What is our most listened-to hour? Wait Wait … I’ll tell you

Each month we receive information from The Arbitron Company on who and how many people in the St. Louis region listen to St. Louis Public Radio and when and where they’re listening to the station.

For many years, the most listened to hour on St. Louis Public Radio was Car Talk on Saturday morning, but now the torch has been passed an hour later to NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!  In the most recent survey period that ended in mid-October, Wait Wait averaged more than 17,000 listeners tuning in to the program between 11 a.m. and 12 noon on Saturday.  This makes up about six percent of the radio listening taking place in the St. Louis region during that hour.

We use this audience information to help us assess the impact that we’re having in the community with our programs.  One of the areas we look at closely is something called “P1 Listeners.”  A “P1” listener to St. Louis Public Radio is best defined as a person who listens more to our station than to any other radio station in the St. Louis region.  Around 55 percent of all our listeners are P1s, showing a tremendous amount of loyalty to the station from those who tune us in each week.  This is a significantly higher percentage than most radio stations.  P1s listen about 50 percent more than the average listener and, not surprisingly, are the people who are much more likely to be members of the station.

Recently we also received a report on the most listened to public radio stations in the country during the Summer 2011 quarter and St. Louis Public Radio did very well in these rankings, ranking in the top 30 in three of the four categories listed.

In addition to the radio audience, we also look at how people are using our web site.  We’ve seen phenomenal growth over the past two years in people using our web site for news as well as streaming one of our three services.  From 2009 to 2011 we’ve seen a 54 percent increase in visitors to our web site.  In fact, in the last year we’ve had more than 1,000,000 visits to the web site.

As more people move to the web and mobile devices, we expect this number to grow significantly in the future.  That’s one of the primary reasons we have invested in our new mobile applications for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.  Early reaction and downloads of the mobile apps have been quite positive.

If you’re interested in any other information on our audience, please leave a comment and we’ll try to track it down for you.

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About Tim Eby

General Manager of St. Louis Public Radio.

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