Sept. 17, 2013
In this session, organized in collaboration with the Public Radio Program Directors Association, we examined the size and composition of the total public radio program economy.
Our analysis began with a review of some new elements in the system: Kickstarter funding and “direct-to-producer,” small-gift fund raising. We analyzed the CPB Annual Financial Reports from 290 public radio licensees to identify trends in program and production spending over the last decade (from 2001 through 2012) and compared those changes to the increase in national syndication fees at the three major program networks (NPR, PRI and APM). The comparison demonstrated the continued strength of public radio’s economy, driven largely by the growth of individual giving, accompanied by a shift in program investment toward local/regional productions and a concentration of financial strength in the top tier of stations (measured by annual budget).
We compared the financial results in public radio with the disruption of the national newspaper economy and identified four specific vulnerabilities that could lead to “unraveling” in the decade ahead.
Powerpoint from PRPD Conference Session, September 2013 (revised and edited)
A digital revolution for public radio fundraising, commentary by John Sutton
Infinite Dial 2013 (part of continuing Edison/Arbitron Research Series)
Copyright 2013 American University