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AUDIENCE 98 is the most comprehensive picture of public radio’s audience taken to date, recording over 200 characteristics for nearly 8,000 individual public radio listeners.

It shows which programming they listen to; how much they value national and local programming; who gives and who doesn’t; how much they give; their use of the Internet and other media; their perception of on-air fundraising and underwriting credits; the qualities that define their lifestyles and values; and more.

David Giovannoni of Audience Research Analysis led AUDIENCE 98’s Core Team: editor and writer Leslie Peters, and statistical analyst Jay Youngclaus. The team worked with 20 public radio front line professionals, called Associates, who submitted report ideas in two competitive rounds.

Between September 1997 and February 1999, AUDIENCE 98 issued 19 major reports via the Internet ( Edited versions also appeared in the public broadcasting newspaper Current.

All the information published by AUDIENCE 98, including statistical analyses and other materials that do not appear in this book, remain available at ARAnet. The site also offers an extensive public radio Research Library of past work, including many seminal studies and reports.

Major funding for the project was supplied by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with additional support from Audience Research Analysis and 91 public radio stations.


About the Public Radio Recontact Survey

AUDIENCE 98 is based on the Public Radio Recontact Survey.

In fall 1996 more than 30,000 public radio listeners across America kept Arbitron diaries of their radio listening. In spring 1997 15,000 listeners, selected at random, were sent a questionnaire to ascertain their pledging behaviors, personal beliefs and attitudes toward public radio.

The questionnaire was designed by David Giovannoni of Audience Research Analysis; Tom Thomas and Terry Clifford of Thomas & Clifford; and George Bailey of Walrus Research. Giovannoni, Thomas and Clifford collaborated on a similar study, Audience 88, 10 years earlier.

The Recontact Survey assembles information from various sources: the questionnaire mailed to listeners; Arbitron diaries (which offer information for each diary keeper about his/her listening to public and commercial radio); AudiGraphics and National AudiGraphics ; and the system that analyzes and categorizes listeners’ values and lifestyles, VALS 2.

Nearly 8,000 listeners returned usable questionnaires. These 8,000 respondents comprise "the national sample" – commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as a resource for all of public radio. It represents the national norms and the big picture for public radio.

The national sample database is available on ARAnet. Instructions on how to use it are found in "The Database Toolkit."

In addition to the national sample, 91 public radio stations commissioned recontact of all of their diary keepers. They are called the "Piggy-Back" stations because their surveys piggy-backed on the national Recontact Survey. These additional respondents are included in proprietary station-specific analyses and are not available in the national sample.

Audience Research Analysis
Copyright ARA and CPB.  All rights reserved.
Revised: September 01, 2000 12:38 PM.