Arbitron, the radio audience measurement company, has released its annual profile of… us. Public Radio Today 2010, How America Listens to Radio, analyzes nine public radio formats and paints a picture of the typical — if there is such a thing — public radio listener.
News/talk is the dominant public radio format, beating its next-strongest public radio format (combinations of news and classical music). In fact, there is no age demographic in which news/talk isn’t the most-listened-to public radio format.
A “heat index” reveals where news/talk on public radio is heaviest, although the most intriguing note is where it’s not:
Nearly 70% of public radio news listeners have a college degree and 92% have attended some college.
Listeners to classical public radio stations jumped 1.7% in the fall of 2009, compared to a year earlier, which Arbitron attributes to the disappearance of the remaining commercial classical stations. More men, apparently, are listening to classical than a similar Arbitron report four years ago. And, contrary to the prevailing wisdom, the classical music listening audience got younger, increasing its below-55 audience from 29% to 32% in a year.
The “heat index” map isn’t surprising…
Contrary to their public perception, almost half of public radio listeners drive — or plan to purchase — an SUV or midsize car, the report says. The least popular vehicle — and this isn’t surprising anyone, is it? — is a pickup truck.