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RAIN 10/6: Listener Twitter use demonstrates NPR's strong social media strategy

Posted on: 10/06/2010


The results of a new survey of NPR’s Twitter followers demonstrates the organization’s digital success. NPR found that the median age of their Twitter followers is 35 and, though 67% said they listen to NPR’s over-the-air broadcasts, 77% said they get most or all of their news online.

And NPR is right there to provide content to them:

  • 32% said they access NPR.org once every 2-3 hours
  • 39% said they listen to NPR’s podcasts
  • Respondents were likely to follow 2-5 of NPR’s Twitter accounts
  • Around half said they use NPR’s mobile apps
  • 28% said they access NPR via Facebook
  • 24% said they consume over 3 hours of NPR content every day
  • “These numbers are very similar to the amount of time our Facebook fans said they consume NPR content,” NPR’s data analyst Meredith Heard comments in the organization’s blog post about the survey.

    The survey shows that NPR has attracted a young, news-hungry audience “not because of a content shift but because they made it easier for a younger audience to connect to content on their terms,” according to analyst Robert Paterson (here). “The secret was in the flexibility of the new connection NOT the content.”

    “The future of news media lies in successful integration of social media to get the attention (and click-throughs) of a younger generation,” argues Mashable’s Jolie O’Dell (here). “A generation whose news needs are vastly different than those of the generations that preceded it.”

    As Bill Ives writes (here), “NPR is becoming a poster child for this social media effort.” Their success with younger demos is perhaps a lesson for broadcasters: there are probably lots of people who would be interested in the content you’re already producing if it were available at locations they already frequent (Twitter, Facebook) and in packages they’re already consuming (podcasts, streaming radio). — MS


    “If radio is in the ‘how do I leverage my FCC license’ business, you’ve got troubles. But if instead you define your business as how do I deliver multimedia to local users wherever they are,’ then you win.” So says Seth Godin in an interview with Mark Ramsey, when asked about broadcast radio’s future prospects in the car with the threat of Internet radio and other coming content.

    Terrestrial radio is “worse than a zero-sum game. It is clearly headed towards a dead end,” in Godin’s opinion. “But, you have all these assets. You have advertisers. You have access to creators of content like record companies. You have access to listeners. Why not use those assets to build something new?” You can find Ramsey’s full interview with Godin here.


    Bonneville’s Salt Lake City website KSL.com has the highest adult CUME rating in the U.S., according to The Media Audit’s 2009 “Radio Station Website Ratings.” That shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as how Bonneville CEO/president Bruce Reese shared KSL.com’s successes at RAIN Summit East last week (RAIN coverage here). As Tom Taylor reports, the site’s CUME rating “doesn’t mean it’s got the largest audience [in the country], but it’s very, very efficient at claiming its metro.”

    Reese said at RAIN Summit East that KSL.com receives 3.7 million unique users per month, where Salt Lake City has a population of 1.8 million.


    Google’s hotly publicized foray into providing digital content to TVs, Google TV, will include access to Pandora. The service will also, in the future, run Android apps, which opens the door to many other Internet radio services as well. Google TV joins other big names in the digital TV market — Apple TV, Boxee and Roku, to name a few — in providing access to Internet radio content. The Washington Post has more on Google TV here.

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    1. That KSL story had a screenshot with what is an unusual story for Utah. Tornadoes.

      But we were made believers that we have them, in 1999 an F2 hit Downtown, since then they pay more attention when there is the possibility of having htem, there has already been one near Escalante today.

      Utah has another popular radio website, for one run by the LDS Church called ‘Mormon Channel’. Started 16 months ago as web radio with some limited simulcast on HD Radio, now it’s on almost all the major smartphone platforms and within the last week or two has expanded to include on-demadn video content.

      In fact, last weekend a TV ad aired in Salt Lake for it, I think it may be the first ever Internet radio ad, it even ran on over-the-air radio, although I’m not sure who aired it but that could have been KSL AM/FM. A blog post in January said that by then which was 8 months since launch they had 189,000 unique listeners and a million had viewed the station website or listened to something on it.

      The video version of the ad is on Youtube.


      Station website, radio only: http://radio.lds.org/

      Audio/video portal including smartphone apps, video pages, etc.: http://www.mormonchannel.org/

      JamesAnderson · Oct 6, 08:09 AM · #

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