WNYC Studios and Edison Research Release The National Podcast Audience Report

WNYC Studios and Edison Research Release

Findings show WNYC Studios reaches half of all active podcast consumers;
WNYC Studios listeners are younger, more diverse, and more engaged with podcasting than listeners overall 

Word of mouth remains the biggest driver of new listening, followed by social media

(New York, NY – September 7, 2017) – WNYC Studios, the second largest podcast producer in the country with titles including 2 Dope QueensRadiolabFreakonomics Radio with Stephen Dubner, A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson, and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, today unveiled new podcast audience research regarding listening habits, demographics, advertising, and engagement.

The study from WNYC Studios and Edison Research—The National Podcast Audience Report—found that one in two podcast listeners across the country report listening to at least one podcast produced by WNYC Studios (51%). In addition, 70% of WNYC Studios listeners report having ever subscribed to a podcast compared to 59% of the overall podcast audience.

Another key insight from the study: WNYC Studios listeners are younger and more diverse compared to the overall national audience. More than half of the WNYC Studios audience is younger than 35 years old (55%), compared to the overall podcast audience (47%). Further, more than one in three WNYC Studios listeners identify as non-white (36%), while 30 percent overall identify as non-white.

Additional insights from the report regarding the national podcast audience include:

  • Podcast listeners pay more attention to advertisements on podcasts than to advertisements on other media. More than half of the overall podcast audience—55%—report “always” or “sometimes” paying attention to ads on podcasts. Additionally, 45 percent of listeners “always” or “sometimes” pay attention to radio ads. This compares to:
    • TV ads: 44% report “always” or “sometimes” paying attention
    • Billboards: 43% report “always” or “sometimes” paying attention
    • Streaming music ads: 41% report “always” or “sometimes” paying attention
    • Magazine ads: 39% report “always” or sometimes” paying attention
    • Online video ads: 34% report “always” or “sometimes” paying attention
    • Online display ads: 32% report “always” or “sometimes” paying attention

  • Word of mouth is the largest driver of new podcast listeners, while social media is the second largest. More than one in four podcast listeners report having first discovered podcasts through a recommendation from friends and family (29%), and one in four people of those already familiar with podcasts report learning about new shows in the same way (23%). The next most popular mode of podcast discovery is via social media (21%). Of note, 84% of WNYC Studios listeners report having recommended a podcast to a friend, while 78% overall report having recommended a podcast to a friend. And one in three WNYC Studios listeners share podcasts on social media (32%). Podcast listeners also report having discovered the medium in the following ways:
    • 1 in 6 via the podcast app on their smartphone (17%)
    • 1 in 7 via public radio programming (15%)
    • 1 in 8 via an article or program (13%)

“This study reflects WNYC Studios’ leadership in producing thought-provoking and genre-busting audio,” said Peter WeingardVice President and Chief Marketing Officer at New York Public Radio. “Our listeners are younger, more diverse, and are listening to more podcasts per week than the overall audience. As podcasting continues to become a significant form of entertainment, the data illustrates that listeners are eager to hear our programming. We’re looking forward to bringing them more in the year ahead.”

“The diversity of the national podcast audience is always going to be a function of podcast content that’s created and made widely available,” said Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy at Edison Research. “What we observed in this study is that the array of content available from WNYC Studios is indeed appealing to diverse audiences—across age, sex, race and ethnicity—which is crucial to the continued growth of the medium.”

For further data from this podcast consumption study, click here or visit http://wnycstudios.wnyc.org/.

The National Podcast Audience Report is based on a national online survey of 2,545 Americans ages 18+. This research was conducted by Edison and commissioned by WNYC Studios in May 2017. All respondents listened to a podcast in the last month.



WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio, home to some of the most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts of the last decade, including “Radiolab,” “2 Dope Queens,” “Nancy,” “The New Yorker Radio Hour,” “Freakonomics Radio,” “Death, Sex & Money,” “Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin, “Note to Self,” “On the Media,” and “A Piece of Work” with Abbi Jacobson.  WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with podcasts and national radio programs that inform, inspire, and delight millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. Their programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, interviews that reveal, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit wnycstudios.wnyc.org.


Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Gulf News, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, Time Warner and Yahoo. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.