Public Radio to Drive Attendance?

GLM’s U.S. Antique Shows Division recently held its first Pier Antique Show in New York City, featuring nearly 500 exhibitors and reporting “a 28-percent increase in attendance when compared to the highest attendance recorded in the past five years” in its post-show press release.

Since acquiring the show last year, GLM has made substantial changes to the attendee acquisition campaign. I want to share one of them with you: the addition to the media mix of WNYC, which has more than 1 million listeners a week, the largest public radio audience in the United States.

I highlight this specific ad buy for the Pier Antique Show, a client of my agency, Encore Media Partners, because many arts and luxury lifestyle events, which target affluent demos, under-spend in the public news/talk/information (N/T/I) format, the category WNYC is in.

This is surprising because, based on demographic data sets I have analyzed from radio stations across the U.S., the public N/T/I format attracts a highly educated, high-income audience, ranking among the highest of all radio listeners, public or commercial.

The public N/T/I stations that my agency has purchased advertising from for clients’ shows also substantially over-index against the market on percentage of listeners who have visited art galleries and museums.

Add to that strong audience concentration in the 35-64 demo, a key target for arts and luxury related events.

Plus time spent listening (TSL) is extremely high for the public N/T/I format. For example, WNYC advised us their TSL is twice the market average. Stations with a higher TSL have more loyal audiences and require fewer spots to achieve the same frequency than stations with a lower TSL. Frequency is a key objective of radio ad buys tasked for driving attendance.

If you are targeting highly educated, high-income demos, you should certainly consider public N/T/I stations.

Cristopher Levy runs Encore Media Partners, an audience strategy, marketing and media buying agency, which specializes in “live” exhibitions and events. Connect with him on LinkedIn or at

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