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RRC News: Impeachment Influences Four PPM Surveys

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RRC News: Impeachment Influences Four PPM Surveys


In January following the release of the Nielsen Audio PPM survey for December 2019 (11/7/19 thru 12/4/19), the RRC showed that Average Quarter Hour listening for full-time public radio news stations was impacted by early coverage of the Impeachment process. The House Intelligence Committee held five days of public hearings with witnesses (11/13,15,19-21/19), and listening spiked on each of those days.

The January 2020 (1/02/20 thru 1/29/20) and February 2020 (1/30/20 thru 2/26/20) PPM surveys carried weeks of the Senate Impeachment Trial (beginning 1/21/20), yet no individual days really showed a spike in listening. This may have been the result of a lack of witnesses or the later start times for special coverage, which began after the conclusion of Morning Edition for stations on the west coast and extended well into evenings for stations on the east coast. Holiday 2019 (12/5/19 thru 1/1/20) contained a lot of holidays and few newsworthy events, and it showed little to no bump in listening for December 18th when the House took an evening vote and approved two articles of Impeachment.

The first full week of the 2020 survey year began with a spike in listening for news stations following the death of Major General Soleimani, missile retaliation against two U.S. bases and the crash of a passenger plane in Tehran (1/6-8/20). February 4th and 5th saw increased listening from The State Of The Union Address and the Senate vote to acquit President Trump of impeachment.  The February 2020 survey ended on February 26th, the day the President announced the federal government's response to the Coronavirus and placed Vice President Pence in charge.

A four-month, day-by-day graph of these events is available by clicking HERE, and please contact the RRC if you have any questions about your station’s audience estimates by emailing us at

The RRC will be providing analysis of the March 2020 survey (2/27/20 thru 3/25/20) once it releases for our first look at the Coronavirus's impact on listener behavior. March 2020 will contain two weeks of 'calm before the storm', as well as two weeks of wide spread preparation for COVID-19.

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