Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Quiz #5 Answers

The answers to questions 1 and 2 of Quiz #5 come from the Walrus Research report Heavy Givers and they are important facts to keep in mind as public radio seeks to increase giving from mid-level and major donors.

1. True or false. People who give larger annual gifts are more loyal to public radio than people who give smaller annual gifts.

True. On average, Heavy Givers spend 64% of their total weekly radio listening time with public radio. Light Givers spend 53% of their total weekly radio listening time with public radio.

2. People who give $100 or more annually listen to public radio:

c) An average of 15.75 hours per week. High levels of listening and loyalty are essential to converting a listener into a giver and a giver into a Heavy Giver. Without this listening, the fundraising staff is at a disadvantage.

3. True or false. The biggest difference between listeners who give and listeners who don’t give is fundraising resentment. That is – non-givers resent being asked for money while givers do not.

False. The biggest difference between givers and non-givers is their loyalty to public radio. People who contribute to public radio give the greatest percentage of their listening time to public radio.


Blogger Aaron Read said...

Sorry to post this here, I probably should've just e-mailed but I don't know your e-mail address. :-)

I was thinking the other day about ways NPR can improve its relationship with its affiliates; both fiscal and managerial/operational. It's something I feel public radio cannot ignore forever, not without nasty consequences as non-AM/FM distribution channels become more and more common.

One thing that occurred to me - why hasn't program exclusivity within a market been put on the table? Maybe my perspective is skewed given my location (Boston) but it seems like a lot of towns with more than one pubradio outlet have tremendous overlap in their programming. For example, both WBUR and WGBH air:

SHOW (overlap/week)
Morning Edition (15 hours)
All Things Considered (7.5 hours)
Weekend Edition (4 hours)
Marketplace (2.5 hours)

This is both in Boston proper and throughout Cape Cod as well. Plus both air a lot of the top of the hour NPR newscasts.

So that's 29 hours per week (nearly a fifth), pretty much all of it in primetime, where I can hear the same thing on two major signals in greater Boston.

That can't be good. It erodes brand identity. It reduces airtime for new and potentially innovative programming. Worst of all, the two stations often don't coordinate their when one is begging for money, I can switch to the other and keep listening to what I want to hear "for free".

On the plus side, one could argue that the "competition" drives each station/local-network to be quick and nimble to find new ways of retaining listeners. But I'm not sure how much competition that really drives; I suspect there's too many pressures pushing slow & deliberate change (if any change at all) that negate the "nimbleness" concept that competition frequently champions.

Is this problem smaller/bigger than I suspect it is? Has the idea already been tried? I freely admit I don't know much about the complicated world of programming, but the idea of exclusivity does seem to make a lot of sense to me.

10:29 AM  
Blogger RadioSutton said...

Good question. There are several reasons for programming duplication.

1. NPR's is a membership organization. All full members of NPR are entitled to equal privileges.

2. NPR benefits enormously on the financial side from the extra Cume and AQH generated by multiple affiliates. It helps with underwriting sales. It generates increased revenue from programming fees. It means more people get invited to shop at the NPR shop.

3. There is some benefit to the stations (though many will debate this point) because it casts a wider net across the radio dial in which to capture new listeners. The best advertising for Morning Edition is Morning Edition, even if it is on a competing station. Eventually listeners to your competitor will hear ME on your station. That's an opportunity to cross promote to differentiated programming and keep those listeners coming back to you.

4. Listeners who give to two stations appear to give more money to each station than listeners who only listener to and give to just one station. I say "appear" because there have only been small studies on this topic and that was many years ago. It's worth researching again but I'd be surprised if the results changed for the worse. We have a research-based saying in fundraising; "the more they give, the more they will give." Since the news magazines drive so much revenue, stations can pay the fees to NPR and still generate a surplus to fund general operations.

9:32 PM  

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