Taking the pulse of National Public Radio

June 3, 2010

In a recent wide-ranging interview, Vivian Schiller, the CEO of National Public Radio (NPR) predicted that all cars will soon have Internet radio. [Barron’s]

Interviewed at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Schiller also predicted that overall Internet radio will gradually replace traditional broadcast radio in the next 5 to 10 years.

Meanwhile, NPR continues to thrive. Schiller noted that the recent ratings just hit 34 million listeners with most tuning in for an average of six hours a week. Morning Edition remains the most popular show, followed by All Things Considered.

Schiller also said that 40 percent of radio listening is now in the car. She believes that once Internet radio is in the car, people will listen to the same stations.

The NPR chief also admitted that she hates pledge drives, but they work. Last year, the stations raised $300 million, though still only about 10 percent of listeners actually donate.

The iPad, according to Schiller, has been phenomenal for NPR, with almost 300,000 downloads for their app.

Her concern with the media overall is the increased absence of reporting on either local or state issues. She believes local NPR stations need to fill that gap.

NPR is heard locally on KCBX Public Radio, 90.1 FM.