Study: Social media building new connections in pubradio

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The effectiveness of social media tools is hard to measure and such efforts don’t yet produce obvious financial rewards, but many pubradio stations are building new audience relationships with blogs, wikis, discussion boards and other participative online bells and whistles, according to a just-released study. The paper, titled “Public Radio’s Social Media Experiments: Risk, Opportunity, Challenge,” is sponsored by the Center for Social Media at Washington’s American University and the Public Radio Exchange. It represents one of the first efforts to track how and to what extent stations are incorporating social media tools into their websites. The resulting report isn’t meant to be a comprehensive picture of the system–its designers intentionally reached out to tech-savvy stations, said Jake Shapiro, PRX executive director. “It should be helpful to stations contemplating jumping further into social media experimentation,” he told Current. While such projects may not result in “easy-to-see increases in membership or dollars,” according to the paper, half of the survey respondents said the efforts had helped their stations connect with their communities. The study also outlines some loose recommendations based largely on interviews with staffers from four stations selected based on their “track record with social media”: Minnesota Public Radio, KQED in San Francisco, KUT in Austin and Chicago’s WBEZ.