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The Circle of Engagement: A Strategy for Leading Change

Developed by NFCB, the Circle of Engagement model is an organizing schema used for leading the kind of change at stations that allows them to meet the challenges they face and take advantage of the opportunities they have. It is focused on helping stations implement strategic engagement, content and revenue goals while growing the organizational capacity to sustain their effort over time.



drives content


drives relevance and value


expands innovation

Organizational Capacity

sustains progress in all areas over time

Optimization requires balanced attention to the four critical areas articulated in the model.

About the model

Within the Circle of Engagement Model, sustainability means that a station is seen as an essential institution in the community and it is valued accordingly by a broad scope of the members of the community. Effectiveness is measured by how readily the station can achieve its engagement, content, revenue, and capacity goals within the resource constraints and conditions that it operates under.

The model asserts that these four areas are interdependent. Engagement drives content ; content drives revenue ; revenue fuels innovation. When functioning optimally, the circle begins anew. At the center is organizational capacity which supports the effort, infrastructure and strategy necessary for the other parts to succeed.

With engagement that sustains relationships, content that sustains audience, revenue that sustains stability, and organization capacity that sustains progress over time – station performance is optimized and public service is enhanced.

Within each area of the Circle of Engagements (Engagement, Content, Revenue, Organizational Capacity) there are progressive stages. Progress in each area may not be linear. Stations may see achievement in one area ahead of other areas. Because of that, highly customized strategic planning can take place based on candid assessment of where a station is and where they aspire to improve or expand.

Components of the Model

Engagement: How can we hold our place in the community and matter more to more people?

More than outreach, engagement is about how a station is interacting and being responsive to its community or region. It often incorporates partnerships, collaborations, and new media to create new connection points or programs.

Content: What is important about the experience of listening and interacting with your station?

Intellectually and emotionally stimulating programming which is capable of satisfying an audience with diverse cultural, educational, and musical interests is what community media is charged to provide. This is how it serves the public interest and contributes to society.

Revenue: How can we best provide resources to sustain our station?

To receive financial support, a station has to enrich the lives of the people it serves. This stimulates a revenue stream to allow continued operation and innovation.

Organizational Capacity: What are the most important structures that we need to have in place to be a strong organization?

Every station has a need for a clear and compelling strategic focus, benchmarks to monitor progress, strong leadership, and functioning operational systems. All of these are all key to optimizing success at a station.

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) provides customized services that optimize organizational capacity and help stations enhance  their service to communities. Support is offered online, on site, via national conferences, and through advocacy efforts at policy-making tables. More information at