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Yield Not To Temptation

Here’s a fact that should tempt any joint licensee: For every two public radio givers, there is another listener who does not give to public radio but who does give to public television.

About 17 percent of all public radio listeners support public TV but not public radio.  And it's very tempting – and relatively easy for any joint licensee – to pitch our tent in the land of TV supporters and evangelize public radio support.

But friends, yield not to this temptation, as public television's audience is no place to seek these souls, for they do not walk in that place.

Stairway to Heaven

Why would public radio’s own listeners give to public television and not to public radio?

Simple. They haven’t climbed public radio’s Stairway to Given.

Public radio listeners who give to public TV but not to public radio look like any other public radio non-giver. In other words,

these listeners don’t rely as much on public radio as do givers; they don’t consider it as important in their lives; and they are less apt to believe that their support is essential and government support is minimal.

The only step they have ascended is the first step of listening. In no other way do they distinguish themselves from other public radio non-givers.

AUDIENCE 98 can’t explain why public radio listeners give to public TV, but other studies suggest an ethic of giving. (For instance, during the same sample period as AUDIENCE 98, Simmons cites charitable giving by public radio listeners as well above the national average.)

If this ethic exists, however, it does not extend to public radio. As AUDIENCE 98 and previous research tell us,

public radio is paid for by appreciative users – not givers of charity.

Perhaps public radio givers pledge to public TV for the same reasons they give to public radio.  Perhaps public TV has its own Stairway to Given. We don’t know for sure.

We do know that public television's giving audience is not a place from which public radio givers can be any more efficiently redeemed than anywhere else.

– David Giovannoni    
– Leslie Peters    
– Jay Youngclaus    
AUDIENCE 98 Core Team    


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For More Information

The findings of this report may be counter-intuitive for some readers.  They certainly were a rude Reality Check for Jeff Hansen and Ellen Burch of KERA, who as Associates posited the idea of mining public television member lists for potential public radio supporters.

Click on these links if you've forgotten what the Givers report or Stairway to Given have to say about why listeners support public radio. They're basic to understanding the findings of this report.

So is a grounding in the characteristics of public television viewers and public radio listeners.  A Tale of Two Audiences shows public radio and television audiences to be significantly different in significant ways.  It addresses the question, Why Do Some Listeners Support Public TV But Not Public Radio?


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Navigate the Report

arrow.gif (139 bytes)     Yield Not To Temptation
      Reality Check
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) Stairway to Given
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) A Tale of Two Audiences
navblue.jpg (647 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) transpxl.gif (67 bytes) Why Do Some Listeners Support Public TV But Not Public Radio?

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Examine the Statistical Analyses Behind the Report
(42 pages; 182,585 bytes)

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