Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Not Just for FM Anymore

The survey of listeners and donors to the Best of Public Radio 2008 special showed that the more ways listeners accessed public radio content -- multiple stations, the web, podcasts -- the more likely they were to donate to their favorite station.*

This is an important lesson. Using more public radio content, even if not on their favorite station, has a positive impact on giving to that station.

This shouldn't be a surprise. Past studies have shown that the more listeners use public radio, even when using more than one station, the more likely they are to donate.

Listeners' conception of what public radio is today has changed. It's much broader than the industry's conception of itself.

Public radio is radio plus podcasts plus streaming plus printed information on the web. It is a local station plus plus the This American Life site plus whatever.

Live in Baltimore and want to hear All Thing Considered at 8pm? Stream KPBS. You still wake up and drive to work listening to Morning Edition on WYPR and catch Diane Rehm during the day. If you miss Wait Wait Don't Tell Me at 11a on Saturday, you can still hear it over the weekend at your convenience on your computer or iPod. And you still donate to WYPR.

A public radio station's path to better audience service and greater financial security doesn't begin with hoping listeners won't use public radio on the web or through a podcast. It begins with great programming and an understanding of how listeners now conceive public radio.

It's not just for FM anymore.

* You can see some of the survey results beginning on page 24 of the BOPR 2008 project report.

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Blogger Jeff Hansen said...


This posting reminds me of our conversation at a PRPD conference about blogs in which you said it is crucial not to assign blogging duties to your full-time program producers. You made the point that you really need to have dedicated staffing for if blogging etc. is really going to be effective. Have you changed your mind about that? If not, it would be important to include that in your posting. During these difficult economic times it is all about allocation of scarce resources. Actually that is true all the time, but especially true now. Best - Jeff Hansen

12:57 PM  
Blogger RadioSutton said...

Jeff -- Thanks for the comment. I don't think our findings change anything when it comes to local talent doing blogs. If anything, they reinforce my belief that radio programming must come first. Listeners still must be core listeners to give. On-line adds to that experience for most listeners. And on-line experiences don't have to be with your station's site for you to benefit. It's still about radio.

6:47 PM  

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