SARAH SCIRE of Nieman Lab –
Since the pandemic took hold in the United States, NPR’s radio ratings have taken a nosedive. Half of AM/FM listening in the United States takes place in a car, but between reduced (or eliminated) commutes and social distancing, there’s been a steep decline in the drivers that make up public radio’s traditional broadcast audience.
“People who listened to NPR shows on the radio at home before the pandemic by and large still do,” NPR’s own media correspondent, David Folkenflik, reported on July 15. “But many of those who listened on their commute have not rejoined from home. And that threatens to alter the terrain for NPR for years to come.”
Even as its legacy platform’s audience has declined, though, NPR says it is reaching more people than ever. The dip in radio listenership — 22 percent — has coincided with a record number of people turning to NPR on virtually every other platform. More people than ever are reaching NPR through the website, apps, livestreams, and smart speakers (“Alexa, I want to listen to NPR”).