The Numbers in Public Radio

Since we are a public, non-profit station, should we use audience ratings as part of our decision-making?  We tackled that question on a recent “Charlotte Talks” show. The guests were Program Director Paul Stribling, News Director Mark Rumsey and myself.

I think audience research plays an important role in public radio.  Third-party research allows us to reach beyond our own personal judgments to see what the public is using (or underutilizing) on our stations. Research shows us when a program works well at a certain time slot. The same show can perform miserably at another time.

I DO think it’s very important that we avoid hyping the audience through research. We focus our programming within our chosen service area, which is news and public affairs, rather than turning to a rock or country music schedule. Also, when we decide to pick up a program for WFAE, we generally allow a year or two for the show to find its audience.

To hear the entire “Charlotte Talks” program, click on the link below:



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