In advance of the 2017 Public Media Business Association convention, PMBA leaders asked I4M to prepare an analysis of influential and successful station collaborations that could be used as case studies for other Public Media stations looking to reorganize their operating models and redeploy their resources for expanded local service.
Mark Fuerst and Richard Tait chose the following five examples and presented their findings at the PMBA meeting in New Orleans, LA.
Links to case studies for each example are included below.
The full set of PowerPoint slides, covering all five cases, is posted at the end of this section.
Starting in 1991, following the loss of tax-support directed through the Louisville Public Library, leaders of three local stations, WFPL, WFPK and WUOL, gradually consolidated the licensee ownership and developed one of the most important examples of multi-station public media service in a mid-sized market.
Under the leadership of Jerry Wareham (CEO of WVIZ) and Kit Jensen (General Manager of WCPN), the Cleveland Public Media stations consolidated their stations and facilities to create a groundbreaking approach to public service.
Public Television Stations in Dayton and Cincinnati were providing overlapped--and at times duplicated--service to the their regional audiences. Encouraged by their governing boards, the managers of these stations launched a two-year process of planning that led to administrative consolidation and a unique governance structure that improved reduced costs, removed duplication, and allowed the consolidated stations to provide 13 channels of Public Television to their unified broadcasting and cable service area.
In January 2011, the staff of New Hampshire Public Television faced a nightmare scenario: A conservative member of the State Senate proposed to "zero out"--completely eliminate--all state tax support in a single year. Soon a majority of state legislators and the governor agreed. Faced with this sudden loss of $3 million the leadership NHPTV and WGBH, Boston, negotiated a reorganization plan that moved many backroom services from Durham (NH) to Boston and "rationalized" their overlapped service areas in southern New Hampshire. This new operating model reduced costs, preserved almost all local service, and placed NHPTV on a solid footing for the next era of public broadcasting in the Granite State.
In 2010, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded $1.4 million to a group of Northwest stations to develop a regional journalism consortium, focused on environmental reporting, with service across Oregon, Washington and Idaho. This new journalism center, called EarthFix, built on the 20-year experience of the Northwest News Network, one of the first regional reporting collaborations to emerge within the public broadcasting system. Managing this--or any--multi-station collaboration is never easy. This one worked well enough so that in 2015, CPB made an additional investment in EarthFix, expanding its radio-focused reporting to include additional video news production, centered at KCTS in Seattle.