Indie outlook: it’s brighter for those working in public radio

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Independent journalists working in public media are having an increasingly tough time making their livings as producers for public television and radio, according to a survey of 206 indies commissioned by the Association of Independents in Radio and the Independent Television Service.

Over the past three years, the financial struggles of working as an indie have become harder for 64 percent of those reporting and producing for radio. A much larger majority of TV and film indies — 81 percent — reported that their financial challenges have deepened.

The outlook among radio indies, who comprised 75 percent of survey respondents, is somewhat brighter than for those working in television, film and Internet production, who made up only one-quarter of the survey sample.

Radio journalists see more opportunities for future income from traditional public radio outlets — both the networks and local stations — and more expect to earn more money from podcasts and other digital distribution technologies.

Strong ties to local stations was a source of optimism for radio indies participating in the survey. Nearly half reported “strong” or “very strong” relationships with their local public radio stations. Among indies working in TV and film, 77 percent reported that they had no relationship with their local public TV station, or weak or very weak ties.

The survey was funded by CPB and conducted by Market Trends Research.

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