Thursday, January 31, 2008

WOUB 1-Day Thursday: Over Goal

More than 560 people pledged as part of WOUB's 1-Day Thursday. The goal was 500 pledges with just one day of fundraising instead of seven.

The days leading up to these pledge drive-shortening efforts can be stressful. A lot is at stake. Yet, the goals are met or exceeded most of the time.

It pays to trust the listeners. They will come through.

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WOUB 1-Day Thursday: Relationships

There's a great Irish music session on Tuesday nights at Jackie O's brew pub in Athens, Ohio. Most nights, you'll find WOUB-FM music host Mark Hellenberg on percussion and WOUB Program Director and music host Rusty Smith playing guitar.

This past Tuesday, a new guitar player sat in on the session. It wasn't until one of the breaks that he was introduced to Mark and Rusty. His reaction was priceless. It turns out that the WOUB folks had introduced him to lots of new music and inspired his musicianship. It was a truly joyful moment for this guy to meet the radio people who brought so much good into his life.

It's a good reminder that relationships with our audience aren't built through web sites, eblasts, newsletters, and such. Those are just tools. Relationships are built through shared values and meaningful personal experiences.

When was the last time you witnessed a listener-moment like the one at Jackie O's last Tuesday night? I'm not talking about getting compliments at a major donor event or advisory board meeting. When was the last time it happened when you least expected it?

Please, share your stories.

1-Day Drive update. Under 100 pledges to go as of 2p,

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WOUB 1-Day Thursday: No Big List of Premiums, Average Gift Up

12n update. 156 pledges to go. Every hourly goal has been met.

Average gift is $81.53. That's about $6 higher than WOUB's regular drives, which feature a wide-range of premiums.

All this in a "down" economy.

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WOUB's 1-Day Thursday: Halfway There

All hourly goals were met this morning. Just 248 pledges to go as of 9a. There's been a good mix of new members, renewing members, and people making additional gifts. It's especially nice to hear from long-time lapsed donors.

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1-Day Thursday at WOUB

WOUB in Athens, Ohio is having a one day pledge drive today. The typical January drive lasts seven days. WOUB has a weekly Cume of around 50,000 listeners.

The goal is 500 pledges and the station is off to a great start. 85 web pledges came in over the last few days in response to pre-drive on-air promos. They count towards the 500.

The goal for 6a was 20 pledges. It took 28 minutes to reach the goal.

And they say Athens, Ohio doesn't wake up early.

More updates later today.

On-line at

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

PPM and Public Radio Pledge Drives

Earlier today, John Sutton & Associates and Paragon Media Strategies presented the first study on public radio pledge drives using Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) data. The presentation was organized by DEI and presented with the help of the Radio Research Consortium. We'll provide a link to the presentation as soon at it is on-line.

It's early in the PPM game. We expect that some of what we're learning now will change or evolve as we analyze more pledge drives in more markets. This study analyzed Fall pledge drives in Houston, Philadelphia, and New York. Here are some of the highlights:

- AQH (Average Quarter-Hour) audiences during the drive went down as much as 36% compared to the three weeks leading up to the drive. AQH dropped because Daily Cume and Daily time spent listening dropped. Weekly Cume was affected at some stations but not others.

- AQH went up 3.7% during the pledge drive at KUHF in Houston. This was different from audience response to KUHF's Spring 2007 drive, when AQH went down 16%. KUHF made many strategic changes between Spring and Fall, including moving pledge drive producing responsibilities from the Development department to the Programming department. It is too soon to determine cause and effect, if that can even be done, but we plan to research this impressive result further.

- Audience recovery after pledge drives was quick. AQH audiences returned to pre-drive levels or higher at most of the stations almost immediately after the drives ended.

There's much more in the presentation. And we'll post additional findings and insights on the blog.

Questions? Feel free to write me,

Here's the link to slides from our first study on PPM and Public Radio Ratings. It's at

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Relationships Are In

New Year's In/Out lists are "In" this year. The RadioSutton list has just one item on it.

Relationships are In.

Of course, relationships have always been in, public radio hasn't given them enough attention.

So let this be the year that hardware and software become less important than the people they serve. And let this be the year to stop congratulating each other on what we make and start focusing on the impact it has in our communities.

I started thinking about this while working with Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) data. The technology is impressive. It shows listeners' real time response to programming down to the minute. It even shows listener tune out during pledge drives.

More impressive is what PPM can reveal about the relationship between a station and its listeners. PPM shows listeners returning after pitch breaks and after pledge drives. It shows listeners to commercial stations returning after long commercial breaks. Why do they do they come back when they do? Why do they come back at all? Their behaviors not only give us insights about the value received, they also show that the listeners have developed a relationship with the station.

After the last few years of trying to figure out what web streaming, podcasting, HD Radio, social networking, and other technology tools mean to radio, it's time to ask the question, "what's meaningful to the people we serve?"

This is the year to better understand and cultivate those relationships.

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