NPR gets it

In tandem with what’s been going on at the BBCNPR here in the states has been working for the past several months to re-imagine and re-build itself under a plan called “Blueprint For Growth“. (PDF HERE)

Some interesting parts of the plan –

Members of the public radio community must shift their focus from competing with each other to uniting against competition from other media.

NPR says it will help public radio grow a “trusted space” for its listeners by putting the audience experience first in importance, investing in the system’s health and restructuring internally when needed to support those goals.

“This is stretching the conventions of the public radio system in ways that no one has really even considered before,” says Dan DeVany, g.m. of WETA-FM in Washington, D.C.

“NPR execs are planning a multi-genre digital music service that “will make it easy for the audience to find, audition, explore, share, store and purchase music in all its forms,” the blueprint says. NPR and partners will design the service this year and launch it early next year.

And . . .

. . . public radio to become a true network by embracing openness, pooling resources and brainpower, and inviting listeners to become active participants in creating and sharing content.

By encouraging audience engagement with content that informs and enriches their lives, public radio’s relationship with them will be strengthened”

Social Media = not just for kids. K?

What’s most remarkable to me about NPR’s “plan for growth” is that it is centered around core product and business model innovation – rather than acquisition.

That stands in stark contrast to commercial radio where, if I’m to believe my new bosses – a new wave of consolidation is about to begin wherein perhaps as few as 3-5 total radio owners will lord over commercial radio broadcasting.

Doubtful much “innovating” will occur in that type environment. Hope I’m wrong.

Public Radio in general has been way out in front in adopting new media – yes they have way more original content – but commercial broadcasting could be negotiating rights to podcast and offer download services if it wanted to. I don’t know why it didn’t or isn’t.

The point is – NPR and public radio in general appear way more willing to question their current business as usual meothds and come up with new ways to ensure they have a place (PodShare) in the digital media future.

Funny how absent among all NPR’s high-minded idealism is any mention of trying to build, promote or sell a new broadcast radio device.

As I’m often compelled to ask – where it terrestrial radio’s “Blueprint For Growth“?

I’m sure Wall Street is wondering the same thing, although I’m inclinded to believe they’ll be satisfied (in the short term) with further consolidation.

Is our only growth to be derived through rolling out hundreds of automated Satcaster-esque channels on HD Radio?

Is it found in reducing the number of broadcasting companies – same sized pie – fewer plates at the table?

Is that really growth?


One Response to NPR gets it

  1. Just discovered your blog and am enjoying it. On the subject of “a new broadcast radio device,” I posted on Sunday a proposal for such a device. Actually, I think that the device already exists — almost — but needs some software development. If you dig around on my site, you’ll see that I’m a member of the NPR board of directors, and I was involved in the “Blueprint” work you site, but this post shouldn’t be associated with the NPR board in any way. –Dennis Haarsager, GM, Northwest Public Radio, KWSU/KTNW-TV

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