Sunday, February 10, 2013

NPR Innovating, Attempting To Expand Audience

Despite the trend toward Internet radio, LOCAL public radio is more than just "alive and well!" Take a look (listen) at my own WAMC Northeast Public Radio, as well as Catskills-based WGXC and hyper-local WIOX. These strong "community" stations continue to atract new listeners as wells as KEEP the existing listeners satisfied. They thrive! New York City's WFUV with a strong distinct music-serving model is likewise thriving.

But looking at the national radio picture, NPR is losing ground: according to the New York Times, “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” — NPR’s two top programs and the radio news programs that reach the most people nationwide each week — declined from spring 2011 to spring 2012, the last period for which national ratings are available.

So NPR is testing what the times calls a "quirky campaign" intended to bring new listeners to local public radio stations, and in turn NPR’s national programs, by matching a show to even the quirkiest interests.

I wonder if it will work. Taking a look at ratings and trends, it is obvious that people want LOCAL radio - all of the big AM powerhouse stations and all of the small daytimers have been gobbled up by the likes of Clear Channel and Cumulus. Good radio gone. The FM's are mainly niche, and mostly voicetracked. Unless you include the pirates in your area, and natiojnally syndicated Michael Savage, radio is otherwise boring, UNLESS you have a uniquely locally centered public (or even private or college) radio station serving your area.
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