Public Radio Overtakes Public TV

While both public radio and television revenue have grown in recent years, radio’s higher growth rate has led to public radio revenue overtaking public TV’s revenue for the first time ever (based on Non-federal Financial Support (NFFS) data from CPB).

It is easy to see why when you compare the revenue growth rates of public radio stations with public television stations since 2008. Public radio revenue has grown by 45% (CAGR: 3.8%) over the past decade but public television has seen a decline in revenue of -14% (CAGR: -1.5%) over the same time period.

A 45% growth in revenue is a great success story for public radio but, unfortunately, this level of growth has not been experienced equally by all radio stations.

Large public radio stations (those with NFFS greater than $3 million a year) have grown significantly since 2008 – up 61% or a CAGR of 4.9% – but small stations with annual revenues less than $1 million a year have actually contracted over the past decade, down by 28% (a CAGR of –3.2%). Mid-size radio station revenue grew by 22% over the same period.

The situation is even more nuanced when you look at public television and when you analyze each station individually. We’ll look at these topics and more in future blog posts.

Public Media Company collects, analyzes, and interprets a lot of public media data every day. If you would like to learn more about our work or help better understanding your organization’s performance and potential opportunities for growth, please contact Steve Holmes.