By Frank Pfau, Corporate Accounts Manager
When people ask what I do, simply saying that “I’m the Corporate Accounts Manager” doesn’t mean a whole lot to most people. So, I’ve developed a short description that goes something like this:
Myself: “Are you a listener of St. Louis Public Radio?” (Assuming they are): “So, when you hear ‘support from St. Louis Public Radio comes from XYZ Company…’ well, that’s what my department does. We obtain corporate dollars for the station.”
Them: “Ohh … you mean the advertising.”
Well, sort of.
“Underwriting announcements” “advertising” “corporate support announcements” are all terms used to describe the same thing: the announcements of acknowledgement of financial support from local, regional, and national organizations.
St. Louis Public Radio corporate support dollars account for about 20 percent of our entire operating budget, which is about 1.6 million last fiscal year.
Why would an organization want to have their name mentioned on our station? After all, they are just fifteen-second scripted announcements read in a calm, conversational tone. No jingles. No dialog. No calls to action. No mentions of price and/or discounts. No rhetorical questions. No fast-whispering disclaimers.
Clearly, these aren’t commercials.
Let’s face it: “announcements of acknowledgement of financial support” doesn’t exactly scream BIG BLOWOUT BONANZA!
So, why would an organization even put up with all of these “restrictions” (we prefer the term “guidelines”)?
Is it the great programming? Perhaps. Is it because they love the station? Maybe.
The paramount reason is: You, the listener.
While it’s true that just about all of the organizations do love the station, they also understand that St. Louis Public Radio listeners are a very unique and desirable demographic. Without sounding like a promotional sales call, let’s just say that, generally, the STLPR listener is more likely to be educated, employed, and engaged in the community with discretionary income.
So, add that demographic to the fact that:
a) Our listeners don’t turn the station when the corporate support announcements come on so they will actually *hear* the announcement (thank you “restrictions”) and,
b) Our listeners will actually like them more. Well, it’s true. Public Radio listeners view the organizations that support the station they love in a more positive light: as a good corporate citizen with shared interests. Oh, and all things being equal, Public Radio listeners are also more likely to do business with these organizations.
Are the announcements for everyone? Probably not. (If only the folks from Dirt Cheap would call me back!) However, for the majority of businesses, non-profits and institutions in the region there is nothing quite like being acknowledged for supporting a valuable St. Louis institution: St. Louis Public Radio.
That’s an increase of six percent from the previous drive.
The campaign, which began on October 13, is one of two annual, on-air membership campaigns held by the station. Of the total pledges, 1,300 were from first-time contributors.
Proceeds from all membership campaigns at St. Louis Public Radio allow us to purchase syndicated public radio programs, as well as fund local news production and general station operations.
Each platform offers consumers a clean, user-friendly interface capable of live streaming St. Louis Public Radio’s three channels—90.7 KWMU-1, The Gateway KWMU-2, and Classical KWMU-3. By connecting a smartphone to the auxiliary jack of a car stereo, Classical KWMU-3 and The Gateway KWMU-2 fans will be able to listen to our channels in a car without an HD radio.
The app also includes one-touch bookmarking, a unique feature allowing users to bookmark an exact position within a stream to refer to again for a specific topic of interest, or song, within a St. Louis Public Radio program.
The complete list of features includes:
- Live streaming of all St. Louis Public Radio local and national programs
- DVR-like controls that allow for pause, rewind, and fast-forward functions
- On-demand bookmarking for those “driveway moments”
- Stream and channel-sharing via email
- Alarm clock and sleep timer with channel customization
- On-the-go access to aggregated St. Louis Public Radio news features
- An integrated program guide
Download the St. Louis Public Radio app through the app store on either your Android or Apple devices. Visit St. Louis Public Radio’s website for more information on the app.
Each month we receive information from The Arbitron Company on who and how many people in the St. Louis region listen to St. Louis Public Radio and when and where they’re listening to the station.
For many years, the most listened to hour on St. Louis Public Radio was Car Talk on Saturday morning, but now the torch has been passed an hour later to NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! In the most recent survey period that ended in mid-October, Wait Wait averaged more than 17,000 listeners tuning in to the program between 11 a.m. and 12 noon on Saturday. This makes up about six percent of the radio listening taking place in the St. Louis region during that hour.
We use this audience information to help us assess the impact that we’re having in the community with our programs. One of the areas we look at closely is something called “P1 Listeners.” A “P1” listener to St. Louis Public Radio is best defined as a person who listens more to our station than to any other radio station in the St. Louis region. Around 55 percent of all our listeners are P1s, showing a tremendous amount of loyalty to the station from those who tune us in each week. This is a significantly higher percentage than most radio stations. P1s listen about 50 percent more than the average listener and, not surprisingly, are the people who are much more likely to be members of the station.
Recently we also received a report on the most listened to public radio stations in the country during the Summer 2011 quarter and St. Louis Public Radio did very well in these rankings, ranking in the top 30 in three of the four categories listed.
In addition to the radio audience, we also look at how people are using our web site. We’ve seen phenomenal growth over the past two years in people using our web site for news as well as streaming one of our three services. From 2009 to 2011 we’ve seen a 54 percent increase in visitors to our web site. In fact, in the last year we’ve had more than 1,000,000 visits to the web site.
As more people move to the web and mobile devices, we expect this number to grow significantly in the future. That’s one of the primary reasons we have invested in our new mobile applications for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Early reaction and downloads of the mobile apps have been quite positive.
If you’re interested in any other information on our audience, please leave a comment and we’ll try to track it down for you.