Saturday, November 14, 2009

NHPR looking to learn from listeners

Earlier this week, I received an email from NHPR looking for listeners to sit in on an advisory board two nights next week [Nov. 17 and 18].
Station staff will be giving tours of the new facility and will ask listeners what they like and dislike about programming, for about two hours. Over the past few years, NHPR has been holding these meetings both locally and around the state. This time though, it's a bit different - they have hired radio consultants Jacobs Media to assist with the latest outreach.
One has to wonder what is going on over there that they need to hire a big radio consulting firm to figure out how to lead the operation or figure out what listeners want. What is it about radio consultants being hired after revenue drops? NHPR isn't insular to what is going on in the media world, is it? Media companies are being clobbered, whether commercial or non-commercial. It's just the way the times are right now. Maybe the hiring of a big consulting firm has something to do with drops in revenue and recent layoffs ["NHPR lays off 4 workers"]. But usually, you can get the same kind of feedback from just, you know, asking folks, and, you know, saving the consultant fees.
Here are some free comments: Diane Rehm is simply unlistenable. If ... I ... have ... to ... hear ... her ... shaky ... voice ... one ... more ... time ... I ... think I'll ... put ... a ... drill ... into ... my skull ... "The Exhange" is good. Uniquely New Hampshire, Knoy is very easy to listen to, but I wonder if it could get a bit more dangerous in the topic department. "Word of Mouth" is good too. A great concept show. However, when compared to other stations and staffing, NHPR's news staff, it would seem, could produce a lot more content than it does. Just one person's opinion.
(Sidebar: Interestingly, NHPR attended the NHAB Job Fair on Thursday although, from what I have heard, there weren't many jobs available for attendees and most stations were doing it to satisfy their EEO requirements, get free intern help, or to sell airtime to people. I almost went this year but decided to stay bundled up to fight my head cold instead).
So, it will be interesting to see [or hear] what comes of this latest round of listening sessions. The question will be, will management at NHPR listen to listeners? It remains to be seen.

Update: A second email came across the desk on Friday. Now, they're offering $25 for folks who sit in on the meeting. That's $12.50 an hour. Not bad.

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