Listening to Boston news radio spiked during week of bombings, analysis shows

By Mike Janssen

Boston’s news radio stations saw sharp increases in listening in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings April 15, a finding highlighted by a new analysis of Arbitron Portable People Meter data by the Radio Research Consortium.

Listening to public radio news stations WBUR and WGBH, as well as commercial WBZ, was higher than average throughout much of the week, peaking on April 19 — the day a manhunt for bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shut down the city.

On that day, about 1 in 4 Boston residents tuned into one of the three stations, a 53 percent increase above the stations’ average combined cume for April. Average–quarter-hour listening to WBUR and WGBH jumped 50 percent higher than their combined average for the entire month, according to RRC.

Commercial WBZ outperformed its noncommercial competitors and saw a larger jump in audience from April 18 to April 19. Meanwhile, public radio music stations saw audience declines.

Cumes for many public radio news stations around the country peaked for the month of April on April 19, and many stations saw higher than average listening through the whole week as well. The full report is available on RRC’s website.

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