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Classical, jazz, and world music on public radio declined by up to 30% over last decade

A survey of 505 public radio stations from 2001 through 2010 indicates that a fifth of them abandoned classical music formats during those years. Many also let go of jazz, and even more discarded world music during the same time period. The statistics were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission by National Public Radio in October.

NPR station music format trends; source: National Public Radio

NPR station music format trends; source: National Public Radio

“During this time, we saw decreases in classical music (down 20%), jazz music (down 15%), and world music (down 30%) and increases in eclectic music programming (up 54%), popular music (19%) and news programming (up 27%),” NPR wrote to the FCC.

More recently the downturn in classical music on public radio has been less pronounced. Surveys in 2006 and 2010 of the full 1057 public radio stations in the United States indicate that the decline from mid-decade to the present has slowed down, dropping by three percentage points, from 27 to 24 percent.

But the basic trend continues: more news, more pop, less classical, world music, and jazz.

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2 Responses to Classical, jazz, and world music on public radio declined by up to 30% over last decade

  1. Richard Clifford December 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    This is gross! With the homogenizing of public radio formats, the diversity that it’s been famous for has evaporated into dust! It’s all becoming rare on your radio. Now, you have to go to the internet to get what you want! That sucks!

  2. Cal Koat December 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Sadly, the internet is the last vestige of free-thinking music programming. I encourage you to check out worldbeatcanada radio, a one hour, weekly podcast with all the production values and quality, contemporary, accessible global music you won’t hear anywhere else … especially on the radio. BTW, it’s a free subscription at the iTunes store.

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