Three Things Datebook for Week of 4/4/2022
This week: It's Spring Training time for public radio programmers. Plus, sticky media consumption habits and digital trends plus building a culture of philanthropy.
A quick note as we begin this week to check out a fascinating piece from former KPCC Executive Editor Melanie Sill on WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio. It’s a long read but definitely worth reading. Also, there’s a virtual event on the state of journalism with an excellent panel hosted by Muck Rack on Tuesday, April 5 at 1:00 pm (Eastern). Here’s the link to register.
THING ONE: Opening Day in the Big Leagues, but time for Spring Training in Public Radio
One of the (few) positive developments coming from the pandemic has been the increased and intentional efforts to provide professional development virtually across industries and disciplines. While I still believe that being in the same room for conversations and learning is preferred, the ability to cost-effectively reach more participants has proven to be an excellent training tool that will stay with us far into the next normal.
Last year, the Public Radio Program Directors Association (PRPD) offered a series of sessions designed to help public radio programmers - veterans and newcomers - be more brilliant on the basics. The 2021 topics ranged from managing your underwriting and promotional inventory appropriately, making the most of your on-air promotion strategy, “Stationality,” excellent copy, and great production.
Last year’s video sessions and the presentation slide decks are still available on the PRPD website and worth downloading and sharing with staff.
And PRPD’s Spring Training is back this year just in time for Major League Baseball’s Opening Day.
The 2022 version starts this week, kicking off five excellent topics beginning with two conversations on the critical topic of talent and coaching. The first session of the series is this Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 3:00 pm (Eastern), focused on Building Your Own Talent Bench.
I shared one idea on this topic in last week’s Three Things with the podcast incubator program that Louisville Public Media started last year. The webinar on Wednesday will cover a range of ideas, including how to effectively engage with freelancers and stringers to bring more diverse voices to your organization.
Also, Kelsey McConnell, the Program Director with the USC Radio Group, will share her experience with a paid internship program her organization offers that is bringing young and diverse talent into the classical music format. Joining Kelsey in the conversation will be Amanda Hickman, the Interim Executive Director of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), with Abby Goldstein, PRPD’s President & Executive Director, moderating the webinar.
The program’s second session focuses on talent coaching, which I think is one of the program director's most important, and unfortunately often neglected, responsibilities. The legendary Scott Williams will bring his years of knowledge in working with talent to this webinar as the moderator that will feature other industry leaders, including Rachel Stewart, the Program Director at WDAV in Charlotte.
This session on Talent Coaching takes place on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 3:00 pm (Eastern).
The series continues into May and June with a program on the Anatomy of a Perfect Break on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, On-air Fundraising on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, and closing on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, with a discussion about Telling Your Story with Data.
The start time for all of these webinars is 3:00 pm (Eastern). These are free and open to all, and you can register for any or all of the sessions at this link.
THING TWO: A Conversation Exploring Media Consumption Habits and Digital Trends Most Likely to Stick
In the February 10, 2022 edition of Three Things, I shared details of YouGov’s Global media outlook report for the year that provided some fascinating data on how news consumption has changed over the last three years within the US and the UK.
The research found that while overall news consumption penetrations have remained steadily high over the last three years, traditional media sources (TV, radio, and print) have experienced a consistent decline, suggesting a gradual shift to digital news sources.
The report also used a series of consumer metrics that YouGov has created to help profile and quantify where growth will come from and which media types are likely to “stick” in the next 12 months. One of the platforms considered to be “sticky” is radio.
The report stated that “Radio is a media of habit, and listening often revolves around routines, for example, listening to the radio in the car on the way to work. The pandemic disrupted many work and lifestyle routines in 2020, which has in turn impacted media consumption.
“Whilst radio registered the highest proportion of consumers globally who claimed to reduce their consumption last year, those who stuck with radio consumption appear they will remain loyal in 2022, with 91% intending to stick with radio in the next 12 months.”
As a follow-up to this published report from earlier this year, YouGov is hosting a live online panel discussion with thought-leaders from media and advertising, exploring which media consumption habits and digital trends are likely to stick. The session will take place on Wednesday, April 6, at 1:00 pm (Eastern).
The conversation will discuss how agencies, brands, and media operators can navigate ever-evolving media consumption behaviors and habits. The session will also delve into media growth opportunities for media planners and brand marketers alike.
Among those taking part in the discussion will be Jules Newby, YouGov’s Global Sector Head of Media, Laura McElhinney, EVP and Chief Data Officer with Horizon Media, and Faon Mahunik, EVP and North American Head of Intelligence with Havas Media Group.
Others speakers are also expected to be added to the conversation, and you can register for this free webinar with this link.
I’m very interested in hearing Faon Mahinik from Havas Media because of the company’s work around the idea of “meaningful media.”
A colleague of Mahinik, Maureen Dawson, wrote a thoughtful blog post in Broadcasting & Cable in October 2020 on News, Democracy And How Meaningful Media Could Save It All.
The piece focused on the need for a more civic-minded and consciously curated media landscape for advertisers to coalesce around built on three fundamental principles:
Commit to Financially Supporting Quality Journalism. Written at the height of the pandemic and just before the November 2020 election, this was a call to the industry to continue to invest in advertising with quality news outlets. “Advertising revenue is critical to information access. When major subscription newspapers made their coronavirus coverage free, this sent an important message: people should have access to certain information, regardless of their ability to pay. We need to support providing all citizens with comprehensive perspectives on difficult topics. Further, we need to identify and underwrite publishers in under-covered news deserts and historically marginalized communities.”
Reimagine Brand Safety. Dawson notes that brands shouldn’t have to avoid politics as it seeks brand safety. “The current tenor of news is not an excuse to hide in the recipe section because you’re in a certain category or to invest only with the most centrist or neutral publishers. To better fund better journalism, brands will need to pay more attention to media plans and partnerships than in the past.”
Use and Develop Technology Responsibly. The blog post points to the dangers of social media on civic discourse and mental health and calls for designing products with an honest accounting of the impact on human sensitivities and group dynamics. “As advertising organizations and individuals, we have the power to put pressure on social media platforms to design a more citizen-oriented experience. No doubt some changes are in tension with marketers’ incentives to capture and keep consumer attention, and others will require expanded industry regulation. It’s worth it.”
The post closes with some inspiration.
The stakes are high.
Democracy and a robust free press remain profoundly interconnected: An informed citizen base requires widespread access to credible information; and widespread access to credible information requires advertising support. We cannot predict the outcome of the election or the future of news media with certainty, but we have a critical role to play in both.
And to further the belief that there is a podcast for virtually every topic, Havas also produces a monthly podcast on the subject of “Meaningful Media.”
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THING THREE: Building a Culture of Philanthropy in Public Media
One thing that’s been sticking in my head over the past few weeks was the comment made by CDP’s Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Patterson, in the State of The System 2021 webinar that “the biggest opportunity in public media is growing gifts of $1,000 or more with over $100 million in annual revenue possible by improved performance in this area.”
Think about what an additional $100 million could mean to the local service that public media provides in cities and towns across America?
It could be transformative.
However, to get there, one thing that needs to change across public media is adopting a Culture of Philanthropy inside many of our organizations.
A culture of philanthropy is one in which everyone —board, staff, and CEO — plays a part in raising resources for the organization.
It’s about relationships, not just money. It’s as much about keeping donors as acquiring new ones and seeing them as having more than just money to bring to the table. And it’s a culture in which fund development is a valued and mission-aligned component of everything the organization does.
That definition is from a report from Cynthia M. Gibson of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund titled, BEYOND FUNDRAISING: What Does it Mean to Build A Culture of Philanthropy?
In a recent blog post from the prospect research company DonorSearch, the company elaborated on Gibson’s report, suggesting six guiding questions to help an organization build a Culture of Philanthropy. The post focused on how this would apply to a healthcare organization, but the ideas translate perfectly to public media.
Does your leadership “get it?” Proactive CEOs realize just how valuable philanthropic support is to the sustainability of their organization. Above all, your culture of philanthropy will only succeed if your leadership must be “an instigator, a champion, and a role model to bring fundraising into the heart of the organization and keep it there.”
Can your leadership get your board to be champions of a culture of philanthropy? Boards need to take responsibility for leading and modeling a culture of philanthropy in the organizations they govern. If the board doesn’t care or “get it,” then the burden will rest solely on the staff – and your efforts will fail.
Can your content leaders and staff (journalists and on-air talent) also be philanthropy champions? The on-air talent and journalists have unique and special opportunities to talk to audiences about how philanthropic support sustains their work.
Many public media organizations struggle with this because of concerns related to the firewall and donor influence on content. However, everyone across a public media organization needs to recognize philanthropy's role in sustaining and growing the institution.
Since the on-air talent are the ones that grateful listeners and readers often volunteer to support as an expression of gratitude, they should be able to say “you’re welcome” and talk about ways to give.
Is your mission clear and easy to talk about? Everyone in the organization should be able to talk about it compellingly to potential donors and others involved in your work.
Does everyone on the team understand the value of philanthropy? Do you give them the chance to participate in development activities and even employee giving? Staff needs to be able to see how fundraising “fits” with the organization and how fundraising is essential and noble work.
Can you develop policies, procedures, and measurable goals to make them concrete? Your staff and the board need a formal blueprint with measurable goals in your performance metrics, like achieving 100% by a specific date.
As organizations build a culture of philanthropy from top to bottom, it can help increase giving levels and donor retention; strengthen trust, cooperation, and engagement among board and staff members, and align mission and program goals more seamlessly with revenue generation.
The folks at DonorSearch get major gift fundraising. Their work in assisting nonprofits effectively and efficiently identify donors helps take a lot of the guesswork out of prospecting for major gifts.
As part of its “Budget for Better Net” series of webinars, CPD is presenting a session this Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at 2:00 pm (Eastern), showcasing how the insights and data found in prospect research can be a powerful tool in running a successful major giving program.
According to CDP, more than 65 stations are already using DonorSearch. If your organization isn’t one of them, this webinar should help you see how wealth screening, artificial intelligence, and other services can help your major giving program.
The webinar is free, and you can register here.
One More Thing.
Last week, two dozen folks from across public media joined me to talk about Public Media and the “Great Resignation.” I’ll share with you later this week some of the ideas discussed by the participants and a link to the full video of the conversation.
During the session, one item that I mentioned when we talked about salary competitiveness at stations is a survey led by New Hampshire Public Radio and the Wilson Group. This compensation consultancy specializes in executive, sales, and total employee compensation.
NHPR’s CEO Jim Schachter shared details about the survey with many station leaders last week. Still, I wanted to give it an additional plug since I think this is a very valuable and important activity for stations to be a part of at this moment in time.
Schachter noted in his communication that NHPR sponsored the salary survey last year with participation from 30 stations of all sizes across the country. He pointed out that the findings helped the organization make pay more equitable and competitive.
This year, the Wilson Group is assuming full responsibility for the survey. If stations are interested in participating, they should contact Rhonda Farrington (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Katherine Berg (email@example.com) to request survey submission forms.
As noted in the graphic above, the deadline to express your interest is in early May, and the completed survey submissions are due back to the consultants by June 3.
Stations would then receive the report on July 29.
That’s the Three Things Datebook for this week. Thanks for reading.
Stickiness: Those who claim to have maintained or increased their consumption of each media type in the last 12 months, and are likely to maintain or consume more in the next 12 months.
Horizon Media is the third-largest U.S. media agency according to COMvergence data.
Maureen Dawson is a senior VP, Insights and Data Strategy at Havas Media.