Distribution as Promotion – Rekha on Growing the Audience

PRX’s Rekha Murthy was recently invited to add her thoughts to the Station Resource Group’s (SRG) collection of short essays on how to “widen the use and deepen the value of public radio’s service.”   SRG is putting the finishing touches on Grow the Audience – an important and much-anticipated research initiative funded by CPB. You can read more about the full project and download more of the preliminary reports and essays here.

Download the PDF of Rekha’s essay, excerpted here.

Distribution as Promotion
Setting public radio objects in motion

by Rekha Murthy
Public Radio Exchange (PRX)

Six years ago, I left NPR to work with Web and mobile media. Now I’m back in public
radio, with Public Radio Exchange, and I think of that time away as a really long aircheck.
I’m no longer the listener I used to produce for at All Things Considered: terrestrial
broadcast is only a fraction of a listening experience that has become fragmented and
dynamic. I stream station and show feeds from across the country, catching Morning
Edition on KCRW when I oversleep on a snowy morning, and sticking around for sunny
weather reports and Morning Becomes Eclectic. My browser’s bookmarks include On the
Media, Studio 360, This American Life, and All Songs Considered. I download podcasts like
World Cafe, alt.NPR, and The World Technology Podcast. I tend to listen to All Things
Considered by scanning the online rundowns and streaming only what grabs my interest.
Even when I do use my radio receiver, I’ll then go to the Web to email a good story or
episode to friends and post the link on a social bookmarking site. The Web is where I find
new listening, too.

This experience of fragmentation and recombination forms the basis of how I think about
growing the public radio audience.

Break Public Radio Down to Build It Back Up
Public radio is often talked about as a single entity. In some ways – such as mission and
standards – it is, and we should continue to raise public awareness at the entity level.
However, there’s another kind of outreach that has great potential in today’s fragmented
media landscape, one that wields public radio objects, not just categories or entities.   …

Read the rest of the essay here (PDF download).