast launched by NPR in the last two years has reached #1 on the iTunes top ten ranking at the time of their launch, and then stayed in the top ten for weeks. The NPR Politics Podcast, which launched in 2015, most recently took over the #1 spot on the iTunes charts. The Politics Podcast, which has averaged about 450,000 downloads a week over the last three months, reached 1,118,000 downloads during the first week of October. Starting October 25, the NPR Politics Podcast will be releasing a new episode every day until the election.
In digital and mobile, the NPR One app, which delivers curated stories and podcasts to users based on their individual preferences, has grown 124% year over year. Use of the digital content available at NPR.org also climbed to 40 million unique visitors in September, for an average of over 36 million per month. NPR.org’s success is partly due to NPR’s live fact-checking tool of the Presidential debates. During the first Presidential debate, NPR’s fact-checking tool attracted over 9.7 million page views from 7.7 million unique viewers – making the first debate and the following day NPR’s two largest Web-traffic days ever.