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Massive Millennial Research Project Released
RADIO ONLINE | Monday, August 21, 2017 | 0:31am CT

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The Public Radio Program Directors Association (PRPD) released the findings of the Millennial Research Project (MRP) conducted with Jacobs Media at this year's PRPD Content Conference in Washington, DC. The project found that there's no typical Millennial archetype, model or pattern. As such, the study unveiled important views on technology, civic engagement, media expectations and consumption and social coherence. Other key findings included:

  • Public radio is loved, but expectations are high-MRP participants are consuming a great deal of public radio and value the current aesthetic, but are also looking for a more direct and incisive style of journalism.
  • News access declines during the day and they're OK with bite-sized packages-In the smartphone-dominated lives of these participants, the leading edge of news consumption shifts to social media as the day progresses and, with it, a willingness to track the key stories in smaller packages.
  • Podcasts are important and will grow in importance-Media choice, variety and control are central themes in these cohort's lives so it is to be expected that podcasts are a highly attractive option.
  • Public radio that is diverse and locally rooted is highly valued-MRP participants, and Millennials, in general, are an extremely diverse, locally engaged group and expect the same from their public radio station.
Jody Evans, PRPD President, summed up the project's mission and goals this way, "The world is not lacking in Millennial-focused research. As the professional service bureau for public radio's content community, we did see a lack of research that addressed our members' specific needs and interests. PRPD has a decades-long history of providing public radio content makers with original, actionable, forward-thinking research. Our partners at Jacobs have delivered another strong addition to public radio's knowledge base. It's important to note that this was a broadly-supported project and could not have happened without financial investment from over a dozen leading public radio stations."

Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs noted the MRP is a unique ethnographic look at a key segment of the audience: "We immersed ourselves into the lives of a dozen Millennial public radio listeners. We spent a full day with each of them, from the time they woke up, through their workday, and back at home, observing their media and lifestyle activities. This project speaks volumes about media, journalism, politics, and the perceptions of Millennials. Public radio plays an important role, but it's essential to understand how these listeners are similar and how they are different from the traditional audience."

The MRP was designed, funded and executed as a collaborative effort between PRPD and fifteen leading public radio stations. The list includes:

  • KJZZ/Phoenix
  • KNOW/Minneapolis
  • KPCC/Los Angeles
  • KNKX/Seattle
  • KUT/Austin
  • KWMU/St. Louis
  • Michigan Radio
  • New Hampshire Public Radio
  • Vermont Public Radio
  • WBEZ/Chicago
  • WBUR/Boston
  • WGBH/Boston
  • Wisconsin Public Radio
  • WLRN/Miami
  • WNYC/New York City

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