Sounder Analysis: NPR’s News Podcast Significantly Safer For Brands Than General News Podcasts

A new analysis from Sounder reveals that NPR’s news shows are significantly safer for brands than the general population of podcasting within the news genre. The analysis underscores NPR’s high-quality content and its commitment to providing a safe space for brands seeking trustworthy sponsorship opportunities in the news.

An impressive 81% of NPR’s news content was classified as unrelated or low-risk for sensitive topics according to the GARM Brand Safety Floor + Suitability Framework, compared to the general population average of 54%. Furthermore, NPR demonstrates a clear commitment to avoiding graphic discussions, with 13% fewer discussions of medium-risk sensitive topics and a mere 2.3% of content categorized as graphic discussions of high-risk sensitive topics. As anticipated, NPR does not feature any content categorized as “floor”, which is deemed unsuitable for advertising.

“We are thrilled to work with Sounder on this analysis,” said Gina Garrubbo, President and CEO at National Public Media, NPR’s sponsorship subsidiary. “NPR’s award-winning journalism and storytelling are a reflection of its commitment to providing the public with fact-based, non-sensational reporting and content. NPR’s 50-year heritage and leadership in audio journalism, as well as the hallmark style and tone of reporting, offers the audience a balanced and comprehensive take on world events.

Kal Amin, Co-Founder and CEO of Sounder, also remarked, “This collaboration showcases the power of data analytics in evaluating content quality. NPR’s inventory stands out as a reliable and credible news source, offering safer and more suitable news inventory for brands. We’re pleased to work with NPR on this analysis to help clarify the misconception that news content is not a brand-safe category.”

Spoken Word Audio In U.S. Hits Highs For Audience Reach and Share

Spoken word audio listening time and audience size attain record highs in the U.S. according to The Spoken Word Audio Report 2023 released from NPR and Edison Research. The fifth iteration of the annual report places special focus on listening locations and explores spoken world audio consumption at home, at work, in-car, or other locations. The findings were presented in a webinar hosted by National Public Media (NPM) VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and are available now at audio.

Key findings from the report include:

Spoken Word Audience size and listening time attain record highs: Almost half (48%)— approximately 135M people — of those in the U.S. age 13+ listen to some type of spoken word audio daily, up two percentage points (46%) from last year. Listeners in the U.S. age 13+ spend 31% of their daily audio time with spoken word, which is a 55% increase over nine years ago (20%).

Spoken word listening at home has grown dramatically: Sixty percent of the total daily audio time spent with spoken word audio is at home, 24% in the car, 13% at work, and 3% at some other location. The time spent listening to spoken word audio at home has grown to 41 daily minutes in 2014. Increases in at-home spoken word audio listening are seen across every hour in the listening day.

Spoken Word listening in-car has shifted post-pandemic, but AM/FM radio remains on top: Of all the daily time spent listening to spoken word audio, time spent listening in the car has declined from 36% in 2014 to 24% in 2023. In the car, 62% of spoken word audio consumed by those in the U.S. age 13+ is to AM/FM radio content, including over the air and streams.

For the first time ever, the mobile device is the primary way people listen to Spoken Word: 39% of spoken word audio consumed daily by this age 13+ in the U.S. is on a mobile device, followed by 35% on an AM/FM radio receiver. At home, 41% of spoken word audio is consumed on a mobil device, and at work, 47% of spoken word is consumed on a mobile device. AM/FM radio receivers still dominate in-car, garnering 60% of the token word audio listening there.

Podcasts represent a large and growing share of spoken word listening: Podcasts now represent over one-third (36%) of time spent with spoken word audio. Twenty-eight percent of time spent listening to podcasts goes to NPR/public radio. At home, 40% of spoken-word audio listening goes to podcasts.

“Each year we keep a close eye on the number of people who are listening and the amount of time spent with Spoken Word Audio. We’re happy to see that for 2023, more people than ever are listening and they are spending even more time with Spoken Word, providing a powerful opportunity for brands looking to expand and engage their audience.” said NPM VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson.

“Podcasting now accounts for over one-third of the time spent with spoken word audio. The cultural shift to digital benefits this space, or perhaps, it’s vice versa – the growing enthusiasm for podcasting is shifting the culture digital. Either way – podcast listening continues to grow,” said Megan Lazovick, VP at Edison Research,

How the study was conducted

Edison Research’s Share of Ear is a quarterly survey of Americans who are asked to keep a detailed one-day diary of their audio usage. Share of Ear utilizes a nationally representative sample of those age 13+. The sample for this study was 4,193.

NPR Renews Relationship With Veritonic To Provide Sponsors With Audio Insights

Veritonic, the industry’s comprehensive audio analytics and research platform, announced that NPR has renewed their relationship with the company, expanding their use of Veritonic’s audio-first Brand Lift solution to measure the impact of their client and sponsor audio campaigns. The continued partnership will allow NPR to provide clients across verticals including including Financial, Adult Beverages, B2B, Technology, and more with insightful and comprehensive brand lift measurement for NPR’s audio campaigns.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our use of Veritonic’s brand lift studies across podcasts and broadcast,” said Gina Garrubbo, President and CEO of National Public Media, NPR’s sponsorship subsidiary. “Data is power, and the actionable, full-funnel insights that Veritonic’s attribution and brand lift studies allow to provide NPR sponsors enable them to leverage audio to achieve the highest competitive edge, reach, and ROI possible.”

Veritonic’s Brand Lift studies offer advertisers valuable insights into how their audio assets impact their brand. The studies provide a deeper understanding of how audio contributes to achieving a client’s goals in terms of emotional resonance, awareness, favorability, intent, and recall. By equipping brands with these tools for validating their investments, Veritonic helps mitigate ricks and enhance the performance and ROI of audio across various formats, including streaming audio and podcast advertising.

“We take great pride in our ongoing partnership with NPR, supporting their clients and advertising partners with invaluable data,” said Scott Simonelli, CEO of Veritonic. “Through the utilization of our attribution solution and brand lift studies, NPR sponsors gain the ability to assess audio performance in a manner tailored to their unique needs. This empowers them with the essential data required to fine-tune their strategies, thereby ensuring a robust return on their investment in audio.”

For more information about Veritonic’s brand lift solution or to get started, visit or contact


NPR Selects Veritonic For Brand Lift And Attribution

Veritonic, the industry’s comprehensive audio analytics and research platform, announced that NPR has selected the company’s audio-first attribution and brand lift solutions to provide best-in-class campaign performance data to their corporate sponsors. The data from Veritonic’s audio-first measurement solutions will provide NPR sponsors with full-funnel, independent and holistic campaign measurement that will allow them to optimize and further increase the ROI of their audio campaigns.

“Veritonic shares our passion for driving the audio industry forward, and we are thrilled to be leveraging their robust and independent attribution and brand lift measurement,” said Gina Garrubbo, President & CEO of National Public Media, the sponsorship subsidiary of NPR. “Veritonic’s indispensable data and analytics will enable our sponsors to understand the performance of ROI of their audio in a more comprehensive and holistic manner than ever before.”

“We are pleased to be supporting NPR in providing their sponsors with the reliable data and analytics they need to increase their ROI,” said Scott Simonelli, chief executive officer of Veritonic. “The powerful combination of attribution and brand lift provides full audio campaign lifecycle management and measurement that can’t be found anywhere else. The ability to glean actionable data from top-of-the-funnel branding initiatives through bottom-of-the-funnel conversions & transactions remain critical in creating and maintaining a high-return audio strategy.”

For more information about Veritonic’s brand lift and attribution solution or to get started, visit or contact

NPR has a 2022 Student Podcast Challenge

NPR logoNPR is inviting students from around the country to create a podcast – about anything they want! – and compete for a chance to have your work featured on NPR. Students from 5th grade through college are eligible to participate, however the rules vary depending on your grade. Welcome to NPR’s 2022 Student Podcast Challenge!

NPR began collecting submissions for The College Podcast Challenge on December 1, 2021. Professor help or involvement is not required. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2022.

There is also a Podcast Challenge for grades 5-12. NPR will begin collecting submissions from this group on January 1, 2022. Submissions must be supported by a teacher. The deadline for submissions is March 21, 2022.

For three years, the NPR Student Podcast Challenge has been open to students in grades 5-12; last year we opened it up to collegiate podcasters for the first time. The response was so strong, and the stories were so moving, that we’re back again to announce the NPR College Podcast Challenge.

The grand prize winner will receive $5,000, and the other finalists will receive $500 each. NPR believes that podcasting takes time and effort, and they think it should be rewarded.

The basics are pretty much the same: Students will create a podcast about a topic they want to explore – and that can be just about anything. In the past, NPR has had podcasts submitted to them about Tater Tots, homework and life in the pandemic. NPR also listened to semester-long investigations about hometown mysteries and dramatic readings of fictional stories.

All students, regardless of age, who are pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can apply to The College Podcast Challenge. Those who are 18 or older can enter on their own.

The maximum length of your podcast is eight minutes, and the minimum is three minutes.

NPR Won a Pulitzer for their No Compromise Investigative Podcast Series

NPR reported that they, and Member Stations KCUR and WABE, won a Pulitzer Prize for audio reporting. This is NPR’s first-ever Pulitzer.

NPR’s Pulitzer for audio reporting went to Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, Graham Smith, and Robert Little for their investigative reporting podcast series No Compromise about gun rights activists that illuminated the deepening schism between American conservatives.

The description of the No Compromise podcast is as follows:

Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Audio Reporting. Discover a social media empire with an unapologetic vision of gun rights – generating millions of likes, follows, and dollars. From Guns & America, reporters Lisa Hagen of WABE and Chris Haxel of KCUR expose how three brothers from the most uncompromising corner of the gun debate are turning hot-button issues into donations and controversy.

It was one of two NPR finalists in the category; the other was for what the Pulitzer committee described as “courageous, on-the-ground reporting on the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and its implications around the globe.”

In an emailed statement to the newsroom, Senior VP of News, Nancy Barns noted that this is the second year that the Pulitzer Prize has experimented with an audio category. “You may recall that NPR was a finalist last year for the White Lies podcast,” she wrote. “The recognition today underscores the investments we have made in deep reporting, longform storytelling, and collaboration across NPR and our Member stations.”

The No Compromise podcast was introduced in August of 2020. The first episode, “A World Where the NRA is Soft on Guns” was released on September 8, 2020. The most recent episode is titled: “A One-Man Propaganda Band” and was released on October 20, 2020.

NPR StoryCorps Podcast Launched New Season with New Host

NPR announced that listeners can once again hear intimate, emotional, conversations from StoryCorps in their podcast feed. The StoryCorps Podcast has kicked off its new season with a new host, Kamilah Kashanie. Over 12 episodes, the StoryCorps Podcast will share stories from people who have lived through great change – from historical moments to personal ones – as they try to glean some wisdom from the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Listen to the first episode of the season, out now, on NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever podcasts are available. New episodes will be available every Tuesday and excerpts air weekly on NPR’s Morning Edition on Fridays.

Taking over as host of StoryCorps Podcast is Kamilah Kashanie (she/her), a Production Assistant at StoryCorps. Kamilah’s love for radio is rooted in her desire to understand more about what makes us who we are. As a storyteller, she’s committed to starting conversations to make lasting changes in underserved communities, and to craft narratives that help give voice to individuals who would not have a platform to tell their stories. She’s also a graduate of the Transom Audio Story telling Workshop and the host of Feeling My Flo, a podcast about menstruation from PRX and Lantigua-Williams & Co.

Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has brought more than 600,000 Americans together to record conversations about their lives, pass wisdom from one generation to the next, and leave a legacy for the future. Until now, all of these interviews have taken place face-to-face.

StoryCorps Connect, a first-of-its-kind technology, makes it easy for people to continue participating in StoryCorps with loved ones while observing stay-at-home orders. It uses advanced online video-conferencing technology (built using the Vonage Video API) and wraparound instructional tools to give participants a free, high-quality platform to record StoryCorps conversations remotely. The conversations become instantly accessible and shareable through StoryCorps’ Online Archive and are preserved for future generations at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Some of them will be shared in this season’s podcast episodes.

NPR Announces Upcoming Podcasts

Over the next six months, NPR will launch three new enterprise storytelling podcasts and usher in a new era for a listener favorite.

These include NPR Music reporters’ examination of power, hip-hop, and the prison industrial complex; Member station KQED’s investigation into California police misconduct, and how police try and fail to police themselves; a public radio reporting collaborative series about gun rights advocates who believe that the National Rifle Association is too soft in their advocacy; and a new iteration of Invisibilia with two new hosts.

Three of these forthcoming podcasts – Unsealed, a podcast from NPR Music, and No Compromise – were developed with support from NPR’s Story Lab, a creative studio at the heart of NPR that cultivates new voices, new approaches to storytelling, and the evolving sound of public radio.

Untitled NPR Music Podcast – coming September 2020

This short-run narrative series ​traces the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. But is it coincidence or by design? We’ll delve into some of the biggest names and cases in hip-hop to reveal just how much the criminal justice system has impacted the culture. Hosted by Rodney Carmichael, NPR Music’s resident hip-hop critic, and Sidney Madden, NPR Music reporter and editor.

No Compromise — coming Fall 2020

An eight episode, limited-run investigative series that explores the world of Second Amendment advocates who believe that the National Rifle Association is ‘too soft’ on guns. The series looks at national and state-level organizations and reveals a world that is more complicated than it appears to outsiders. Reporters Chris Haxel (KCUR, Kansas City, MO) and Lisa Hagen (WABE, Atlanta, GA) have been investigating the story for more than six months as part of the public radio reporting collaborative Guns & America.

Unsealed — launching early 2021

A limited-run podcast that explores how police police themselves through an analysis of hundreds of police misconduct files, body camera footage and audio recordings of internal investigations that have been kept secret for decades. Unsealed will be hosted by KQED’s criminal justice reporter Sukey Lewis and produced by KQED’s race and equity reporter Sandhya Dirks.

Passing the torch at Invisibilia — coming winter 2021

When it launched at the top of the podcast charts five years ago, Invisibilia presented a strikingly original storytelling frame. Fresh, rigorous, layered, and disarmingly intimate, the show built a large and devoted audience drawn to its arresting exploration of the invisible forces that shape human behavior.

It was the first chart-topping narrative podcast in the industry created by women. Alix Spiegel, with Lulu Miller and editor Anne Gudenkauf built the first season after incubating the idea on the NPR Science desk. More than 100 million downloads and five innovative seasons later, the current hosts, Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin have decided to pass the torch to a new generation.

They will be handing off the show to their enormously talented team, led by Yowei Shaw. Over the last four years, Shaw has been the creative and editorial force behind many episodes of Invisibilia, including the critically-acclaimed “A Very Offensive Rom Com.” Shaw and producer Kia Miakka Natisse will co-host the new Invisibilia.

They will reinvent the show with the help of key staffers Abby Wendle, Liana Simstrom and Deb George. We are tremendously grateful to Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin for their unforgettable storytelling and contributions to NPR. We’re also grateful that they have given producers and storytellers whom they have mentored an opportunity to meet this cultural moment in a fresh new way.

NPR Announced Winners of the 2020 Student Podcast Challenge

NPR has announced the 2020 winners of the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. The challenge is a chance for students to compete with young people all over the country for the grand prize: their story appearing on NPR’s Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

Our judges chose these two winners from more than 2,200 entries overall – ones that came from 46 states and Washington, D.C. There were podcasts about science, sports, siblings and natural wonders, about historical events and books and, in many cases, about the shutdown and the pandemic. In addition to the grand prize winners, we’ve recognized 25 finalists and 25 honorable mentions.

Many students recorded, produced, and edited their podcasts from home, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NPR says that this year they saw a notable increase in quality, which made the judging all the more difficult.

The winner for grades 5-8 is “Masked Kids”. It was done by sixth-graders Leo Yu, Angelo Chen, Becky Liu, Si Chen Xu, Joyce Jiang, Zoe Jiang, Nichole Cheng, and Amanda Chen, at PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology in New York City.

In their podcast, the students interviewed high schoolers about the harassment they felt as the coronavirus hit New York City. Along the way, the students taught listeners relevant words such as mask, sneeze and face in Mandarin.

The entry was submitted by Karin Patterson, who teaches English as a new language and runs the Dragon Kids Podcast Club after school.

The winner for grades 9-12 is “The Flossy Podcast: Climate Change & Environmental Racism”. It was done by seniors Jaheim Birch Gentles, Jamar Thompson, Joshua Bovell, Brianna Johnson, Kamari Murdock, Isaiah Dupuy, with music by Iezan McKinney at The High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media in New York City.

After attending a climate march in Manhattan, the seniors began asking tough questions about why they didn’t see many black protesters. “Climate change is racial injustice,” the students concluded in their podcast. They interviewed protesters, cited research and discussed their own observations about how global warming disproportionately affects black communities.

The work was submitted by Mischaël Cetoute, a restorative justice coordinator who helps run the Men in Color after-school program at the school.

NPR Seeks a Production Assistant for Pop Culture Happy Hour

NPR is seeking a Production Assistant for the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Those who are interested can apply for the position on the website where the NPR want ad is located.

Pop Culture Happy Hour is one of the best and most popular entertainment podcasts around. Its cast of panelists get together to review the latest in television, film, and more – through a lively, engaging format – all for an incredibly loyal audience. The podcast is ramping up to being published five days a week, and we are expanding our production team.

NPR is looking for a creative and versatile Production Assistant with a passion for pop culture news and analysis to help produce the podcasts. They are a small and agile team based in Washington, DC. The production assistant will be required to occasionally work weekends and evenings for award shows and other events, and must have a willingness to be flexible about scheduling.

Qualifications include:

Education: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience

Required Skills:

  •  At least one year of radio production experience on broadcast digital audio workstations (MTE/DAVID, Dalet, ProTools or similar)
  •  At least one year of experience working with daily deadlines
  •  Experience with journalism-related research and demonstrated ability to collect, organize and disseminate information
  •  Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously under stringent timeframes and changing priorities/conditions
  •  Ability to work independently but also work well as part of a team
  •  Ability to work a flexible schedule

Preferred Skills:

  •  Knowledge and interest in arts and entertainment news

Those who want to know about the responsibilities of the position, or who wish to apply for the job, can do so on the website where the NPR want ad is posted.