Perhaps you’ve noticed lately that Sacramento’s afternoon rush hour isn’t what it used to be.
In the “Before Times,” you might have found yourself heading home from work around 5 p.m., and you might stop on the way to run an errand or pick up your kids. Then came COVID-19. Traffic disappeared altogether amid store closures, remote work and distance learning.
Now, schools are open, but many companies have yet to fully return to in-person work. Some never will, while others plan to offer their employees a hybrid model. Parents who are able to pick their kids up right when classes let out, instead of leaving them in after-school programs, are doing so.
That’s reflected in our CapRadio News audience’s afternoon listening habits. Instead of peaking in the 5 p.m. hour, listenership now peaks in the 3 p.m. hour.
At CapRadio, we believe we must adapt to meet our listeners where you are, and whenever it fits your lifestyle. That’s why we’re shifting the start time for NPR’s flagship afternoon newsmagazine, All Things Considered, up an hour — and public radio’s signature business news show, Marketplace, along with it.
Marketplace now starts at 2 p.m., leading into All Things Considered at 2:30. The World, which has been airing at 2 p.m., is moving to 7 p.m. The Marketplace evening repeat will slide up from 7 p.m. to 6:30.
The other program change now in effect is to make the temporary broadcast of the BBC Newshour in our 12 p.m. hour permanent. We initially made this change in February, the week Russia invaded Ukraine, for two reasons. First, we felt it was important to share the BBC’s on-the-ground reporting of the war with our listeners. And second, we were responding to another changing audience trend: the effect of on-demand audio on live radio listening.
It used to be that if you wanted to catch a radio show — or a TV show, for that matter — you had to turn your radio on at exactly the right time. Now, our favorite audio experiences are available as podcasts, just a finger tap away.
The exception, of course, is when a show is live. Sure, you can track down a Morning Edition or CapRadio News story after it airs. But it’s just not the same as experiencing a live, curated mix of national and local news coverage that keeps you informed and connected with the world around us at that very moment.
We believe the majority of our existing audience — and, according to our research, potential new listeners — want to be able to get the latest NPR and CapRadio news coverage at any time, especially on weekdays. Fewer people are listening to us all day long. The heaviness of the news is taking its toll, and the media landscape is more crowded and competitive than ever before.
So our new weekday program schedule recognizes this evolution in listening habits.
Our previous 12 p.m. show, The Takeaway, was produced for an east coast morning audience and was six hours old by the time CapRadio’s time slot rolled around. That’s too long for a daily topical news show, and we’ve concluded that it’s not the right fit for our schedule.
Similarly, we’ve decided to drop The Daily from The New York Times. It’s been airing at 7:30 p.m. — more than 16 hours after it’s delivered to podcast feeds.
With these changes, CapRadio now offers live news coverage continuously from 2 a.m. through 6:30 p.m., with the exception of Fresh Air at 1 p.m.
The new schedule changes take effect Monday, May 2, on the CapRadio News stations in Sacramento, Stockton-Modesto, Tahoe-Reno and Quincy.
Ben Adler is CapRadio’s Director of Programming and Audience Development.
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