The 2017 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, brought St. Louis Public Radio many reasons to celebrate. Among them, an expansion of our service to public radio fans in south-central Missouri, award-winning journalism and double-digit percent increases in listeners, donors and corporate sponsors.
The station partnered with Missouri University of Science & Technology and assumed operations of KMST in Rolla. General Manager Tim Eby spoke to the benefits of the acquisition. “We're pleased to continue to provide a strong public radio service to listeners in the Rolla area. KMST listeners will get expanded news coverage from the Missouri Statehouse, as well as the rest of our award-winning news team and programs like St. Louis on the Air and the St. Louis Symphony concert broadcasts, when they resume this fall.”
We continue to be recognized for our quality reporting and content. In 2017, we won three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in electronic journalism. Our website was recognized for its collaborative work of the newsroom and digital media. An award for Continuing Coverage went to Camille Phillips, Willis Ryder Arnold, Durrie Bouscaren, Jason Rosenbaum and Eli Chen for Winter Flooding. Tim Lloyd, Kameel Stanley and Brent Jones won in the News Documentary category for Suspended Futures. For that work, they also won a 2017 Public Radio News Directors Award for best podcast in a large market and a 2017 Education Writers Association Award. St. Louis Magazine selected The Millennium Mayor as part of its 2017 A-List for media. That podcast series and website chronicled St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s 16 years of service to the city and reached thousands of listeners through our broadcast and digital platforms.
Interest in and support for St. Louis Public Radio grew among listeners, donors and corporate sponsors. Our weekly broadcast audience grew by 8% and our market share by 28.6%. Visits to our website approached 2 million, a 14% increase, and visitors registered 5.5 million page views, an increase of 15%. The popularity of our podcasts also grew. Over 230,000 listeners downloaded Season 2 of We Live Here, and 90,000 have already downloaded the first three episodes of Season 3.
Our expanded audience and increased interest in St. Louis Public Radio’s content led more listeners to pledge financial support. Donor revenue grew by 17%. The number of new donors exceeded 3,600, a growth of 19%. Over half of our active donors are sustaining members, and the number of young donors who joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Generation Listen now exceeds 3,000, a 33% increase. Corporate sponsorships increased by 12.7%, exceeding our station’s budget by 5.2%.
Our events continue to connect with listeners and donors. St. Louis on the Air provided an extraordinary public service to the St. Louis region by hosting several live-audience events during the fall election season. The program’s stories on ballot initiatives were among the most viewed of the year. In March of 2017, our Annual Dinner, Talk Toast Taste, raised a record net profit of $137,241. We also established or renewed partnerships with Sauce Magazine, St. Louis Symphony, The St. Louis American, Nine Network of Public Media, Grand Center Inc., Off Broadway, St. Louis County Library, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Maryville Talks Books, St. Louis Storytelling Festival, The Story Collider, Science Friday and To the Best of Our Knowledge.
“We're grateful for the amazing support we've received from the St. Louis region over the past year,” said Eby. “It's an honor that our audience trusts us for news, information and entertainment on-air and on-line. We look forward to the service we can provide in the coming year.”