Most Licensed Story Lengths

We often get asked from producers, “How long should my story be?” To which we respond…”It depends.”

It’s a great question though, so we thought we’d dive-in a little bit more and show you some stats from the past year.

Image via Shutterstock.
Image via Shutterstock.

The Most Licensed Story Lengths of 2014:

55-60 min. (14375 licenses)
0-5 min. (6134 licenses)
50-55 min. (4928 licenses)
5-10 min. (2469 licenses)
115-120 min. (1952 licenses)
25-30 min. (1917 licenses)
20-25 min. (1817 licenses)
10-15 min. (886 licenses)
30-35 min. (533 licenses)
110-115 min. (451 licenses)

Cool numbers but, what does this mean?

Well, first, keep in mind that this is the current licensing habits of the stations on PRX and not reflective of what we think is awesome. We understand there is so much rad work out there that might not fit into a broadcast clock.

To answer your question though, these numbers mean that the most licensed type of work on PRX is the hour-long, weekly series and this has to do with a) the broadcast friendly length and b) that it is recurring content which is licensed every week. Often stations are trying to fill holes during long weekends, or they need to pick up a weekly show to fill their schedule.

And what’s up with those 0 to 5 minute stories?

These numbers also suggest that shorter stories (meaning under 5 minutes) do well also.

Stations often use these to fit into Morning Edition or All Things Considered. Or, some stations have shows where they regularly feature stories from PRX, for example, KFAI’s Listening Lounge. Another great example is our own PRX Remix which is regularly licensing shorter works of around 5 to 10 minutes in length.

Don’t be discouraged, but do keep yourself informed. Check out the new NPR broadcast clocks and start thinking about the length of your story and whether or not it is helping your chances of being licensed by a station.

That’s all well and great but I’m a podcaster and I don’t care about being licensed by stations.

Great, in that case, screw the clocks! Listen to this episode of 99% Invisible and read this article by Julia Barton about the difference in editing for podcast versus broadcast.

Check out more interesting stats from our annual awards ceremony, Zeitfunk 2014.

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