The shift from audience reach to audience impact

Funding public media stations’ ambitions for local service expansion

July 13, 2013
Presented in connection with Public Media Development and Marketing Conference
Hosted at Georgia Public Broadcasting headquarters, Atlanta

In a survey conducted in the fall of 2011, managers from more than 100 public radio stations told us that they want to “go local,” which usually means they seek to expand their capacity to produce local content.

In this session we asked: How will stations finance and sustain this transition?

To prepare for this analysis, we examined 20 years of program-related research, much of which highlights the risks involved in shifting a local station’s content focus from national to local programming. The vast majority of public radio research conducted in the mid-1990′s through 2005 showed that many local productions failed to meet listener expectations and interests. These interests, described within public radio as “core values,” are found in the strongest national programs and are difficult to create and sustain in local programming.

Video archive

Localism and Sustainability

Presentation material
Background material
Analysis and follow-up

Localism emphasis poses risk
Analysis by Mark Fuerst
Published in Current | September 17, 2013

Forum participants

In alphabetical order

  • Barbara Appleby, Co-Founder, Appleby Arganbright
  • Valerie Arganbright, Co-Founder, Appleby Arganbright
  • Ed Beimfohr, Associate Dean, American University School of Communications
  • Josephine Bennett, Station Manager GPB Macon, Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Yvette Cook, VP Development & Chief of Strategy, Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Jennifer Dunworth, Sr. Director Development Resources, NPR
  • Mikel Elcessor, General Manager, WDET, Detroit, Mich.
  • Jeannie Ericson, Executive Director, Integrated Media Assoc.
  • Jody Evans, President & CEO, WCQS, Asheville, N.C.
  • Karen Everhart, Managing Editor, Current
  • Caroline Francis, Development Director, North Carolina’s UNC-TV
  • Mark Fuerst, Director, Public Media Futures Forums, Current
  • Walt Gillette, VP for Development, WAMU, Washington, D.C.
  • Rob Gordon, President  & GM, WPLN-FM, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Scott Hanley, General Manager, WBHM-FM, Birmingham, Ala.
  • Michael Heiplik, Director-Contributor Development, WGBH, Boston
  • Ted Krichels, Consultant, PBS
  • David LeRoy, Co-Director, TRAC Media Services
  • Tanya Ott, VP Radio, Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Bill Overall, Dir. Education & New Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Craig Reed, Director Audience Analysis, TRAC Media Services
  • Dana Rehm, former Senior VP, NPR
  • Jim Russell, Founder, Jim Russell Productions
  • Mack Starks Linebaugh, Dir. New Media & Member Support, WPLN
  • Joel Sucherman, Sr. Director, NPR Digital
  • John Sutton, Founder, JSA/Radio Sutton
  • Terry VanDuyn, Board Member WCQS
  • Connie Walker, General Manager, WUNC-FM, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • John Weatherford, Sr. COO, Public Broadcasting Atlanta

Public Media Professionals who participated in interviews for this Forum

  • Wendy Turner, Vice President, Systems, Chicago Public Media (WBEZ)
  • Kit Jensen, COO, Ideastream, Cleveland, Ohio, and Chair, NPR Board of Directors
  • Don Derheim, VP for Development KQED, San Francisco (Member, DEI Board of Directors)
  • Mikel Ellcessor, General Manager, WDET, Detroit (Chair, DEI Board of Directors)
  • Mike Crane, Executive Director, Wisconsin Public Radio
  • Tom Karlo, CEO, KPBS-TV/FM, San Diego (Member, PBS Board of Directors)
  • Norm Silverstein, WXXI-TV/AM/FM, Rochester, N.Y. (DEI Board of Directors)
  • Rich Homberg, CEO, Detroit Public Television
  • Jennifer Ferro, CEO, KCRW-FM, Santa Monica, CA
  • Caroline Francis, Director of Development, UNC-TV, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Suzanne Zellner, VP Corporate Support, WGBH, Boston
  • Jeff Hansen, Program Director, KUOW-FM, Seattle (Member, PRPD Board of Directors)
  • Crystal Gross, Development Director, WWOZ-FM, New Orleans
  • Malcolm Brett, Dir. of Broadcasting and Media Innovations, Wisconsin Public TV (Member, PBS Board of Directors)
  • Ted Krichels, Project Director/Sustainability Research, PBS
  • Stephen Holmes, Director of Strategy, PBS
  • Paul Jacobs, Partner, Jacobs Media, Southfield, Mich. (Member, DEI Board of Directors)
  • George Bailey, Principal, Walrus Research
  • Arthur Cohen, President, Public Radio Program Directors
  • John Sutton, Principal, John Sutton and Associates
  • Steve Olson, President, Audience Research Analysis
  • Barbara Appleby, Appleby/Argenbright, Saint Paul, Minn.
  • Valerie Arganbright, Appleby/Argenbright, Saint Paul, Minn.
  • Michal Heiplik, Director, Contributor Development Partnership, WGBH
  • Joanne Church, President, Radio Research Consortium
  • Craig Oliver, Research Director, DEI., Inc.
  • David LeRoy, Co-director, TRAC Media Services, Tucson, Arizona
  • Craig Reed, Director of Audience Analysis, TRAC Media Services
  • Jim Russell, Principal, Program Doctor, Chapel Hill, N.C.

People who contributed through email contacts or by filing suggestions in our online survey

  • Jon McTaggart, President and CEO, Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media
  • Robin Turnau, CEO, Vermont Public Radio (Member, Board of Directors, DEI)
  • Regina Dean, General Manager, WUOT-FM, Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Tim Eby, CEO, St. Louis Public Radio
  • Neenah Ellis, GM, WYSO-FM, Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • Glenn Gleixner, CEO,  WVTF-FM and RADIO IQ, Roanoke, Va.
  • Jo Anne Wallace, VP and GM, KQED-FM, San Francisco (member, Board of Directors, PRPD)
  • Walt Gillette,  Director of Development, WAMU/Bluegrass Country, Washington, D.C.
  • Paul Westhelle, Executive Director, Jefferson Public Radio, Ashland, Ore.
  • Bill Davis, CEO, Southern California Public Radio, Los Angeles, Calif. (Member, Board of Directors, NPR)
  • Anthony Brandon, President and GM, WYPR, Baltimore, Md.
  • Kate Lochte, Station Manager, WKMS FM, Murray, Ky.
  • Richard McPherson, Chief Innovation Officer, Next Generation Fundraising, Inc.
  • Ed Subkis, General Manager, KHSU,  Arcata, Calif.
  • Karen Olstead, Chief Operating Officer, WOSU Public Media, Columbus, Ohio
  • Tom Godell, General Manager, WUKY, Lexington, Ky.

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