Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More on Spending Less

The industry trade publication Current is starting a discussion on public radio spending and audience growth. You can find it here.

Here's a cross posting of a response I added to the discussion earlier today. The topic is what it will cost to reach new listeners under the current spending model.
Under the current spending model, reaching 100,000 weekly listeners with an NPR News formatted station costs between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000 annually.

Embedded in those costs are the efficiencies of network programming. Stations get world class content at a fraction of its true cost.

Most of those efficiencies don't exist for content aimed at new audiences. It's not unreasonable to expect that it would cost 50% more, under the current way of doing business, to reach 100,000 new listeners whether they were Latino, African-American, or younger.

Reaching 100,000 new listeners could cost as much as $3,000,000 per year if the new service is structured the way public radio is structured today.

That level of expense won't be supported by the marketplace. Such a station would do well to generate $1.5 million in business and listener support.

The spending model must change to support new audience growth. Either that, or CPB is going to have to redirect current investments to audience growth efforts.

Here's an interesting question, will a station in Kansas accept a lower CSG to help grow the audience in LA?

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