Public radio audience researcher David Giovannoni this week will present findings from Audience 98, a major study that aims to extend programmers’ understanding of listener behavior developed in the widely influential Audience 88. Audience 98 is based in part on a rare re-contact survey of 8,000 Arbitron diary-keepers who indicated in fall 1996 that they listened to public radio. The survey was designed to elicit their pledging behaviors, personal beliefs, and attitudes toward public radio. Giovannoni will release Audience 98’s first national report, “The Value of Programming” Sept. 11 when he gives the keynote address at the Public Radio Program Directors Conference in Denver.
This analysis by the editor and co-founder of Current describes methods used elsewhere to reduce the influence of political favor in naming boards. If patronage appointments are giving CPB a mediocre Board of Directors and top management, as retired longtime staffer David Stewart contends in the accompanying commentary, there’s a simple reform that’s widely used in such situations. That is: inserting a nominating step in the process, a reform that brings to bear the attention and efforts of additional interests and reduces the now-predominant role of partisan considerations. That’s how people are named to the board that runs the National Science Foundation. That’s how most regents of the Smithsonian Institution are chosen. On the state level, that’s how the Commonwealth of Kentucky picks the board that oversees Kentucky Educational Television, as well as state university boards.
Nearly three decades of observing CPB close-up have convinced me that only an essential change in the way CPB Board members are selected offers some prospect of achieving the bright future projected for the organization by the first Carnegie Commission and the Congress in 1967.