Public Radio Study Looks At Elements That Predict Ratings Success
June 23, 2011 at 4:30 AM (PT)
An updated version of WALRUS RESEARCH and the STATION RESOURCE GROUP's study of public radio station performance in 30 large markets shows some correlation between station ratings and the percentage of adults with college educations, asserting that "best market predictor of News station performance is the educational level."
Discarding market size and number of stations in a market as accurate predictors of station success, the study found three variables that, together, predict public News station performance, core composition of cume, market college graduate composition, and news format franchise exclusivity. "A station can’t change attributes of its market’s population," the report said. "Having the exclusive news format franchise is valuable, but also not usually under a station’s control. What stations can do is create programming that generates dedicated listening, a format that increases core composition. That, it turns out, is the most powerful of these three elements in predicting the difference in news station performance."
Other findings included that the size of stations' news departments is not a predictor of audience share or core composition of the audience. "There is no systematic evidence that hiring more news staff will increase a station’s share of listening in its market or that it will lead to more listener support relative to the size of its audience," the report said, but it was noted that "stations that deliver more public service – as indicated by higher audience shares and greater audience reach – raise more money from their listeners and spend more money on news staff. Because they can."
Read the entire report by clicking here.