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Sometimes research changes what we think. Other times it changes how we think.

AUDIENCE 98 will change both, but not right away, and not unless we recommit ourselves to the highest standards of public service.

As with AUDIENCE 88, we’ll need five-to- 10 years to realize its full impact and value. It takes time to incorporate new thinking into our daily decisions. And it takes time to see the results.

Today, AUDIENCE 98’s findings may seem more conceptual than pragmatic. But so did "core and fringe" and "affinity and appeal" 10 years ago. Their utility will become obvious as we harness their power. If past is prologue, we’ll internalize them so fully that they’ll seem to have always been. They’ll feel so natural we’ll forget where we first read about:

These ideas aren’t new. AUDIENCE 98 has merely renamed old phenomena and relationships as it has clarified our thinking about them.

These ideas aren’t old hat, either. They explain the reactions caused by our actions. They show how we can become more effective at what we do.

Most important, these ideas focus our thinking on the public – and on the public service mission of public radio.

Our public service mission can be easily forgotten as we increase our reliance on public support. Getting more listeners is easy if that's all we want to do. Getting more money from listeners and underwriters is easy too – if we don't care what we're really selling.

If we forget our history of public service, we depreciate the value of what we now do. And if we ignore the ethics of public service, we undermine the foundation of what we can do.

Our core listeners believe that public radio is the best radio. So do I. That’s the reason I accepted the challenge of AUDIENCE 98.

I count on you to do the same. And I look forward to working with you as together we advance our public service. No single study or person can fulfill public radio’s immense promise alone.

– David Giovannoni
February 29, 1999

Audience Research Analysis
Copyright ARA and CPB.  All rights reserved.
Revised: September 01, 2000 12:38 PM.