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This summary of links to reports, studies and websites has been prepared to provide a "one-stop" guide to background information about the subjects we'll be discussing at PRPD's 2003 Conference. Many of the links you'll find will take you to documents now permanently available in PRPD's online knowledgebase. We urge you to take a few minutes to go through the PRPD Knowledgebase. We think you'll find a lot of great information!

ANNOTATED AGENDA: 2003 PRPD CONFERENCE

September 10-13
Pointe South Mountain Resort
Phoenix, AZ

Opening Session: The State of Public Radio
We open our conference each year with a look at the "big picture" of listening and service trends in public radio. Last year David Giovannoni of Audience Research Analysis talked about "Principles and Principals: Ten Reflections on Public Radio and You." To emphasize the importance and responsibility each of us plays in audience service, he revealed what he called the "mosters", "coasters" and "toasters" of public radio. This year's "State of Public Radio" address will be given by Craig Oliver who, among other things, is the former President of the Radio Research Consortium. Craig's presentation will set the table for two subsequent sessions; The Programming Ledger and The Public Radio M&M Conference, designed to help you assess your station's performance, analyze the investment and return on your programming and develop a customized blueprint for strengthening your local service.

Classical Music: Why Do You Say What You Say?
Last year, PRPD presented the findings of its study on "The Core Values of Classical Music Radio." The study identified various levels of value that listeners find in their use of classical radio. Listeners consistently expressed a desire that information about the music be presented in a concise and compelling manner. The study included focus groups with listeners to four all-classical public radio stations and two commercial classical stations, including San Francisco's highly-rated KDFC. In this session, we hear how KDFC coaches announcers in classical music storytelling and announcer break preparation. And just in case you're thinking that public and commercial classical radio are two entirely different worlds, we found in our study that listeners who use commercial classical stations share the same values as classical listeners who access the format through public radio stations. They are the same kind of people and do not care whether their local station is licensed to be commercial or public. They do object to any announcement, promo, spot or pitch break (public or commercial) that "sounds like an advertisement" and disrupts their serenity.

News Program Development Exercise
"Jay's exercise is a crucial experience for people trying to define the essence of their program, which I figure is the greatest challenge early on. Beyond asking, "what's our show about" this helps you focus your intent, think about what you want from it, what you want listeners to get from it and what values you want to define it. Jay helped us create a kind of maintenance dialogue for the show - a checklist of regular questions we can incorporate into all aspects of the program."
-Doug Fabrizio, Host/Executive Producer RadioWest, KUER

NPR Programming VP Jay Kernis has developed an exercise to help producers and hosts identify the purpose of their programs and deliver on that purpose to listeners. Last year Jay presented the exercise in a session with Doug Fabrizio, host of a daily talk show on KUER in Salt Lake City called RadioWest. This year Jay repeats the exercise with a focus on locally produced newsmagazines. His partner will be Todd Moe, Host and Arts Producer for "The 8 O'Clock Hour", a daily show produced by North Country Public Radio.

Triple A Research: WXPN
Radio is a highly targeted medium and the stations that are most successful are those that both understand and serve the needs of their core audience. So far in PRPD's Core Values Project for example, we have seen that core listeners to news and classical music each have distinctly different needs and values. In November, 2002, WXPN along with Walrus Research conducted a project aimed at better understanding the audience for the station's Triple A format. In this session you'll not only hear what they found out, but learn what's required for a station to do its own research project.

Being a Program Director: The Basics of the Job
Training has always been one of PRPD's "signature" activities. Even before PRPD became an official organization, its founders created a workshop to enable PDs to share their experiences. Back in the mid 1980s it was called the PD "Bee", a name inspired by the quilting bee which served as a metaphor for what the training was designed to achieve -- a way to work together to solve common problems. Today the "bee" continues in the form of The PD Workshop, an intensive 2+ day session that covers all the basics, helps PDs better manage their jobs and provides an opportunity to network with colleagues around the country.

General Session: The Programming Ledger
This session is the second in our series intended to help you assess your station's performance, analyze the investment and return on your programming and develop a customized blueprint for strengthening your local service. The focus of this presentation by Kathy Merritt of the Station Resource Group is how to clearly identify the costs and benefits of local content creation. Kathy's work is being done as part of SRG's "Charting the Territory" project. Kathy gave a progress report on "The Programming Ledger" at the 2003 PRC. Her presentation followed opening remarks on "The Promise and the Perils of Local Programming" by PRPD President Marcia Alvar.

The Public Radio M&M Conference and The Public Radio Free Clinic
The work done by Audience Research Analysis has had an enormous impact on public radio. As a result, terms like loyalty, appeal, affinity and core audience are now woven into almost every conversation programmers have about audience service. In addition, the tools ARA has created have helped programmers refine the sound of their stations and contributed to the audience growth public radio has enjoyed over the last decade. This session will revisit many of the themes voiced by ARA President David Giovannoni in a speech he delivered at PRPD 2000 called "Evaluating our Opportunities" and introduce some newly developed tools to help you asses your station's current and future listener service opportunities.

Classical Music: Why Do You Play What You Play?
Among the listeners we met during our study on "The Core Values of Classical Music Radio" were those whose favorite station is Seattle's Classic King FM. At this year's Chamber Music America conference in New York, KING Program Director Peter Newman talked about a music research project his station did to help them better understand and serve their listeners. In this session, Peter will talk about not only what he found but why he looked in the first place and what he did with what he discovered.

Public Radio Confidential
As interest in developing new local programming increases, we think it's extremely useful to hear about the growing pains our most successful producers experienced as they took their shows from idea to reality. To get some idea of what it takes to build a hit program, check out two case studies on this subject in PRPD's Online Publications Library. You can read and hear about the development of Car Talk as chronicled by the show's Executive Producer Doug Berman, as well as Danny Miller's story about Fresh Air and how it grew from a local show to a national hit.

How Technology is Re-Shaping our Jobs
A good place to start with this session is an overview on how technology is changing our business written for CURRENT by session moderator Dennis Haarsager. Other resources include CPB's Asset Management website, NPR's new ContentDepot and the granddaddy of them all, Technology 360 a website with links to information on just about every aspect of new and emerging technology choices.

"Being first" is not a Core Value
The Core Values of Public Radio make it pretty clear that what our core listeners value most about public radio news is depth, connection and context. These traditional values do not always exist easily or comfortably with breaking news which, by definition, is shared with listeners as it happens. As we take on this complex and nuanced discussion, here are some thoughtful stories from a recent issue of the Columbia Journalism Review about coverage of the war in Iraq, one writer's take on media coverage of the war and a sampling of what some other news organizations list as their core values.

The Next Time News Breaks…
PRPD has been working with NPR since 1999 in an ongoing effort to better coordinate breaking news coverage. Two PRPD/NPR working groups have issued recommendations since this effort began. The first set of recommendations focused on standardizing clocks, protecting newscasts and more predictable cutaway opportunities. The second set of recommendations was based on a PRPD member survey on notification/coordination issues and formatics. Tangible results of this work include the creation of the dedicated newscast channel and the agreement to end any special/breaking coverage at established cutaway points in the NPR news clock. Now a third working group is assessing how NPR's Crisis Coverage Plan functioned during the war in Iraq.

Update: New Core Values Project Studies
In 2000, PRPD launched the Core Values Project, an ongoing study aimed at clearly defining the fundamental appeal of public radio programming. Three studies have been completed to date. Two additional studies are planned in 2004:

  • The Value and Values of Classical Music Programming on Dual Format (Classical/News) Public Radio Stations
  • The Core Values of Jazz Radio. We hope to present the findings of both at PRPD's 2004 Conference, September 22 - 25 in San Antonio. In Phoenix we invite you to let us know what you hope to learn from these two new studies.

Public Radio's Bowl of Keys: Managing Module Madness
With far more programming available than time to air it, how do Program Directors decide what to put on the air? Another layer of complexity is added to this already tough question when the effectiveness and actual audience service of the programming is hard - sometimes even impossible -- to measure. This is particularly true in short-form and microformatic elements such as the offerings of the Public Radio Collaboration, the new Public Radio Exchange and "sense of place" elements such as the Sonic Ids created by Atlantic Public Media. This session will look at the challenge of selecting, placing and evaluating this programming.

Selling Out is not a Core Value
Is public radio getting too commercial? That's a question we'll raise in this session that was also addressed in Audience 98. More recently, session moderator John Sutton wrote an article for CURRENT called "What is Non-Commercial Radio?" that explored the match or mis-match between public radio's values and its future business practices. Two documents also reflect listener feelings about this subject - Audience '98 and a new study from NPR.

Core Values in the Workplace: Managing with Emotional Intelligence DrillingDown: EI-Based Role Playing Exercise
Emotional Intelligence is a management philosophy developed by Daniel Goleman that looks at how an individual's emotional skills impact professional success. Click here to take a quick quiz about your own EI. You'll also find a ton of information about EI at the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Network, a non-profit teaching organization.

On Air Programming Promotion
On air promotion is one of those things that we all do but very little hard data exists on "best practices." OPPIS is a new study funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help provide reliable guidelines for the development of more effective on air promotion strategies and tactics.

Putting Core Values to Work in Your Local Classical Music
One of the key goals of PRPD's Core Values Project is to create concrete ways to put core values information to work on a daily basis -- to help provide a framework to guide critical listening, and to evaluate and improve current programming. Applying the findings of our classical study and sharing station experiences will help us do a better job of programming including our on air fundraising.

Putting Core Values to Work in Your Local News
PRPD's study on the core values of local news concluded that listeners expect the same qualities and values in our local news that they get in our national programming. It also identified key elements of local news presentation that hold a powerful appeal to NPR news listeners. Those findings were combined to create a handbook with an executive summary designed to help guide the creation of core-values based local news programming. Now all of that information has been boiled down into a one-page form with 12 essential questions to help you plan and evaluate your local news programming.

Conference Benediction with Anne Garrels
Anne Garrels joins us to talk about her work as a public radio journalist, and about her new book on covering the Iraq war called Naked In Baghdad.