#MuckedUp chat Tuesday: keeping public radio relevant
Last year about 32 million Americans listened to public radio every week. Despite competition from the Internet, television and newspapers, the percentage of Americans who tune in is pretty much the same as it was 10 years ago, according to the Pew Research Center's 2013 State of the News Media study.
Perhaps even more surprising is a December study by Nielsen that revealed that the average American listens to about:
14 hours of AM or FM radio per week – more than the total amount of time spent per week using DVD players, streaming video on mobile devices and the Internet, using game consoles and using the Internet on a traditional computer.
The only thing Americans spend more time doing is watching TV. Which means that terrestrial radio, the dinosaur that was supposed to be slayed by "superior" platforms like iTunes, Pandora and Sirius/XM, is actually doing quite well. And for public radio, there's a huge amount of growth potential to tap into. After all the U.S. audience totals about 242 million listeners on a weekly basis, a whopping 91% of people aged 12 and older.
The question of how to maintain and grow audience in a time of increasing competition is an ongoing challenge. One of the main problems, says J.J. Yore, who helped create the show Marketplace, is that public radio organizations need to figure out what their goals are. Specifically, how they deliver content, and whether that content, or the platform it's served on, is their main bread-and-butter.
That means public radio stations need to produce content that has unique value for their market, for example for news station if that's local breaking news, analysis, or in-depth reporting. Once a station defines their content focus they have to distribute that content on multiple platforms - via web, mobile, apps, and the air waves - in ways that work best on each.
This week on the chat we'll talk about how to keep public radio vital and relevant, and we'll be joined by Yore, who will be our special guest. The Columbia J-School grad spent more than two decades at the forefront of one of public radio's flagship programs, and worked as a reporter, editor and producer before helping grow the show from the management side. He knows public radio. And he'll be a valuable guest to bounce your questions off of.
Join us Tuesday, January 7th from 8 to 9 EST for the first #MuckedUp chat of 2014.