Public radio analyst John Sutton has established a new research firm and changed the name of his 16-year-old consulting company.
Sutton announced Sept. 5 that Maryland-based John Sutton & Associates, launched in 1997, is now Sutton & Lee LLC. The name reflects increased responsibilities for Sonja Lee, who will run the business and provide most on-site services for clients. Sutton & Lee advises stations on growing audience and membership revenue.
The change allows Sutton to focus on his new firm, Emodus Research, which is conducting studies to help stations deepen their relationships with listeners as they find multiple ways to access public radio content online or from competing pubcasters serving the same market.
Public radio only has to look to commercial radio, Sutton said, and markets such as Seattle and Boston, where multiple pubradio stations broadcast the same program or music genre, to see how listeners react when they have multiple choices for content. For a host of reasons, rational and otherwise, listeners will choose one station as their favorite, even if programming is the same.
“Our goal is to figure out the underlying motivations [of listeners] so that when presented with competition, [stations] know how to leverage relationships with listeners to keep them coming back,” Sutton said.