Public Radio: The Right Audience for Healthcare and Wellness

Everyone needs healthcare, right? At some point, most of us will. However for marketers at healthcare organizations, finding an audience that makes health and wellness a priority is another matter altogether. Public radio listeners are that audience. They place great significance on healthcare and wellness while leaning into sponsor messages for recommendations on quality care.

Preventative healthcare and general wellness are gaining momentum across the country. As educated and engaged Americans, public media listeners have an increased interest in these avenues. For those service providers who would like to expand their business, the public media audience is the ideal place to give your practice a voice–and have it heard. 

Public Radio Audiences Act on Healthcare Initiatives   

Much of the public media audience has reached a point in their lives when their healthcare needs have escalated. Approximately 82-85% of listeners go to the doctor for regular check-ups, as compared to 76% of all U.S. adults. As a result, healthcare organizations can expect their sponsorship messages to be heard by an eager audience via public radio.

According to the MRI-Simmons Doublebase 2021 study, 80% of NPR listeners are looking for ways to live healthier lives and 88% of them have been to a doctor in the past 12 months. Furthermore, they're 22% more likely to have made over nine doctor's visits in the past 12 months. 

Consequently, an ideal medium for reaching a health-conscious audience is found in the public radio listener. In an analysis of 75,600 doctor ads throughout 2019 compiled by NumericOwl, all radio drove an 8% increase in immediate action. Of that increase, 83% were new parties. The opportunity to increase revenue, as well as your patient base, is in radio. Public radio in particular, solidifies that potential with a more educated, engaged audience. 

According to a poll referenced in, “Effectiveness of the Radio as a Health Information Source”, 65.7% of participants reported intentions to change health behaviors according to the knowledge they had gained while listening. Common knowledge has led us to believe that the public garners most of its healthcare information from the internet alone. In fact, this same survey confirmed that the majority of listeners prefer multiple sources on healthcare versus the internet alone in order to make their most informed decisions.

Public radio listeners trust sponsors at a rate of 74%. This generally equates to an audience that hears your message as truth. These same public radio fans are 87% likely to act on the information provided during sponsorship messaging. As a result, your marketing budget can expect to see a greater return on investment. 

Public Media ROI for Healthcare Organizations  

Scarborough produced a survey of the Dallas radio advertising market in 2019. We looked at KERA public radio listeners’ usage of healthcare practitioners. The findings proved prolific. The Dallas healthcare community spent more than 16 million dollars on radio advertising that year. Furthermore, public media followers used practitioners more extensively than the general public. From cardiologists and physical therapists to cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists, KERA public radio listeners utilized these services at a higher rate than other Dallas locals. The same proved true for dental and vision care, including Lasik surgery.

The healthcare community spends tens of millions of dollars on broadcasts and commercial radio advertising. That’s a lot of money. Yet, how much of that radio advertising was actually listened to? We’ve all been guilty of switching the channel from our favorite radio station as soon as a commercial comes on. There is always another tune on the next station to ease our minds. After one or two songs, we most often return to our preferred station – after the commercials have played.

Public radio listeners are different. They are emotionally invested in the segment. As a result of 15 to 20-second sponsorship messages, audience members don't have time to tune out. The 3 minutes of messaging per hour on public radio compared to the average 15-minute advertisements per hour on commercial radio lends to listeners remaining tuned in. Your sponsorship message is more likely to be heard, trusted and acted on. Consequently, your practice is more apt to increase and your return on investment should be greater.

Healthcare and Physicians Gaining Momentum in America  

Healthcare organizations and providers are adding nutritionists, behavioral health specialists, and social workers to their care teams. American culture has shifted towards taking control of our lives in a proactive manner—especially when it comes to our health. Wristbands that count our steps or watches that monitor our heartbeat are becoming more common. The general public is paying greater attention to their overall well-being.

A Physician Practice Benchmark Survey conducted by the American Medical Association showed that over 1 billion patients are seen annually by doctors. This averages slightly more than 20 patients each day. In order to expand any practice, it helps to remind patients of the importance of consistent care and wellness checks.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are nearly 1 million physicians in the U.S. Of those, nearly half are specialists in some area of their field. As reported by the 2019 America’s Physicians Survey, one-third of doctors have independent practices instead of being a part of a medical group or hospital. This means that competition is high and marketing dollars matter. Overspending in an unproductive medium can mean the loss of potential patients at great expense to your overall budget. 

Radio Boosts Web Traffic for Doctors

Radio messaging has also proven successful in garnering web traffic for healthcare organizations and private practices. A 2019 study by NumericOwl, in conjunction with the Radio Advertising Bureau conveyed that new site visitors, as well as visitor sessions on approximately 75,000 physician websites, increased. The results showed:

  • •   Radio drove 8% increase in overall web activity
  • •   Of that 8%, 83% were new visitors
  • •   New visitors increased 29%
  • •   Web sessions improved by 25%

These are substantial improvements and data supports that money spent in radio by healthcare organizations is money well spent. Now, consider the additional layer of interest and action of a public media audience. By choosing public radio sponsorship versus commercial radio advertising, you can expect to reach the right audience while spending less. Thus, your marketing dollars should go further.

Your Best Audience Awaits

We know for sure that the public media audience values their health. Furthermore, they understand that the care they get today affects their overall well-being in the future. When you combine this awareness with the audience’s history of taking action from sponsorship messaging, it makes sense to invest your marketing budget in public radio.

If you have questions about sponsorship, we are here to help. Reach out today and we will facilitate your next steps in successful marketing via public media. Your business will reap the benefits of supporting your community while increasing brand trust.

Let’s Work Together

Whether you’re interested in sponsoring one of our public media stations or learning more about turnkey sponsorship representation for your station, we can help. Complete the form, and we’ll be in touch soon.

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