WAMU radio show ranked 'powerful' by research firm

"The Diane Rehm Show" has 1.7 million listeners

"The Diane Rehm Show," which originates from WAMU 88.5 FM, a National Public Radio affiliate owned by AU, ranked on an industry list as one of the 10 most powerful programs in public radio.

Audience Research Analysis, a public radio research firm that helped rank the programs, measured power based on the number of listeners the program drew to its station and away from competitor stations.

"The Diane Rehm Show," the only call-in talk show on the list, had 1.7 million weekly listeners and broadcast from 120 radio stations. Programs ranked on the list had to generate at least 1 million listeners per week and needed to maintain a continuous, positive power rating for eight Arbitron surveys.

Arbitron surveys collect data on the number of listeners who tune in to different radio shows and issue ratings based off that data, similar to how Nielsen Media Research issues ratings for different television shows, according to the company's Web site.

People at the station are thrilled about the show's ranking, said Jonathan Smith, a producer for the show.

"We've been on that list for a number of years now," he said. "It shows how popular the show is."

Rehm's show became so powerful because it offers an alternative to other talk shows, Smith said.


Audience Research Analysis, a public radio research firm, ranked the top 10 most powerful public radio programs in the nation. It measured power based on the number of listeners the program drew to its station and away from competitor stations. The shows are:

•"Car Talk" (WBUR) •"A Prairie Home Companion" (Minnesota Public Radio) •"Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me" (WBEZ) •"Weekend Edition Saturday" (National Public Radio) •"Weekend Edition Sunday" (National Public Radio) •"Morning Edition" (National Public Radio) •Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know? (WPR) •"All Things Considered" (National Public Radio) •"Marketplace" (KQED) •"The Diane Rehm Show" (WAMU)

SOURCE: A WAMU press release

"It's intelligent talk radio," he said. "We offer listeners substantial conversation, not confrontation. People have a thirst for intelligent talk. They like having the chance to discuss things and express their views without being interrupted."

It's an honor to be included in the list, Rehm said in a press release.

"These are all terrific programs that speak to the power of public radio and the thirst the public radio audience has for interesting, informative and entertaining programs," she said.

The show, which airs Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and noon, features discussion of current news topics, interviews with current figures in the news and segments where listeners can call in to the show. Rehm began hosting the show, originally called "Kaleidoscope," in 1979, according to WAMU's Web site.

NPR Worldwide and SIRIUS Satellite Radio also distribute the show. People can listen to the show through WAMU's Web site and through a podcast.

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