Amidst daily talk about the death of news and good reporting and the demise of print newspapers being a threat to democracy as we know it NPR is thriving. WaPo is reporting that the cumulative audience for NPR‘s daily news programs hit 20.9 million people a week last year, which is a 9 percent increase over the previous year.
Surprised? Probably you shouldn’t be (our tour through cable-land last week certainly gave us an even greater appreciation). We have an soon-to-be-posted interview with new NPR CEO Vivian Schiller and during our conversation she talked a lot about local being the big play at NPR as well as the audiences devotion to the brand. And certainly as local and international reporting are increasingly cut as a result of the recession, NPR and its member stations, along with its 38 bureaus around the world (more than CNN) are well-positioned to step in and fill in the gap. And the numbers are definitely interesting.
The WaPo article points out that “Morning Edition’s” average daily audience of 7.6 million, is about 60 percent larger than the audience for “Good Morning America,” and a piece currently up at Fast Company says that NPR’s 26.4 million listeners weekly trumps USA Today‘s 2.3 million daily circ or Fox News’ 2.8 million prime-time audience. All of which is even easier to understand when you remember the rest of the country commutes to work in a car, with a radio.