Why Public Radio is More Important Than Ever

The new president and CEO of NPR worked for nearly two decades in broadcast radio. But he says it’s his recent experience as a business executive and investor that will strengthen the 45-year-old media organization.

Check out this conversation with Jarl Mohn about the future of public radio on The Diane Rehm Show:

It’s Not Just the (Lack of) Commercials That Make Us Different

The Principles of Public MediaNot only do commercial and public radio stations sound different from each other, they are also structured in very different ways. While success is measured by ratings and revenue at commercial stations, public radio stations measure their success by community engagement, awards, and impactful programming.

Commercial radio stations are compelled to sell as many advertising spots as possible to keep their stations profitable. Radio advertisements interrupt in traditional, gimmicky and promotional bites you hear on just about every medium, ranging from skeptical weight loss supplements to negative campaign messages every election season.

Public Radio stations are held to higher standard set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The sponsorship announcements that we read on-air are required to meet certain guidelines that only identify our sponsors and give a general description of the entity – a clearer and more concise message.

Our corporate revenue model is based on our small team of fundraisers who meet with proprietors and other community entities to give them the opportunity to become a supporting member of our station, just like our 29,000 individual donating members. With their gift, we air messages that inform our listeners of events happening throughout Michigan and opportunities to support businesses that value public broadcasting.

The revenue from both our corporate sponsors and our members is reinvested into the station to ensure the quality programming you hear every day.

Sponsorship messages are read with the listener in mind. With a maximum of two and a half minutes of local underwriting messages read per hour, listeners will hear and understand each credit because of its ability to stand out.  The average commercial radio station airs 9 minutes of advertisements – and up to 26 minutes during peak listening times.

On Michigan Radio, sponsorship messages stand out, corporate sponsors support a public service, and our success is never rooted in revenue.

Our corporate sponsors are see the value in that.