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The daily NPR Politics Podcast reached a record high number of listeners last week, as its reach jumped 36% compared to the prior 13-week average as people turned to the podcast for the latest about the election. The podcast’s performance was just part of what NPR says was a record-setting week as its digital platforms saw their largest audience ever.

The public radio network reports during last week's election coverage the NPR website had its largest audience ever, reaching over 34.7 million unique users which it said eclipsed NPR's typical weekly broadcast radio listenership. In total, these unique visitors generated 158.9 million pageviews for the election week (Nov. 1-7) on NPR.org, with additional consumption of NPR-produced content across the network of member station digital properties. “I attribute the success of our audience growth to the work of our dedicated journalists and support staff and the collaborative effort of our local Member stations across the country,” said NPR CEO John Lansing in a statement.

The NPR Politics Podcast featured a rotating panel of political reporters and editors, a liveblog that brought in breaking news and expert analysis from a roster of NPR correspondents and NPR's election result pages which included “bubble tallies” of electoral votes flowing towards each candidate's ledger as states reported their results.

Many of those listeners were probably using the NPR One app which hit an all-time audience high on election night with about twice as many listeners compared to Election Day 2016 and almost quadruple the total listening hours.

Others were probably using a smart speaker. That is because the networks data shows users for the NPR Alexa skill reached an all-time high on November 4, up 50% compared to a typical Wednesday.

It was not just the podcast that had record-setting numbers during election week. The day after the election saw a 60% increase in station streaming listeners when compared to an average Wednesday. 

The data also shows that NPR local member stations benefited as well. Traffic to member station sites was up 50% compared to a typical Tuesday, and up 43% compared to Election Day 2016.

"Audiences turned to NPR for credible and trustworthy news coverage at an inflection point in American history," said Lansing. "When it matters most, we are here for audiences as they grapple with a deeply divided nation, a pandemic that continues to intensify, a financial crisis that has wreaked havoc around the world, and an overdue reckoning with systemic racism and its legacy. We will continue to bring our best selves to this time of many challenges."