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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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Dan Kelley

Great piece Fred! Just a clarification: The WTVS video was produced by WTVS itself and provided to the MAB.


Thanks for the clarification, Dan. Best to you and everyone at the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.


Educational breakdown, eh? So if the more "well to do" listen to Public Radio/TV, then they can cough up in donations to make up for the lack of government funding, no? Oh wait, that would mean there's a link between higher education and higher earning which there is not. Oops, sorry.


The public radio station in Dallas-Fort Worth plays alternative, indie rock. It's about as "educational" as a Trashcan Sinatras concert. And, yes, NPR, especially NPR news, has a definite left-wing bias. And I'd rather listen to a spot break any old day than those wretched and annoying pledge drives!


Thanks to all for the comments. A few thoughts in response. First, no one is saying there should be a correlation between education and earnings. One thing has nothing to do with the other. It is about serving a larger audience for terrestrial radio.

And not every public radio station is necessarily "educational." But most strive to provide alternatives to commercial radio by providing different programming offerings. It isn't always successful, but that's the goal.

Tom Zachman

I remember a few months ago when the public broadcasters first responded to the possiblity of losing these funds and they all seemed to say that only a small portion came from the US Taxpayer (maybe US BORROWER) but now the other side of their mouth seems to cry gloom and loss of programming.

I don't know which side to believe but I REALLY don't understand why I haven't read a single word about the POTENTIAL of resetting the rules regarding the sale of advertising instead of asking for underwriting.

If I was still working for a pair of NCE college owned stations, i'd be jumping for joy at the chance to change the way these stations are can sell their time and influence.


My sense, Tom, is that funding is very much a market by market situation. There are large market stations and well-established outlets that are probably in great shape. And there are smaller market stations that need the financial reinforcement.

The underwriting point is an interesting one. I don't suspect that most public radio stations have a huge desire to start selling "spots," but given some of the ratings of some big players, you never know.

Another angle to the underwriting situation is that if public radio stations are forced to generate more dollars on their own, they become yet another competitive threat on the local market scene, and that's probably something that their commercial radio brethren wouldn't relish.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and to comment.

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