The need for strong public media has never been greater. Corporate media consolidation in the commercial sector has deprived many communities of media outlets that serve local interests. Public Radio Capital works on a national level to strengthen, expand, protect and finance public media services in communities nationwide.
LEAD nationwide projects to improve public radio services
PRC served as the managing consultant for Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB) Station Renewal Project, a multi-year project to improve the long-term sustainability of five stations in major radio markets. With support and guidance from CPB and PRC, stations in St. Louis, Boston, Salt Lake City, San Juan and San Bernardino are refining their radio programming, operational structures, marketing and business development to better serve their communities.
CREATE innovative nationwide projects to grow public radio audiences and expand programming
PRC led the Noncommerical Filing Window Project, partnering with several organizations to help more than 300 public radio, arts and community radio organizations file license requests for FM noncommercial radio channels during the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Noncommercial Filing Window in 2007. As a result of this collaborative effort, 100 new public radio stations are expected to begin broadcasting across the country during the next few years. Based on initial permits granted, the number of Native stations is expected to increase by at least 50 percent.
PRC and Native Public Media (NPM) created the New Horizons Project to help existing Native stations maximize their public service value and provide guidance for new stations. Completed in 2009, the project involved working with station managers, tribal leaders and leading community members. The measurement methodology developed will help stations quantify their impact and tell the Native media story both locally and nationally.
PRC created the More Channels, More Service Project (2002-2007), providing multiple months of comprehensive business planning to public radio stations interested in expanding services through mergers or acquisitions. Thirty-two stations had the opportunity to participate in this remarkably successful project, which continues to expand public radio service to new listeners.
PARTNER with visionary organizations and individual donors to create opportunities for public media
Examples of Funders and Fund Investors from 2001 to Present: Annenberg Foundation, Argosy Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Calvert Social Investment Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hull Family Foundation, Otto Haas Charitable Trust #2, Nonprofit Finance Fund, NPR, Inc, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Station Resource Group, Surdna Foundation and individuals.
PROTECT communities that are at risk of losing their public radio service by helping stations improve operations or find other public radio operators
When Salt Lake City community station, KCPW, was on the verge of being sold off by its licensee in 2008, PRC helped Wasatch Public Media (WPM) acquire and preserve this station with 10 full-time employees and a signal reaching 50,000 weekly listeners.
Wasatch Client Story>
When Portland Public Schools needed to sell KBPS, PRC negotiated a deal with a public radio buyer who matched an open market bid of $5.5 M from a religious broadcaster. In 2003, PRC represented the KBPS Foundation in acquiring Portland, Oregon’s only all-classical music station from the school district, preserving classical music service for nearly 2 million people.
ADVISE on public media business and financing options
PRC presents at workshops and participate on panels at leading public radio industry and new media conferences where both existing and newly emerging public media organizations convene. PRC's experienced staff members have been quoted as industry experts in leading newspapers and journals including the Boston Globe, Current and New York Times.
PRC consults with public media organizations and board members/licensees on business and financial options, so they can make informed decisions about improving services and increasing revenues.
PRC educates investors and financial institutions on public radio investments and manages the Public Radio Fund, the only lending source in the country dedicated to financing public radio’s future. Back in 2001, PRC helped Colorado Public Radio become the first public broadcasting organization ever to receive investment grade ratings from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch national rating firms.
REPRESENT public media organizations in radio transactions to grow public radio audiences, expand service to new geographic locations and introduce new programming
Since 2001, PRC has led its clients through more than $310 million in radio transactions, securing public radio access for 66 million people.
FACILITATE and provide access to financial capital
Builds relationships with leading national financial institutions to facilitate favorable terms for public radio loans. PRC uses a proprietary business modeling tool to help stations successfully communicate the viability of their expansion plans and secure financing.
PRC’s Public Radio Fund makes affordable loans to public media organizations and prospective licensees in need of short-term capital for asset-based projects, such as buying radio stations.
PRC may also purchase stations to secure frequencies for public radio when local operators need time to establish new services and build a revenue stream before acquiring new frequencies. In these cases, PRC is the licensee and the station is run under an operating agreement (LMA).