NPR Snagged Most Listeners Ever in '08

23.6M tuned in, but public radio still faces budget shortages
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2009 8:30 AM CDT
NPR Snagged Most Listeners Ever in '08
Michele Norris, host of NPR's "All Things Considered," speaks during a taping of "Meet the Press" at the NBC studios November 2, 2008, in Washington.   (Getty Images)

There’s one growth story in the otherwise moribund news media industry, and it’s downright old fashioned: National Public Radio. Riding its hugely popular “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” shows, NPR had more listeners than ever in 2008—23.6 million a week—up 8.7% from the previous year. The bad news? The broadcaster is still facing budget shortfalls, the Washington Post reports.

NPR was forced to cut 7% of its news staff, and two daily programs, because its funding sources—corporate underwriters, charitable foundations, and member donations—have all dried up. Still, its CEO thinks the audience gains bode well. “When we come out of this economic slump, we’ll continue to be strong,” she says. “I wish I felt the same way about the rest of the media.” (More NPR stories.)

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