WGBH-FM clears more airtime for Boston Public Radio

By Ben Mook

In a move to bolster its local news footprint and audience, Boston’s WGBH is adding a third hour to Boston Public Radio, which in April was the top-rated public radio midday show for its noon to 2 p.m. timeslot.

Starting in September, Boston Public Radio will begin airing at 11 a.m. weekdays.

Hosted by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, the show made dramatic audience gains compared to last year. The 2.1 share it earned WGBH in April 2013 among listeners aged six and older grew to 3.7 by April 2014, surpassing public radio news competitor WBUR, according to research provided by WGBH.

To make room for an expanded BPR, The Takeaway will move to an earlier timeslot, airing 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Diane Rehm Show, which is now airing at that time, will be dropped from the schedule. The Takeaway, a WGBH Radio co-production, originates at WNYC in New York.

In addition to the gains among the broad sample of radio listeners in the market, Boston Public Radio has picked up audience in the 25-54 demographic, growing from a 1.8 share in April 2013 to 3.8 in April 2014, according to WGBH.

BPR has evolved into a wonderful expression of what we strive to do on the radio station overall,” said Phil Redo, g.m. of WGBH Radio, in a statement. “It offers a combination of local, national and global topics, smart conversations, deeper analysis, local voices and direct access to local opinion leaders, newsmakers and our own neighbors.”

Audiences for The Takeaway have held steady in Boston, showing growth among its target audience of adult listeners. The show’s average-quarter-hour ratings ticked up from 2.5 to 2.6 from April 2013-14, according to research provided by WGBH. But listeners aged 25 to 54 grew 38 percent to a 2.2 AQH.

This post has been revised to include only year-to-year ratings for WGBH from April 2013 to April 2014. An earlier version incorrectly cited ratings from February 2013.

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