Getting beyond tote bags and pledge drives is critical to the sustainability of public media. Is there an alternative vision of membership that relies on relationships more than money?
Though membership has always been a core part of public media, over the past several years, public radio has been grappling with new questions concerning membership and listener loyalty. The traditional form of building membership and leveraging organizational loyalty — the pledge drive — has declined in effectiveness, and new conversations are beginning about how to recruit and retain members who access content off-air.
These trends demand new ways of thinking about public radio membership and about the relationship people have with their public radio stations. The question is: What, exactly, does it mean to be a member of a public media station? What could it mean? And how could expanding the definition of what it means to be a member — and what that membership itself means — enhance and strengthen both our relationship with public media and public media itself?
About our Presenter: Melody Kramer is a 2015 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow and is currently serving a two-year term appointment with 18F. She was previously a digital strategist and editor at NPR. Based on her research, she is launching Media Public.