National Public Radio- US Case Study by valbonasaraci30

VIEWS: 232 PAGES: 16

									Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

                National Public Radio
                  - Strategic Plan -
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008



NPR is a non-profit organization, which is distributing radio programs to
approximately 700 radio stations in all the United States, the District of Columbia,
Puerto Rico and Guam. It was incorporated in 1970 and is now the industry leader in
sound gathering and production. As an independent private provider of media
programs it is focused on specific groups of listeners. Instead of non-stop streaming
of mass music, it offers various entertainment programs such as: theatre’s plays
reviews, interviews with politicians as well as 24/7 news from around the world.


The mission of NPR is to target the more educated and sophisticated audience with
personalized programs and innovative ideas. Through the partnership with its
member stations, NPR works on making the broadcasts reach deeper and challenge
the listeners, keeping them fascinated by all kinds of events, exploring cultures and
creating constant innovation and creativity. Their focus is not only on the white-
American population, but also on the vast minorities living in the States, expats and
all those living abroad listening to the broadcasts from the USA. Hence, highly
efficient news form around the globe is as important as recent news concerning
health issues for example. NPR’s uniqueness is its community of listeners, especially
their opinions and discussions which bring new perspectives to the radio. Each
listener’s view is highly valued and essential in creating new programs. Further,
people listening to the radio providers feel appreciated and valuable to the future of
the station. This is the driving force for the audience to remain loyal to their favorites
at all times.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008


A recently conducted survey has shown that NPR’s listeners are more educated and
inclined towards culture than most Americans. They are also more technologically
adept, resulting in the fact that the internet is used more frequently than television as
a source of information. NPR’s customers are seeking more individualized
information and entertainment and are therefore hard to satisfy through traditional

Advertisements must be rather intelligent and sophisticated, not only supporting
traditional society roles. Additionally, listeners interests are focused on an active
lifestyle, which means health advices and sports news are also very appropriate.
According to the survey, NPR’s listeners are greatly involved in politics and active
voters in the local community. They are more critical about politicians as well as the
overall economy and therefore appreciate professional and theme-oriented reporters.

The audience is composed of independent information-seekers who expect programs
to be different to those offered by other radio stations, meaning to be innovative and

Accountability of the system

NPR is not opinionated or influenced by anyone. On the contrary, it has a strong
sense of independence and constant lookout for improvement.

NPR’s capital structure is composed mainly of revenues (ca. 50%) coming from
programming fees charged to member stations, and further, consists of corporate
sponsorship and foundations grants. Besides the exceptionally generous gift of $200
million received by the philanthropist Joan B. Kroc, individual support is rare and
represents a minimal share of NPR’s funds.


NPR will be targeting the top media industry with its innovative content, reaching both
the young and elderly originating from different ethnic groups. It is going to focus on
individualism and personalized programs created specifically for certain types of
audiences. The plan is to constantly update technology and the ways to make
broadcasting available in all possible places at all times. Due to increased funds,
programs will always be of high-quality and efficient as NPR is forging new
sponsorship relations. In this respect both, transparency in and accountability of the
Executive Board’s performance, are of utmost importance.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

    Strategic Plan

Setting appropriate targets, ways to achieve these and the time frame are essential.
According to the survey, which amongst other things researches the audience’s
expectations and needs, clear paths, of how to explore possible niches with
expanding technological possibilities and reaching certain individuals through
specifically prepared programs, exist.

                               SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis can be a useful tool to identify the current internal strengths and
weaknesses of NPR and the external opportunities and threats faced due to the
changing environment and market structure. A thorough SWOT analysis involves
specifying the objective of the business venture and provides an excellent basis for a
strategic plan.


    NPR’s wide range of programming is not only original in its content but also
     includes a great variety of news, information, art, culture, music and
     entertainment programs. Furthermore, the programs are not restricted to
     superficial information provision, but on the contrary include in dept analysis,
     discussions and background information. An example of this is the subsequent
     interview with Yo-Yo Ma after broadcasting his live performance. Their
     sources of competitive advantage lie in their ability to provide a quick
     response to breaking news stories, adapting to their listeners needs and
     produce sustaining programming.

    The wide range of programs is, amongst other reasons, a result of local and
     regional programming. Different programs are broadcasted in different regions
     to target the specific needs of the local audience.

    The professional employees, ranging from the technicians and reporters to top
     management, form the stable framework of NPR and supply the required
     know-how and quality to ensure their successful functioning.

    NPR has an extremely strong market position being the industry leader in
     sound gathering and production, having an exceptionally large audience and
     almost 300 member licenses with over 700 partner radio stations distributed
     over all 50 states and Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. In addition to the
     partner radio stations, NPR’s distribution channels reach out to further
     horizons such as their own internet website. Offering NPR branded products in
     the online shop increases the possibility to reach a greater number of internet-
     using listeners and increase the general public awareness of NPR.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

     Another distribution platform which further increases its accessibility for its
     audience is provided by the partnership with the Slate online magazine, and
     the alliance with Marketplace to broadcast business news.

     Distributing programming via satellite enables NPR to broadcast their service
     over an increased area and hence attract a greater and dispersed audience.
     Meaning, for example, a listener living on the West coast has the possibility to
     receive programs transmitted on the East coast, which will raise NPR’s
     popularity and unite the areas it broadcasts in.

   Another strong asset of NPR is their unique funding model. The costs of
    generating foundation grants and corporate sponsorships are less than 10% of
    the resulting revenues from these sources. Unlike many non-profit
    organizations, NPR relys only to a minimal extent on support from individuals.
    This indicated NPR’s great efficiency in their budget organization and fund
    raising as well as their independency of individual financing.

   The gift received from the philanthropist Joan B. Kroc of $200 million provides
    NPR a strong financial status which enables them to improve their existing
    programs as well as launching new ones targeted to achieve broader


   The non-compete policy with member stations prohibits NPR from engaging in
    mass-market fund raising directly from listeners. On the contrary, other non-
    profit organizations receive more than 80% of their funding from individual
    contributions. Hence, such a non-compete policy can also be of a
    disadvantage to NPR, since it limits their fund raising sources and reduces
    their investment opportunities.


   The developing state of technology creates opportunities to NPR (including
    those in the distribution channels), hence they must dedicate appropriate
    research to explore these changes and take the greatest possible advantage
    of them in order to be prepared for the digital era. Further opportunities
    regarding the increasing distribution of NPR arise from the fact that satellites
    are becoming more commonly used as a form of media transmission. The
    increasing role of internet in people’s life creates the urge to improve their
    existing internet broadcasting and to exploit the newly emerging possibilities
    offered. Since a strong majority of NPR’s listeners are users of Apple and
    IBM-compatible equipment, NPR should consider contracting with these
    companies in order to provide access to their listeners through these products.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

   As demographics in the US are constantly changing over time and NPR’s
    audience is fragmented according to different ethnic groups, political
    spectrums, income brackets, interests and leisure activities, they have the
    opportunity to develop more specific and targeted programs to meet the needs
    of a greater audience. In addition to improving existing programs, NPR should
    expand to new directions such as extending program variety in topics of
    interests, language and different types of preferred music genres.

   Furthermore, NPR has the opportunity to attract more member stations by
    reducing the license fees to new and old members, which will also result in an
    increase in their revenues (since the additional members will more than offset
    the affect of fees reduction).


   NPR’s most significant competitors in distribution business are Public Radio
    International and Minnesota Public Radio with an impressive audience.
    Especially with the fast developing technology, NPR must be aware of these
    changes, keep track of competitors’ moves and take actions in order not to
    lose market share to them.

   The main competitors of the public radio are commercial radio stations.
    Knowing this, NPR must keep a competitive edge and protect its core
    competitive advantages.

   The increasing possibility to broadcast via satellite threatens NPR, since
    competitors may be the first to contract with the most popular and frequently
    used satellites. Popular satellites are the ones most likely to have deals with
    the most selling automakers for instance, and therefore their broadcasted
    content is likely to reach a larger audience more easily.

   As internet usage and accessibility is growing rapidly, NPR may be
    endangered of losing programs (and revenues as a consequence), due to the
    possibility of programmers to broadcast directly on the internet without a radio
    station. An additional threat through technology changes to NPR as a form of
    general entertainment, can be presented by the development of new online/
    TV/ video games, music players etc.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

                                 Strategic Plan


   1. To keep the audience informed about high-impact and global content.

   2. Bring younger audience to NPR services by developing innovative programs.

   3. Further technological improvements in radiophonic services and equipments,
      in order to be more easily accessible for listeners.

   4. Enhance staff motivation with incentive structures, in order for them to perform
      at their best and making NPR a more creative, collaborative and exciting
      organization in which all staff fully understand its purpose and shared values

   5. To become wider in reach and content.

   6. Continue seeking new audience            from   US-ethnic    minorities   through
      mainstream and targeted programs.

   7. Ensure that NPR is meeting the needs of the audience in all states where it

   8. Continue increasing available funds, by enhancing the efficiency and
      effectiveness of the way NPR operates.

   9. Improve the formulation of the membership qualification and recommend it to
      more radio stations; give also program access to non-members.

   10. To set high standards in public-interest broadcasting.

Strategies and Action Plan

   1. For having the most current news and reliable information, NPR should recruit
      the most qualified and skillful journalists and reporters and provide them with
      the right facilities that help them maximize efficiency and effectiveness of their

   In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
          Build a team of professionals who work to attack new talented
             journalists from the best-known universities;
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

         Send a group of working journalist to participate in the Bloomberg
          Journalism Training Program, one of the most popular programs in the
          United States;

         Add a new and better equipped Researching Room, with a wide range
          of appropriate databases, newspapers and audio material;

         Renew the audio facilities in the main control rooms with the latest
          ProTools Software.

  2. To expand the audience, NPR will have to increase the participation of the
     youth in new programs by introducing specific thematic topics destined to the
     targeted audience, such as educational programs and contests in different
     fields, in which winners are adequately awarded. Questionnaires targeted to
     young age groups will have to be conducted, in order to better understand
     their needs.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         Launch an educational program, named “Call the Shrink”, in which
            teenagers and their parents can call to ask questions on different
            issues to our social psychologist;

         Introduce the new weekly program “Journey in Europe”, which will cover
          topics of historical, geographical and cultural content of different
          European countries;

         Launch a new contest on poetry, targeted to young talents in the age
          group of 15 to 20. The awards can vary from scholarships to cheques;

         Implement different types of questionnaires such as: 1) Mail
          questionnaires 2) Telephone 3) In-house surveys 4) Mall intercepts and
          5) Computer questionnaires.

  3. To become more easily accessible to listeners through the technological
     innovations supplied by the market, NPR will introduce satellite programming
     in mobiles, cars and motorbikes of the most used brands, which are preferred
     by Americans and other nations, where member radio stations broadcast.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         Sign a contract with Nokia, which will allow NPR radio stations to
            transmit their programs in every Nokia mobile via satellite;
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

          Sign a contract with Toyota, the most used car by Americans, to
           implement a satellite radio receiver for cars, which enables NPR radio
           stations’ transmission;

          Sign a contract with Harley-Davidson, the most used motorbike by
           Americans, to implement a satellite radio receiver for motorbikes which
           enables NPR radio stations’ transmission;

          Contract with i-Tunes to add the radio option in the i-Tunes media
           player, so the listeners can switch from their personal music player to
           the radio option whenever they wish.

  4. To acquire motivated and capable staff: with incentive structures in order to
     motivate them to perform well, such as merit-based recruitment and
     promotion, adequate pay and strong esprit de corps; by providing proper
     training; by improving the working environment; by allowing staff to be
     involved in some decision-making processes, especially with regard to their
     working environment and to be consistent about the staff responsibilities; by
     ensuring a manageable workload and providing the right resources; by
     ensuring employees can work productively and effectively and be provided
     with fair compensation.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         Organize semiannual meetings between the corresponding
            departments of all states’ radio stations to exchange ideas and

          Radio training in one of the most famous European stations, Deustche
           Welle, which provides incentives for new ideas and insights into modern
           management strategies in broadcasting and enables to accomplish the
           challenges ahead;

          Training on Staff Performance in the Broadcasting Center, St. Louise;

          Increase of 10% of the compensation budget proportion for the whole
           staff and special rewards for those journalists getting the most popular
           and breaking news first.

  5. To become wider in reach and content, NPR will be producing a wider variety
     of programs and enter new geographic areas, such as Latin America and
     Canada in consistence with the new target market needs.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

         Launching the new programs for the young audience mentioned in
          action no.1;

         Extending the transmission of member radio stations to Canada and
          Latin America and also opening new radio stations with national staff
          from those countries in Brazil and Toronto;

         Introducing the new program “They’ve got the answer…” in which
          successful politicians, businessmen, doctors and many other
          professionals of different fields are invited every week to NPR’s studios
          to tell their path to success;

         Launching a new program on health issues, in which a doctor of a
          certain specialization is invited every week to give advice and provide
          more detailed information for the wide public. In this program listeners
          can call and ask for specific advice for their health problems;

         Introducing the new sports program on American Football “…and the
          match is on” in which sport commentators are invited to give live step
          by step comments on the most popular matches of the seasons.

  6. Attracting new audience from the US-ethnic minorities should be done by
     producing certain programs of interest regarding the targeted groups’
     problems, values and cultural features. These programs have to be
     representative of their voice out to the world.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         Initiate the new program “Spanish por todos”, in which professors of the
            Spanish language are invited to give radio lectures in different levels. A
            self learning e-books on Spanish will be available on the website

         The new program “Journey in Europe” previously mentioned in action
          no. 1.

  7. Ensuring that NPR is meeting the needs of the audience in all states, by
     investigating the extended market demands and focusing on listeners
     preferences and priorities. This can be done by inducing statistical
     observations on different targeted groups of interest and drawing conclusions
     about their needs in certain information fields provided by the radio stations.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

     Further NPR needs to improve the quality content of existing programs, in
     which NPR has complaints from the audience.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         Collecting questionnaires from the member stations to understand the
            needs of the national audience in the respective states;

          Creating a market research team in the beginning of the upcoming year
           to start investigating on different target groups preferences;

          Experimenting with novel management systems, new technology, and
           fresh ideas to improve the quality of the content.

  8. Continue to increase funds available by enhancing the efficiency and
     productivity of the way NPR operates and by producing high-quality programs
     which attract more the attention of sponsors.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         By increasing the numbers of member stations, there will be an
            increase in the total program fees;

          Since there is a high competition on the demand of commercial ads,
           NPR should increase the advertising fees for the selected commercial
           ads to be transmitted;

          To attract new sponsors, NPR will prepare more creative marketing
           presentations of NPR operations.

  9. To improve the formulation of the membership qualification by adding or
     removing unnecessary criteria, to entrance and to further recommend the
     membership qualification to other radio stations. Another important step would
     be to give program access also to non-member stations. This could be done
     by finding the right marketing tools to attract them, respecting the extent of not
     being commercial.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         Establish a Coordination Group, made up of representatives from each
            of its bureaus to review the membership qualification elements, which
            are to be modified;

          Launch of advertising campaigns about NPR membership advantages
           in different states.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

  10. High standards in public interest broadcasting can be set by ensuring
      openness and transparency of the stations; securing the effective promotion of
      the public purposes and the appropriate standards in the content of the NPR’s
      services; secure the maintenance of independence of NPR’s radio stations;
      developing high-level strategies and budgets and continuous accountability of
      performance by the Executive Board.

  In support of this strategy, NPR is advised to take the following actions:
         Yearly internal audits of all member stations to ensure the efficient use
            of all available resources;

         Yearly meetings of the Executive Board to evaluate the situation and
          take responsibilities on the performance.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

                           Impact of the Strategies


Through the impact of the strategies, several changes have to be made in the
marketing department. A higher expenditure in advertisements is required, mainly in
printed media and newspapers to reach more prospective listeners.

To attract the attention of Hispanic people, ads have to be placed in specific
magazines and their associated online performance (e.g. Hispanic Monthly, Latina
Style Magazine, To attract the awareness of young people,
promotion should concentrate on professional journals, art, fashion, sports and health
magazines, in which they are mainly interested (e.g. Women's Health & Fitness,
Men’s health, Teen Vogue, Art in America). To draw young people’s attention on
NPR, ads should also be published on university websites and popular web
presences (as, and possibly in public transports in
appropriate regions, whereon, the possibility to listen to NPR member radio stations
via internet, should be highlighted.

The introduction of intelligent game shows, such as questionnaire competitions and
“do-it-yourself” radio, where people can call and talk about a specific current topic or
where they can take part in the structuring of the radio program (e.g. song selection,
topics to discuss, state opinions on radio program or current topics), will further
increase the number of listeners through mouth-to-mouth recommendation.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

Ads on cable television should be increased slightly, since many of the current NPR
listeners watch it once a week which makes it a potentially good platform to attract
future NPR listeners.

After all, continue maintaining the status of a high quality radio with abdication of
mass media, but with well-founded contents and news coverage.


In order to ensure the openness and transparency of National Public Radio, annual
reports, financial statements, names of sponsors and employees should be published
on a yearly basis.

Obstacles entering the broadcast of NPR should be decreased, by reducing station
fees and assigning licenses also to non-member stations.

Broadcasted regions should be rearranged and centralized in terms of similar listener
standards. New geographical areas and stations should be contacted, to spread NPR
around the US and send representatives to these new areas. Appointing one
representative in each region and making a good communication amongst them
possible, can be achieved thought a new intranet system.

Human Resources Department

The Human Resources Management has to hire more qualified personal, motivated
staff and train staff more appropriately than before. Additionally, specific journalists
have to be appointed to represent, for example, the Hispanic population and the
young age group. Also people with very different education (e.g. students, laborers,
managers) should be hired to provide an appropriate representation of the listeners
of NPR and their interests and needs.

Monthly surveys in all member stations and weekly group discussions (pro and cons)
in all regional offices can be implemented, in order to tighten the relationship and
participation of the employees with the NPR and its programs.

Through the wider spread of NPR and its programs more people have to be hired to
maintain a reasonable workload for everyone and to have some capacity for new
ideas and unpredictable events.

Research & Development

The Research and Development Department has to increase its participation through
precise research programs to maintain the popularity of NPR and to increase it even
further. Therefore appropriate expenditures have to be made, to increase knowledge
about current listeners and the needs of possible future listeners, through specified
questionnaires and direct contact to the population.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

Furthermore, the accessibility of NRP programs should be increased through
cooperation with mobile phone, automobile and motorcycle companies and an
internet gadget for iGoogle and iTunes.

Appropriate research should be carried out, to identity the needs and wants of future
listeners in adequate regions (e.g. Hispanic regions) and age groups (youth, baby
boomers). For example online questionnaires, including tools to filter untruthful
participators and provide moderate reward to ensure the reliability of the outcome.
Further, the most used techniques to listen to the radio and how information and
news is gathered by the Hispanic population should be analyzed. Regular research
of listeners’ trends and trend movements among the population is needed, in order to
be able to provide listeners an informative program and grant fast adaptation of
current events.
Public Management (6100)NPR Case Study 20th November 2008

To top