NPR Launches Awareness Campaign
With online radio making inroads in listening habits, especially among younger demographics, NPR is looking to raise awareness among young adults with a new campaign called “Generation Listen.”
The initiative, fittingly unveiled at the SXSW conference, is intended to both build an audience that will sustain NPR through donations and generate political support for the
network, which relies in part on federal funding via PBS stations, according to The New York Times, which first reported the news.
The Generation Listen home page on NPR’s Web site tells visitors that “we want to hang out – whether in cyberspace, over the air, or through events – and exchange ideas and smart conversation.” It continues: “It’s time for us to get better at finding you where you are and what is most relevant to your lives.”
In February, NPR unveiled an ad campaign including TV, billboards, rail transit, print and digital advertising. Created by Baltimore-based branding and communications agency Planit, the campaign targets adults ages 25-44 with at least some college education, and is being funded by a $750,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.
If all this sounds a bit like a middle-aged parent trying to get in touch with their alienated 20-something progeny, well, that’s not far off. According to NPR’s own data, the median age of the network’s broadcast listeners is 49. Per Arbitron, the median age of classical music listeners (a key NPR audience segment) steadily increased from 56 in spring 1997 to 65 in spring 2009.
As might be expected, digital channels appear to be more promising hunting grounds
for young listeners: the median age for NPR podcast listeners is 36. These figures compare to a median age of 37.1 for the U.S. population overall in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
While NPR’s broadcast radio audience may be aging, it also appears to be growing. Over the last decade, Arbitron found that NPR’s weekly radio audience has increased from 19.5 million in 2001 to 26 million in 2012.