You’ve known public radio as your constant companion in your home, car, and headphones for the past several decades. But here are five things we bet you didn’t know about local public radio:
- Roughly 38 million people listen to public radio stations each week. Local public television and radio stations combined reaches more than 98% of the U.S. population.
- Public radio podcasts are consistently listed in iTunes’ top 10 podcasts. Long before online streaming became the norm, many public radio stations started to make their programs into podcasts. Some of the top public radio podcasts include This American Life from Chicago Public Media, Radiolab from WNYC, and NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!.
- Minnesota Public Radio started off as a small station in Collegeville, MN and has grown to include 30 FM stations. MPR not only played an influential role in forming NPR and Public Radio International (PRI), but also created some of public radio’s most popular and successful programs, such as A Prairie Home Companion.
- WNYC, New York City’s local public radio station, has earned recognition for journalistic excellence on numerous occasions. Four of its programs have been awarded the George Foster Peabody Award, the highest honor in broadcast journalism.
- Public radio stations air more than 5 million hours of music per year, most of which is local programming.
*Post updated July 17, 2013.