February 22nd, 2010 → 12:07 pm @ josh
Editor’s Note: Please read our update regarding the data in this post.
The stat we love to throw around is the big top line number: 2.5 million downloads for the Public Radio Player since its debut! Recently, we’ve been digging deeper into the details to learn more about how public radio fans are using the the Player.
We pulled data on the live station streams that are accessed most often by users – and were surprised by some of the results. Many of the popular streams on the Public Radio Player are from stations that don’t normally crack any top 20 lists for terrestrial broadcast audience.
I put together a quick comparison below. On the left are the top 20 stations on the Public Radio Player from October 1 – December 31 of 2009, as ranked by average monthly unique users. On the right are the top 20 terrestrial public radio stations as measured by average weekly cume (a measure of the total number of unique listeners) during the fall quarter, September 17 to December 9 (odd dates because broadcast Arbitron quarters correspond to specific weeks, not months). This data comes from a report published by the Radio Research Consortium.
Disclaimer: Because of differences in methodology, comparing online and broadcast audiences is often a case of apples and oranges. The lists below take two very different approaches to finding a similar type of number. Also, they are not an exact match on dates. Take it all with a grain of salt.
First thing to notice is the lack of overlap. By my count, there are only 5 stations among the top broadcast rankings that break the top 20 on the Public Radio Player. It’s great to see local stations that don’t normally enjoy huge broadcast audiences find success on the Public Radio Player.
Also, internet-only streams are making waves on the Player. KCRW Music, Folk Alley, Jazz 24, and Native Voice One are all examples of live streams with no broadcast presence anywhere on the radio dial.
Another takeaway — music stations perform well on the player. KCRW Music, KUT, Jazz 24, WXPN, WFMU, Folk Alley, KCMP, WWOZ, and WTMD all put an emphasis on music in a variety of formats. No surprise here as listening to music has long been a leading mobile activity (and a great way to beat the commuter blues).
Again, please don’t read too much into the charts. We’re just getting started understanding these stats. We’ll be watching the coming months to see if more definite trends and conclusions can be gleaned, and I will continue to highlight interesting finds here on the blog. If you’ve got some thoughts on what you see, please let us know in the comments. Thanks.