Thursday, July 09, 2009

PRDMC - News That Isn't

One of the big session at the Public Radio Development and Marketing Conference was the report from Jacob Media. The Public Radio Tech Survey 2008 provided a snapshot of how core public radio listeners use new media.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, the results are not surprising. While public radio listeners are very loyal, they're not so wedded to the radio part. Internet usage is up, streaming audio is up, podcast consumption is up, and social networking is up. Those 52 and younger use online media more than the 53+ set, but the latter group is increasing their usage as well.

The study breaks down usage by preferred format, and as you might think, AAA (indie rock) listeners tend to use the Internet more. Primarily because they're on the younger side of 52. But even the classical listeners (which tend to average around 60) proportionally use the Internet about the same -- and their usage is growing, too.

So the message is clear. Stations need to concentrate on putting their content on different platforms, and not try to keep everyone huddled around the radio.

And one final thing. Internet usage: 89%. HD Radio: 3%

'Nuff said.

 - Ralph

Day 92 of the WJMA Podwatch.


  1. I attended the same session and also found it to contain interesting and valuable information. At the very least, it once again hammered home all of the things many stations should be focusing their limited resources on, but are not.

    One interesting thing to note is a bias (it may be slight, but worth noting) in the sampling methodology. If I remember correctly all surveys / responses were handled via email (or some type of online form). This means that anyone who participated was at least somewhat predisposed to use these forms of technology already.

    I could see this skewing some of the results (the technology adoption pyramid charts for example), especially in the older populations. Although, I think I read something that seniors are the fastest growing population for technologies like web and email, I’m still curious to see how the results would change it if was compared to a different survey methodology (each of which would also include their own inherent biases).

  2. Good discussion and information here -- thanks Ralph and Matt.

    David Srebnik

  3. Matt:

    You're right -- the population's somewhat self-selecting because it was an online-only survey. It would be helpful to have additional information to determine the mix of Internet- vs. non-Internet-users in audience mix.

    40% podcast consumption sounds great, but if it's 40% of 5% of your audience, then you may want to reconsider how you allocate your resources (I think the actual number's probably much higher).

    Of course the other component is age. Technology usage skews younger. But eventually your older audience won't be around. So at what point do you start reaching out to your next generation of listeners by going to where they are?

    Commercial radio still hasn't figured it out, and judging by the state of the big radio companies, it might already be too late.