Market positioning theory : applicability to the administration of public radio stations operated by institutions of hig...

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Market positioning theory : applicability to the administration of public radio stations operated by institutions of higher education
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Poole, Carolyn Elizabeth
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Positioning (Advertising)   ( lcsh )
Public radio -- United States   ( lcsh )
Education, Higher -- Marketing -- United States   ( lcsh )
Educational Leadership thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Educational Leadership -- UF
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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1989.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 172-185).
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Also available online.
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Typescript.
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Vita.
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by Carolyn Elizabeth Poole.

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MARKET POSITIONING THEORY: APPLICABILITY TO
THE ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC RADIO STATIONS
OPERATED BY INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION
















By


CAROLYN ELIZABETH POOLE
















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1989























Copyright 1989

by

Carolyn Elizabeth Poole















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Gratitude is expressed to members of my doctoral committee, Dr. James L. Wattenbarger, chairman, Dr. C. Arthur Sandeen, Dr. Phyllis M. Meek, and Dr. Joseph R. Pisani, for their patience and professional assistance during my completion of the dissertation project.

Appreciation is due for the continuous encouragement from my family through the years: special thanks to my mother, Georgia M. Poole, for teaching me the value of higher education, for her unfailing love and sacrifice in my behalf; to my father, the late Wesley W. Poole, for nurturing my media interest at an early age with a lavish assortment of radio sets, from pocket-size transistors to short-wave; to D.J. Harrison, for her caring coupled with persistent prods.

I was companioned through many late nights by the Wave (WHVE), the Cab (WCAB), and Magic (WMGI), while living my own sequel to "The Paper Chase."

Thanks are also extended for the invaluable support, advice, and cheers from Dr. Tina, Dr. Richard, Dr. Zolika, Dr. Bob, Dr. Gene, and Dr. Jim, who all inspired me to join the doctoral ranks. And now, friends, "let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

iii















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . .

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . . vi

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . viii

CHAPTER

I INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . 1

Introduction to the Problem . . . . . I Statement of the Problem : I I I * I I 15 Delimitations and Limitations . . . . 17 Justification for the Study . . . . . 19 Research Methodology . . . . . . . 28
Definition of Terms . . . . . . . 31
Organizations of Subsequent Chapters . . . 34

II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE . . . . . 35

Introduction . . . . . . . . . 35
The Media Milieu . * i . . . 36
The Relationship Between Public Radio
and Higher Education . . . . . . 41
Market Positioning Theory . . . . . 50
Summary . . . . . . . . . . 62

III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY . . . . . . . 64

Introduction . . . . . . . . . 64
Design of the Study . . . . . . . 64
Expert Panel Selection . . . . . . 65
Research Population . . . . . . . 65
Sample Selection . . . . . . . . 66
Instrumentation . . . . . . . . 68
Data Collection . . . . . . . . 77
Data Analysis . . . . . . . . 79
Summary . . . . . . . . . . 85






iv















IV PRESENTATION OF RESULTS . . . . . . 86

Introduction . . . . . . . . . 86
Research Question One . . . . . . 86
Research Question Two . . . . . . 97
Research Question Three . . . . . . 123
Summary . . . . . . . . . . 137

V SUMMARY, INTERPRETATION, DISCUSSION,
IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION
FOR FURTHER RESEARCH . . . . . . . 139

Introduction . . . . . . . . . 139
Summary of the Research . . . . . . 139
Interpretation of Results . . . . . 144
Discussion . . . . . . . . . 150
Implications . . . * . . . . 153
Recommendations for Further Research . . . 154 APPENDICES

A SUMMARY OF POSITIONING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS. 156

B PANEL OF EXPERTS . . . . . . . . 159

C COVER LETTER TO PANEL OF EXPERTS . . . . 160

D WRITTEN POSITIONING SURVEY INSTRUMENT . . 161

E INTRODUCTORY LETTER TO STATIONS ADMINISTRATORS 165

F TELEPHONE SURVEY CONFIRMATION FORM . . . 166

G TELEPHONE POSITIONING SURVEY INSTRUMENT . . 167

H TELEPHONE SURVEY INTRODUCTION . . . . 169

I UNIVERSITY LICENSEES REPRESENTED IN
THE TELEPHONE SURVEY . . . . . . 170

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . 172

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . . 186




v















LIST OF TABLES

Table

1. Selected Methods of Analysis for Each Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . 84

2. Frequency Distribution of Expert Panel Scores: Survey Item by Import Rating . . . 88

3. Frequency Distribution of Expert Panel Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating . . . 90

4. Measures of Central Tendency: Survey Item by Expert Panel Import Scores . . . 92

5. General Distribution of Expert Panel Median Import and Usage Scores . . . . 93

6. Chi-Square Test and Cramer's V: Crosstabulation of Expert Panel Import
and Usage Scores . . . . . . . . 95

7. Frequency Distribution of Administrators' Scores: Survey Item by Import Rating . . . 98

8. Frequency Distribution of Administrators' Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating . . . 100

9. Frequency Distribution of General/Station Managers' Scores: Survey Item by Import
Rating . . . . . . . . . . 102

10. Frequency Distribution of General/Station
Managers' Scores: Survey Item by Usage
Rating . . . . . . . . . . 104

11. Frequency Distribution of Program Directors'
Scores: Survey Item by Import Rating . . . 107

12. Frequency Distribution of Program Directors'
Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating . . . 108





vi















13. Frequency Distribution of Development/
Promotion Directors' Scores: Survey Item
by Import Rating . . . . . . . 111

14. Frequency Distribution of Development/
Promotion Directors' Scores: Survey Item
by Usage Rating . . . . . . . . 113

15. One-Way Analysis of Variance:
Administrative Group by Mean Import Scores . 116

16. One-Way Analysis of Variance:
Administrative Group by Mean Usage Scores . . 119

17. Correlations of Import and Usage Scores:
Positioning Strategy by Administrative Group 122

18. Prediction of Cumulative Audience Ratings
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics . . . . 130

19. Prediction of Membership Size From
Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics . . . . 133

20. Prediction of Advertising/Promotion Budget
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics . . . . 136



















vii















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


MARKET POSITIONING THEORY: APPLICABILITY TO
THE ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC RADIO STATIONS
OPERATED BY INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION By

Carolyn Elizabeth Poole

August 1989

Chairman: James L. Wattenbarger Major Department: Educational Leadership

The purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of Ries and Trout's marketing-based positioning theory for administrators who operate public radio stations licensed to institutions of higher education. Positioning was defined as that aspect of marketing activity which focuses on making audiences believe that one station is really different from its competitors. The operationalized principles which comprise the theory were rated initially by a panel of experts in public broadcasting management, and those deemed important for use in public radio were retained for further examination in the collegiate setting.

Two survey research instruments consisting of

theoretically-derived positioning techniques were employed to collect data from the expert panel and 96 administrators


viii









representing 45 university-licensed stations. Data from other documented sources were also compiled as part of the ex post facto research. The findings lead to the following conclusions related to three research questions and seven hypotheses.

Experts affirmed 91% of the positioning strategies and tactics as valid and judged the majority as currently practiced in public radio. Some relationships between experts' import and usage ratings were found to be significant.

Administrators evaluated the importance and use of positioning favorably. Development/Promotion Directors were the most supportive of positioning, followed by General/Station Managers, then Program Directors. Some significant differences were detected among the three administrative groups in regard to perceived importance, but not in practice of positioning. Most relationships between administrators' import and usage ratings were significant.

Relationship between cumulative audience ratings and positioning use by station administrators was not statistically significant. Relationship between contributing membership size and positioning use by administrators also proved to be nonsignificant. Statistical significance was determined in the relationship




ix









between advertising/promotion budget allocations and usage of the positioning strategy involving commitment.

The study was considered exploratory and the market positioning theory worthy of further research.












































x















CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION


Introduction to the Problem Theoretical Background

The theoretical base of educational administration is grounded in an interdisciplinary study of concepts derived from the social and behavioral sciences (Kimbrough & Nunnery, 1976). Educators have borrowed heavily from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, and business management in the development of scientific formulas for use in schools. Theories about leadership styles, power structures, decision-making, change, organizational behavior, and general systems theory, for example, are not unique to education. Because administration occurs in the same generalized manner in educational, commercial, industrial, medical, and military organizations, it is the prerogative of administrators to draw ideas from diverse fields for testing and application in their own endeavors.

Marketing may be considered one of the more recent areas of study acknowledged as having relevancy to the higher education establishment. "Expressed in its most



1








2

basic terms, marketing is the performance of business activities that directs the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer (or user) in order to satisfy customers and accomplish the organization's objectives" (Montana, 1978, p. xi). Dartmouth College professor Neslin has simply explained marketing as being the design, communication, and distribution of products that meet the needs of consumers (Urban & Neslin, 1977). Harvard University business professor Levitt (1962) was one of the first scholars to postulate the notion that marketing involves much more than persuasive selling, a popular myth. In an age of material abundance, its focus must be on serving and satisfying human needs. one of the giants of general marketing theory, Northwestern University professor Kotler, elaborated on this underlying customer orientation in a speech:

Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. Marketing is the art of creating genuine customer value. It is the art of
helping your customers become better off. The
marketer's watchwords are quality, service, and value.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if the
marketing concept became a universal principle? (Kotler
to receive, 1985, p. 1)

Strategies for effective marketing management have been keenly cultivated in the business world, where survival depends upon consumer acceptance and support. As nonprofit organizations such as colleges, hospitals, museums, and governmental agencies have increasingly recognized the role of marketing in enhancing their service functions, they have learned to adapt the corporate methods tested in living








3

laboratories of business and industry. A trend has emerged to regard marketing as a socially useful activity advantageous in many areas of human endeavor.

Marketing is a pervasive societal activity that goes considerably beyond the selling of toothpaste, soap,
and steel. Political contests remind us that
candidates are marketed as well as soap; student
recruitment by colleges reminds us that higher
education is marketed; and fundraising reminds us that
11causes" are marketed. (Kotler & Levy, 1969, p. 3)

The classic tasks of marketing include the development and improvement of new products and services, the pricing, availability, delivery of those products and services, as well as efforts to inform people about them. These basic elements constitute the "marketing mix," a term coined by Harvard business professor Borden (1965). The marketing mix is also commonly referred to as the "Four P's"--product, price, place, and promotion (McCarthy & Perreault, 1984). In a university setting, for instance, the product consists of a host of tangible and intangible ingredients known as education. Price includes not only monetary costs and financial assistance, but psychological costs as well. Academic calendar and physical location of facilities constitute place. Promotion can take the form of student recruitment, advertising, and public relations efforts.

An important fundamental philosophy that guides modern marketing theory and practice is a customer orientation which is sensitive to satisfying human needs. According to Kotler, this "marketing concept" can reconcile the interests








4

of individuals, organizations, and society. The key to accomplishing goals is to take into account the interests, needs, and desires of others (Kotler, 1976). The marketing concept is wholly compatible with the major tasks and commitments of public higher education with its aim toward responsiveness to its clientele in the sense that it emphasizes needs identification, systematic planning to meet those needs at the right time and place, clear communication, and follow-up assessment.

The import and application of marketing principles to

higher education administration has been well documented for nearly two decades (Barton, 1978; Bassin, 1975; Beder, 1986; Berry & George, 1978; College Entrance Examination Board, 1980; Fram, 1973; Hugstad, 1975; Ihlanfeldt, 1975, 1980; Kotler, 1976; Kotler & Fox, 1985; Krachenberg, 1972; Lucas, 1979; Thompson, 1979; Urban & Neslin, 1977; Wilms & Moore, 1987). The pervasiveness of marketing throughout academe has been evidenced in the increasing number of marketing articles being published in scholarly journals, professional educational associations devoting more conferences, workshops, and sponsored research to marketing topics, and the proliferation of marketing teaching job advertisements appearing in The Chronicle of Higher Education (Litten, 1980).

In a survey of 1,000 university administrators,

Alexander (1978) discovered that more than 90% of chief








5

executives favored the utilization of marketing strategies in the academic world and nearly three-quarters indicated that such practices were actually being used on their campuses. The attitudes of academic deans toward the marketing of higher education have also been examined and found to be positive. College deans responding from both public and private schools believed that marketing works in practice (and not just in theory), and is an adequate decision criterion in the day-to-day administration of higher education (Taylor & Judd, 1987).

Kotler (1979, 1987) has been credited with early

application of marketing principles to higher education and has gone so far as to recommend that colleges employ vice presidents for marketing. He has often reminded educators, especially those who resist the transfer of supposedly alien business techniques to the ivory tower, that all organizations--even nonprofit ones--engage in marketing activities whether they acknowledge it or not. "Colleges, for example, search for prospects (students), develop products (courses), price them (tuition and fees), distribute them (announce time and place), and promote them (college catalogs)" (Kotler, 1979, p. 41). Additionally, a university is also carrying on marketing activity "when it solicits its alumni, when it lobbies at the state legislature, and even when a member of the faculty puts together a research proposal" (Krachenberg, 1972, p. 370).








6

Academician receptivity to marketing began in the 1970s when postsecondary educational institutions faced increased competition for declining enrollments and scarce resources. Some university administrators were then willing to consider new techniques to assuage the severity of these trends and ensure their very survival. As a reaction to these demographic and economic challenges, marketing ideas were encouraged and adopted by departments of admissions, public relations, alumni development, and institutional advancement.

Whether marketing is appropriate in higher education is no longer a relevant question. Today the attention of university leaders must be directed toward analysis of how well marketing concepts and strategies are being employed and how usage can best be expanded to more operations within the institution in order to improve the overall effectiveness of the organization, while at the same time recognizing its distinctive environment, resources, and mission (Lovelock & Weinberg, 1984, p. ix). Krachenberg of the University of Michigan has advised administrators to develop total marketing programs for their institutions.

A major need, therefore, is to give universities a
deeper appreciation for the value and spirit of
marketing and to encourage them to make marketing a more formal and ongoing part of their administrative
activities. Marketing must be seen as not just a series
of often isolated institutional actions, but as a
dynamic operational activity having numerous
applications and multiple dimensions, which must be
performed in an integrated manner. (1972, p. 370)








7

Positioning Defined

An indispensable part of the marketing process is choosing a position for one's product or service and determining some viable segment of the market to serve. This is a difficult step, but essential to the fulfillment of institutional purpose and mission. Positioning is an aspect of marketing activity that deliberately attempts to fix certain images of products in the consumers' minds relative to competing products, via informative messages. Lovelock and Weinberg, respected marketing experts and former Stanford University colleagues, explained positioning

as

the process of establishing and maintaining a
distinctive place in the market for an organization as
a whole and/or its product offerings. Positioning is
concerned with the mental image of the product (or organization) held by consumers, donors, and other
groups. A position is held with respect to performance
on specific characteristics and in a competitive
marketplace is usually related to the positions held by
competing products or organizations. (1984, p. 192)

Theorists and practitioners in many fields, most

vociferously in the advertising community, have espoused numerous applications and interpretations of positioning. The position of a product or service may refer to its objective, physical, and functional characteristics; or it may refer to the consumer's subjective mental perceptions of the product or service in relation to other brands (Smith & Lusch, 1976).








8

However it may be defined and used, positioning

generally evokes rather competitive connotations. Simply put, there is no need for a positioning concept without competition (Ennis, 1982). Kotler specifically defined competitive positioning as "the art of developing and communicating meaningful differences between one's offer and those of competitors serving the same target market" (Kotler & Andreasen, 1987, p. 194).

It would seem obvious that positioning strategy is

important in the communications stage of marketing, which includes advertising and promotion. More widespread, however, positioning actually permeates the entire marketing mix and provides a frame of reference crucial to guiding administrative decisions (Cravens, 1975).

Although the origins of market positioning can be

traced back to the 1950s, renowned advertising professionals Al Ries and Jack Trout are generally credited with operationalizing this body of thought on a wide scale basis in the 1970s (Fox, 1985). The principles they expounded in a classic three-part series of articles (Trout & Ries, 1972a, b, c) included simple yet aggressive communication strategies for mastering the media and rapidly gained global appeal among advertising and marketing experts. It became evident by the 1980s that positioning had almost universal applicability to any form of human activity which involves communication. Positioning theory can be useful to anyone








9

who wants to promote a car, a cola, a computer, a college, a candidate, or even their own career (Ries & Trout, 1981).

Kotler was among the first to discuss the concept of positioning as a suitable marketing tool for academia, despite its "threat to the comfortable illusion that higher education is a sublime activity that needs no market engineering to survive" (1976, p. 55). The subsequent acceptance and usage of positioning strategies by administrators in higher education has also been adequately demonstrated by others (Geltzer & Ries, 1976; Ihlanfeldt, 1980; Leister, 1975; Litten, 1979; Litten, Sullivan, & Brodigan, 1983; Meyer, 1980; Neslin, 1986; Shaffer, 1978; Turner, 1982). Positioning has been embraced by academic leaders interested in assessing and/or reassessing their institutions' missions, markets, images, and the extent to which they are making a distinctive contribution to the general welfare, instead of merely copying the style of other organizations and claiming to be the best.

It is apparent that application of marketing theories-positioning concepts in particular--to the administrative functions within higher education is an idea worthy of serious consideration. It is one aim of the study reported herein to investigate its potential to augment the position of an often overlooked service of the university--public radio station broadcasting.








10

A University Service-Public Broadcasting

Since the late nineteenth century, public institutions of higher education have been created for three essential purposes: teaching, research, and service. It is dedication to the service function in particular that distinguishes the American university from other contemporary global systems of advanced learning (Brubacher & Rudy, 1968). Through dissemination of new ideas, cultural leadership, and provision of needed services directly to citizens outside the campus confines, the university strives to enrich the quality of life for its local, regional, and national constituents. Indeed, one might agree "the university as producer, wholesale and retailer of knowledge cannot escape service" (Kerr, 1972, p. 114). Admittedly, institutions attempt to fulfill their triadic mission with varying degrees of emphasis and enthusiasm. It is an obligation of all involved in university management, nevertheless, to extend some effort to understand and enhance the processes, mechanisms, and consequences of services within the scope of their administration.

Public radio stations, broadcasting from the halls of academe, are a service of the university and hold vast potential for advancing its public service goal. As such, these facilities have long been in need of focused attention by administrators. Few universities have even begun to tap these native institutional resources.








11

It is logical for institutions of higher education to

be involved in the communications business since many of the first licensed radio stations in the United States grew out of experiments in university physics and engineering departments (Waller, 1946). When Guglielmo Marconi went to England in 1896 to patent his wireless telegraphy device, students at Tulane University in Louisiana and the University of Arkansas were simultaneously replicating the process of transmitting messages over long distances (Frost, 1937a). Those on college campuses who took an early interest in radio envisioned its potential as an instrument of education, primarily for the dissemination of adult education courses and facilitation of lifelong learning. "Broadcasting was called 'the people's university.' it would link rich and poor, young and old. It would end the isolation of rural life. It would unite the nation," wrote media historian Barnouw (1978, p. 12) about hopes for radio during its infancy. While the use of radio for formal instructional purposes dwindled with the rise of television, educators found that noncommercial stations based at their institutions helped to fulfill one of the vital missions of university--public service. Simultaneously, this also met federal legal obligation of broadcast licensees to operate in the "public interest, convenience, and necessity" (U.S.C., Title 47, Section 303).








12

originally, "serving the people" meant extending the

university's resources to all citizens in a state (Robertson & Yokom, 1973) and elevating the level of general public taste and values (Waller, 1946). A philosophical debate continues today regarding the social responsibility of educational broadcasters in their role of public service. Considering the ubiquitous reach of radio, are its programmers obliged to respond to popular demand or strive for higher aesthetic and cultural enrichment (Cook, 1968)?

Most educators recognize that all media are educational in the sense that they are endlessly informing, impressing, inspiring, interpreting, and influencing audiences of all ages. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, something is always being taught and learned via the airwaves. "Whereas the schools encounter some of the population for a fraction of the time, the mass media reach most of the population most of the time," explained media educator Stein (1979, P. 3). More Americans can be found in front of television sets than in college classrooms; and those enrolled in higher education spend more time listening to radio than they do in academic study.

The media communicate culture, generally orient people in their society, influence their attitudes and values,
and entertain in ways that add to knowledge and
understanding. The scope and challenge of the media are
at least equal in breadth to those of classroom
curricula. (Stein, 1979, p. 111)

In light of the persistent exposure to media messages by their constituents, educational administrators in charge








13

of public radio stations must take a leadership role in utilizing their broadcast facilities and airtime in the most judicious manner. They must continually seek ways to improve the quality of the curriculum (programming service) and meet effectively the needs of their audiences. During the 1980s era of evaluation and accountability, executives at all levels of university management have learned to strive actively for nothing less than excellence. Progressive collegiate leaders who are open-minded and willing to investigate and adopt new practices based on sound theory will contribute to advancing their institutions' fulfillment of purpose to the benefit of society.

Fortunately, there are some basic, well-proven

marketing principles--most notably, positioning--that have already been perfected through experience elsewhere and hold potential for enriching many more functions within the sphere of higher education administration. In the words of one sage public broadcasting educator, "All we need do is borrow the horse from another wagon, learn how it behaves, and harness it to ours. To do less is to invite obsolescence" (Kerr 11, 1979, p. 24).


Summary of Introduction to the Problem

Throughout history educational administrators have eclectically borrowed theories from the social and behavioral sciences to apply to various functions of








14

schools. The last two decades have witnessed an increasing acceptance of marketing principles at the administrative levels of higher education. Marketing deals with uncovering and meeting human needs by supplying appropriate products that satisfy both consumer demands and institutional goals. In this context, marketing activity not only makes a meaningful contribution to the general welfare; it also is consistent with the philosophical orientation of leaders in educational organizations that strive to be responsive to the needs of their clientele.

One aspect of marketing theory in particular--market positioning--appears to be a viable tool for effective administration of higher education in the competitive environment which has intensified during the late twentieth century. Positioning focuses on the images of products and services as perceived by consumers. Al Ries and Jack Trout, recognized experts on the subject, have claimed that positioning has a broad range of applicability to many kinds of human activities. Ries and Trout (1981) theorized six major strategies for the positioning of products and services. These marketing-based strategies can be translated into relevant media vernacular for the purpose of this study and are summarized as follows: Strategy 1: Focus on the audience. Strategy 2: Focus on the competition. Strategy 3: Find a market niche to fill.








15

Strategy 4: Require consistency throughout the entire

positioning plan.

Strategy 5: Strive for simplicity in all communications. Strategy 6: Establish long-term commitment to the

positioning objective.

While its utility to and positive impact on some areas of academia have already been recognized and applauded, a question remains whether positioning theory may be suitable for enriching one specific service function of higher education for which administrators are held responsible-public radio broadcasting. The research that follows was undertaken in order to explore this possibility.


Statement of the Problem

The purpose of the study was to investigate the utility of Ries and Trout's marketing-based positioning theory for administrators who operate public radio stations licensed to institutions of higher education. The utility of the positioning theory was measured by expert opinion, practitioner usage, and specific outcome variables. The operationalized principles which comprise the theory were rated initially by a panel of experts in public broadcasting management and those deemed important for use in public radio were retained for further examination in the collegiate setting. The following questions were of particular concern:








16

1. What importance is placed upon Ries and Trout's

positioning strategies and tactics by a panel of experts and to what extent are they being utilized in public radio?

2. What importance is placed upon the expert-verified positioning strategies and tactics by three groups of selected administrators and to what extent are they being utilized in university-licensed public radio stations?

3. Is the use of positioning in university-licensed public radio stations associated with higher cumulative audience ratings, greater contributing membership size, and larger percentage of financial budget allocated for advertising and promotional activities?

Additionally, the following hypotheses were tested: 1101. There is no relationship between the experts' ratings of the degree of importance and use of the positioning strategies and tactics in public radio stations.

H02. There is no difference between university station administrators classified as general managers, program directors, and development directors with regard to degree of importance assigned to the positioning strategies and tactics.

H03. There is no difference between university station administrators classified as general managers, program directors, and development directors with regard to use of the positioning strategies and tactics.








17

H04. There is no relationship between the degree of

importance assigned to and use of the positioning strategies and tactics by the three administrative groups.

H05. There is no relationship between cumulative audience ratings and the use of positioning in selected university-licensed public radio stations.

H06. There is no relationship between contributing membership size and the use of positioning in selected university-licensed public radio stations.

H07. There is no relationship between percentage of financial budget allocated for advertising/promotional activities and the use of positioning in selected university-licensed public radio stations.


Delimitation and Limitations

The following confinements and weaknesses were observed in the conduct of the research:

1. The population was confined to public radio stations operated by institutions of higher education located in the United States. Furthermore, only those on-air FM stations designated as Class C (with maximum power of 100,000 watts) by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and also qualified by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), were selected for study.

2. One of the methods chosen for gathering information about current positioning practices was the telephone survey. Due to the expense and impracticality of








18

interviewing all management personnel at all CPB-qualified radio stations, the research sample was confined to three groups of key individuals most directly involved with and/or responsible for station positioning. Their administrative titles included general/station managers, program directors, and development/promotion directors.

3. It was beyond the scope of this study to analyze the position of individual radio stations or make comparisons between different state institutions.

4. Generalizations of the findings to populations

outside of the groups chosen to be studied herein should be considered speculative in nature, rather than conclusive.

5. It was recognized that data collected in the study represented the subjective opinions and perceptions of individuals in the sample groups regarding positioning at one point in time and that the findings may be subject to change in future research.

6. The report of findings and subsequent

recommendations were treated in such a way as to be useful and applicable to public radio stations operated by public institutions of higher education. Therefore, the results of the study may not be universally applicable to other types of radio stations (e.g., AM, low-power educational, carrier current, religious, cable, or commercial stations) nor positioning situations involving other products or services.








19

Justification for the Study

The need for the study was justified on the basis of the following six points: a) historical distrust between the broadcasting industry and academia, and the resulting need for mutual cooperation between the two; b) a deficiency of radio research; c) past neglect of educational broadcasting; d) lingering confusion regarding the purpose and identity of public radio; e) the significance of positioning and marketing to nonprofit organizations, higher education in particular; and f) the lack of positioning research applicable to education and broadcasting. Historical Distrust

The relationship between the broadcasting industry and academia has been historically characterized by mutual distrust, indifference, and even outright hostility (Head & Martin, 1957; Minow & Minow, 1976; Pennybacker, 1965, 1966; Stein, 1979; Woodliff, 1965; Wurtzel, 1980). The educational community in general has long been suspicious of the broadcast media. The intellectual tradition was based on the printed word, but broadcasting involves an unfamiliar technology not widely understood by educators. Fearing their ultimate replacement in schoolrooms, teachers and administrators have both resisted the adaptation of new communication techniques and often even ignored the educational potential of the media. Dragging well behind the status quo, professional educators have been the last








20

group to understand how to use the media effectively (Minow & Minow, 1976).

Part of the problem may be traced to the "intellectual arrogance" (Pennybacker, 1966) of some educators who have snubbed the popular media as crass and inferior amusements for the hoi polloi. Some in academia still cling to the "distorted image of commercial broadcasting as a cultural blight, whose interest to higher education is about on the same order as that of juvenile delinquency" (Head & Martin, 1957, p. 39). on the other side, those in the broadcasting industry have often seen educators as the fuzzy-minded intelligensia cloistered in ivory towers, contributing little to the real world (Pennybacker, 1965).

Another misunderstanding between educators and

broadcasters has involved differing views of the role of research. It is customary for scholars to conduct research for the sake of advancing knowledge in a certain discipline. In the broadcasting industry, however, research is only one of the tools used for the purpose of decision-making and policy formulation. The failure of academic researchers to link theory with relevant issues has been a source of constant criticism by management executives (Wurtzel, 1980).

Solutions to the long-standing rift will require continuing discussion between the two communities and expanded opportunities to work closely together (Stein, 1979). Industry officials could tap more seriously the








21

research expertise of academic specialists. Scholars would gain the satisfaction of constructively affecting the public media which touch the lives of so many millions. Major misconceptions may be dispelled when both camps recognize the mutual benefits of cooperating to design the communications future.

The study reported herein was undertaken with these

hopes in mind and to help bridge the gap between seemingly remote fields with new interdisciplinary knowledge.


Radio Research Deficiency

Although radio broadcasting has been an integral part of civilization for over a half century, it has not yet received the scholarly consideration its impact and endurance merits. "As an American social and cultural force, as a mass entertainment medium, as a commercial enterprise, as an art form, radio deserves the serious attention that scholars to date have not given it," one communications academician determined (Havig, 1979, p. 226).

Some studies can be found which focus on the historical development (Barnouw, 1982), audience ratings, and functional uses of radio (Trodahl & Skolnick, 1968). Many of the early radio analyses tended to be anecdotal, nostalgic, or laudatory (MacDonald, Marsden, & Geist, 1980). Since the late 1950s, television research has usurped much of the interest previously directed toward radio.








22

There has been some recent evidence that the study of radio may be in the process of revival and gaining respectability (Havig, 1979; MacDonald et al., 1980). Internal pressures within higher education against engaging in research of popular cultural topics have been waning. Public telecommunications have finally received academic legitimization.

The study described in this writing contributes to the creation of a new generation of scholarship dealing with a medium that is still a vital dimension of our national experience.


Educational Broadcasting Neglect

Educational broadcasting has been neglected and unappreciated throughout most of its stormy existence (Frost, 1937a; Robertson & Yokam, 1973; Siemering, 1969; Waller, 1946). Plagued by faculty indifference, lack of administrative support, insufficient funding, and commercial pressure (Severin, 1978), it seems almost miraculous that a noncommercial broadcasting system has survived as long as it has. With few exceptions, the majority of educational stations have been treated like "electronic sandboxes" (Robertson & Yokam, 1973) for students' extracurricular activities, pleasant frills but unworthy of serious consideration by college administrators.

Given the proper recognition and positioning, campusbased radio stations have the potential for being important








23

links with communities, resources for on-going communications research, public relations voices of the universities, and invaluable tools to further institutional goals (Siemering, 1969).

The significance of this study lies in its unique treatment of an entire class of higher educational enterprises--noncommercial, public radio stations--which have previously been undervalued or ignored by officials of the very institutions which spawned them. Educational radio, dubbed the "forgotten medium" (Fornatale & Mills, 1980), deserves understanding and enhancement by its own parental bodies.


Public Radio's Crisis

Educational broadcasting limped along on meager

nourishment for decades until federal legislation in the 1960s infused the system with a healthy dose of status, elevated by a name change. "Educational" radio, which had implied drab and boring pedagogy, was transformed into a lively "public" medium, with promises of exciting entertainment and novelty (Rowland, Jr., 1986). Despite the obvious maturity of public radio in the 1980s, its administrators have still been haunted by lingering doubts as to the real purpose and identity of the medium. Siemering (1969) summarized the conflicting role expectations which have continued to confront educational broadcasters in recent eras:








24

We must be academically respectable to receive
institutional support but broadly based to receive
public acceptance; we must have professional production
to be competitive with the neighboring stations but retain enough solid content to be socially relevant.
We must use the medium imaginatively but with one tenth
of the resources of commercial stations. (p. 65)

Persistent questions about public radio purposes,

identity, services, access, accountability, and positioning have remained relatively unanswered. In light of this confusion and ignorance, the need for a clear-cut image of public radio has emerged.

The research detailed herein was initiated to stimulate active discussion aimed at ultimate resolution of such issues. A distinct public radio image positioned in the contemporary marketplace would fill the chaotic void and stabilize its long-lived limbo. Significance of Positioning and Marketing

As part of the marketing process, positioning is

significant to nonprofit organizations, including higher education. Marketing is not inconsistent with nonprofit motives, and such organizations do face marketing problems similarly encountered by business enterprises. All of the operations involved in development of the product or service, how it is packaged, priced, and presented, should be geared to the goal of customer satisfaction.

Marketing provides a point of view about the place of
that organization in society. It helps determine when an organization is providing effective service and how it can renew itself in order to improve the delivery of that service. There is nothing contrary to the finest








25

standards or ethical principles of any profession.
Indeed, it may be the way to redeem the public
reputation of some professions. (Wagner, 1978, p. 51)

Competition--whether acknowledged or unacknowledged--is a primary concern even in the nonprofit world. It may be less bold and risky than the form practiced on Wall Street, but nonprofit rivals do compete for clients, donors, resources, sales, operating surpluses, and market shares. Competition may be viewed as socially desirable because it spurs organizations to produce their best and to respond to customers' needs (Rados, 1981).

The argument that public institutions of higher

education and their noncommercial radio stations are free from competition is unsubstantially naive. In reality both seek competitive advantages in their attempts to attract potential students and listeners, funding from sponsors and underwriters. In order to win their favors, management must reach them by means of marketing.

Higher education lacks a heritage of aggressive marketing (Berry & George, 1978). For the most part, university administrators' interest in marketing has focused on student recruitment and minor promotional endeavors. Many persons in academic circles still find the notion of marketing repugnant, associating it with hard-sell doubletalk rather than fulfillment of consumer needs. Yet higher education is basically a service industry and all members of the university body are actually engaged in the business of








26

marketing their institution, whatever else they do (Kotler & Levy, 1969). "Regrettably, few faculty and few administrators perceive that they are performing a service. . our failure to recognize this has been the primary reason for the declining credibility of our industry" (Ihlanfeldt, 1975, p. 136).

Responsive administrators of colleges and universities take interest in public perceptions of the institutional images reflected by their products and services. Campusbased radio broadcasting is one of the most prominent university services rendered to local constituencies. In a decade of change, diversity, and complexity, no service of the organization can afford to be left out of a marketing plan or survive without one.

The positioning decision is often the crucial strategic
decision . because the position can be central to customers' perception and choice decisions. Further,
since all elements of the marketing program can potentially affect the position, it is usually
necessary to use a positioning strategy as a focus for
the development of the marketing program. A clear
positioning strategy can insure that the elements of the marketing program are consistent and supportive.
(Aaker & Shansby, 1982, p. 56)

The study reported herein expands the theoretical base of positioning and marketing knowledge apropos to public broadcasting units within the domain of higher education administration, heretofore undemonstrated.








27

Lack of Positioning Research

Positioning guidelines for educationally-owned

broadcast stations have been conspicuously absent from the research literature. Much of the positioning advice from broadcasting, marketing, and advertising professionals has been intended for and exploited by the independent, commercial segments of broadcasting. Little, if any, of the valuable positioning modus operandi has filtered down to the noncommercial sector for utilization.

In relation to higher education administration, the applicability of market positioning has been somewhat limited to institutional image and student admissions studies (Meyer, 1980; Shaffer, 1978; Turner, 1982). There has been a noticeable shortage in educational literature regarding implementation of marketing methods to any university functions other than recruitment, public relations, and fund raising.

Previous positioning research which emanated from

business administration departments dealt mostly with the impact of comparative advertising on product positioning (James, 1981; Villarreal Camacho, 1983). Prospective research connections among positioning, broadcasting, and education are as yet largely unformulated.

A review of Dissertation Abstracts International, plus the extensive compilations or research titles by Sparks (1962) and Kittross (1978), revealed a sufficient number of








28

academic studies of an historical-descriptive nature about college radio. They ranged from early works such as that by Christiansen (1949) to contemporary surveys like that by Leidman (1985). No educational researcher to date has investigated the potential benefits of positioning collegeowned broadcasting facilities. One former communications graduate did examine listener perceptions of commercial AM radio station positioning (Kennedy, 1981). The report that follows, however, is the first of its kind to address specifically the positioning needs of public FM stations operated by institutions of higher education.

The import of this study is its contribution to a

growing body of relevant positioning knowledge adaptable to several diversified fields. In particular, it supplies an essential link between higher education administration and broadcast management, for the betterment of the public airwaves.


Research Methodology

Procedures for this ex post facto research involved

five distinct stages. The first stage was a thorough review of the related literature and research. The second stage consisted of development, testing, and modification of two survey instruments in the form of written and telephone questionnaires. Data collection from the expert panel, sample group, and other sources comprised the third stage. Included in the fourth stage was an analysis of the gathered








29

data. The final stage contained a discussion of the applicability of positioning theory to university-operated public radio stations, presentation of the recommendations, and identification of additional research needs.

A review of related literature and research revealed the prominence of Ries and Trout's positioning theory and its potential applicability to university-operated public radio broadcasting. Major principles which comprise the theory were operationalized and synthesized into a succinct list of positioning statements. A testing instrument containing these positioning strategies and tactics was constructed to measure perceptions of importance on a fivepoint Likert scale and to measure usage dichotomously. The purpose of the written instrument was to validate the literature-derived theoretical concepts by expert opinion, thereby establishing standards against which administrators' opinions and actual positioning practices in stations could be evaluated in later analysis.

A panel of experts, knowledgeable in the area of public broadcasting, was asked to judge the positioning strategies and tactics with respect to their theoretical feasibility in public radio stations. The expert panel was comprised of members of the Board of Directors of National Public Radio (NPR) and American Public Radio (APR), the major networks that supply programming products to university-operated stations.








30

The population of the study consisted of 171 public

radio stations operated by institutions of higher education that met special criteria of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in order to receive financial funding. This select group of stations was recognized for exemplary broadcasting service to their local communities. For inclusion in this research, however, only 100,000 watt (Class C) stations licensed to public state colleges and universities were considered. A deliberate sample of 54 eligible stations was chosen first from listings in the CPB's Public Broadcasting Directory 1987-1988 and then verified secondly in the records of the Broadcasting/ Cablecasting Yearbook (1988).

By way of introduction, administrators of the 54 stations were contacted by mail, soliciting their participation in a telephone survey. Confirmation forms returned to the researcher indicated agreement to participate and supplied information regarding stations' contributing members and financial budgets. A written version of the telephone questionnaire was sent to participants for their advanced consideration of the topic. Approximate appointments were scheduled for calling during August and September, 1988.

Three groups of administrators (N=96) were personally interviewed by telephone. They included general/station managers, program directors, and development/promotion








31

directors. The telephone interviewing process consisted of a survey instrument that elicited reactions to the theoretically-derived, expert-verified positioning methods. The research tool was an adapted version of the initial written positioning questionnaire. The survey was devised to obtain data regarding administrators' perceptions of positioning as well as current practices in universityhoused public radio stations.

Additionally, audience ratings of the stations were

obtained from the Radio Research Consortium, Inc., for the purpose of comparison with administrators' positioning usage.

Quantitative data results from the two survey

instruments and other records were analyzed in order to answer the research questions and hypotheses posed in the study. The statistical software package SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was utilized to perform the necessary nonparametric and parametric procedures for analysis.


Definition of Terms

Affiliate. A radio station that broadcasts programming from a network.

AM. Abbreviation for amplitude modulation; a method of transmitting radio waves at certain frequencies, 535-1605 kilohertz; also called the standard broadcasting band; there are 107 channels in the AM band.








32

Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook 1988. An annual reference directory of radio, television, and cable facilities, listing detailed information about stations; also includes ownership, network, programming, and equipment data.

Call Letters. The identifying characters of the alphabet assigned by the FCC to each radio station.

Commercial. Operated for financial profit; also, a radio announcement that advertises a product or service.

Coverage Area. The geographical region penetrable by a radio station's broadcast signal.

Cumulative Audience. The number of different persons served by a radio station's programming over a period of time, such as a week or a month.

Demographics. Descriptive information about audiences; statistics that divide the population in a market into groups, typically by age, sex, education, income.

Financial Funding. Monies from major sources including state and federal governments, academic institutions, subscribers, and business donors, that support the broadcasting functions of a radio station.

FM. Abbreviation for frequency modulation; a method of transmitting radio waves at certain frequencies, 88-108 megahertz; there are 100 channels in the FM band.

Format. The general type of programming presented by a








33

radio station, designed to appeal to a particular audience group.

Licensee. The individual, group, or organization

authorized by the FCC to own and operate a radio station.

Logo. Abbreviation for logotype; the visual symbols and/or audio sounds used to identify a radio station.

Market. The total potential population served by a radio station in a specific geographic area.

Membership. Individuals who contribute annually a specified amount of money to a radio station, generally receiving gifts and/or communications in return, such as subscriptions to program guides.

Noncommercial. Not operated for financial profit; also refers to radio stations that broadcast no advertising.

Positioning. A marketing-based theory which involves making the consumer (audience) believe that one product or service (station) is really different from its competitors.

Psychographics. Descriptive information about

audiences; statistics that divide the population in a market into groups; typically by lifestyles, attitudes, opinions, emotions, and/or behavioral patterns.

Public Radio. A federally-funded noncommercial radio service which broadcasts educational, informational, and cultural entertainment programming to local communities.

Rating. The percentage of the potential total audience








34

tuned to a specific program or radio station at a given time.

Reach. The number of individuals who listen to a

specific commercial, program, or radio station at least once in a given time period.

Share. The percentage of the total listening audience tuned to a specific program or radio station at a given time; total shares in a given market area equal 100 percent.

Spot. A radio announcement; also, an advertisement for a product or service.

Station. A radio frequency licensed by the FCC to broadcast on a certain frequency; may be commercial or noncommercial; may or may not be part of a network.


Organization of Subsequent Chapters

The study is organized into five chapters. Chapter II provides a review of the related literature. The research methodology is described in Chapter III and includes an explanation of the study design, expert panel, research population and sample, as well as procedures for data collection and analysis. The results are presented in Chapter IV. Chapter V contains an interpretation of the findings, conclusions, recommendations, and suggestions for further research.















CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Introduction

The review of related literature encompasses three distinct areas. The first section of this chapter is an overview of the late twentieth century media milieu, included to provide a frame of reference for understanding the nature of the research problem. The second section examines the evolution of public radio within the context of its relationship to American higher education, outlined to demonstrate the historic link between the two. Elucidation of market positioning theory can be found in the third section, intended to familiarize the reader with principles and concepts that are gaining attention and broader acceptance in the field of higher education administration.

The aim of this study was to test the applicability of a specific market positioning theory (Ries and Trout's theory) to a particular service function of and administrative unit within academia (public radio stations). Therefore, a synoptic view of the written works by Ries and Trout and explicit discussion of key ideas contained in their major book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, are



35








36

included in this chapter as well. A summary is offered to recapitulate the scope of the literature presented herein.


The Media Milieu

The Electronic Communications Revolution

Channels of communication have changed immensely during the twentieth century. Most Americans today are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of mass media in shaping lifestyles and influencing decisions that touch all aspects of contemporary life. The media are often the focal point of much controversy, criticized by some and praised by others. Newspapers, magazines, paperback books, films, records, radio, and television are difficult to ignore and nearly impossible to escape because of their instant availability everywhere. Millions of people find these media to be stimulating and even irresistible. Messages received via media help us form images of reality. In the process of transmitting information, ideas, and attitudes to a large public audience, mass communicators have an ability to mold the actual destiny of civilization through their powers of interpretation and persuasion (Age, Ault, & Emery, 1979).

Americans of the 1980s live in an electronic

environment. According to the Electronic Industries Association, consumers spent nearly 25 billion dollars in 1985 for electronic products ranging from portable audio systems to personal computers ("Slower But Steady," 1986).








37

In many homes, the traditional family room has developed into a media room or communicenter, complete with giant screen television, telephone, stereo, slide projector, citizen-band radio, video recorder, computer terminal, telex, and more (Kron, 1976; Stein, 1979; Williams, 1983). The communications revolution going on behind closed doors in American homes is making it easy for people to retreat into their own electronic island without stepping out the door (Ross, 1986). Gone is the familial hearth of yesteryear; folks now congregate around an "electronic fireplace" (Williams, 1983) for their information, entertainment, or distraction.

The explosion of new communications technologies makes person-to-person contact inessential, as words and pictures can now be bounced off space satellites and back to any place in the world in seconds. Time and distance being irrelevant, people around this shrinking globe are linked together in an impersonal and depersonalized way by modern mass media. Academician and communications scholar Frederic Williams (1983) summarized the situation as follows:

When historians in a distant future century look back on the twentieth century, there are compelling reasons
to believe that this era will mark another great
transition in the evolution of our civilization. . .
The twentieth century marks the onset of the
communications revolution. The human environment has
been transformed by a panoply of electronic
technologies. . We are well past the point of having the capability to transform most of human
knowledge into electronic form for access at any point
on the earth's surface. (pp. 200-201)








38

The Continuing Strength of Radio

The creation of music videos in recent years has not

diminished the popularity of recorded music. Broadcast and cable television have not displaced motion pictures. The invention of radio did not make books and other printed material obsolete. People do not simply abandon one medium when another comes into vogue. Rather, audiences need and use them all, as interest in any one medium often stimulates attention to others (Head, 1972).

There is evidence that radio is alive and well and

growing stronger than ever (Blume, 1983: Fornatale & Mills, 1980: Frazier, Gross, & Clay, 1977; Hedges, 1986; Landau, 1986; Radio Advertising Bureau, 1983; Williams, 1983). The total audience, number of stations, and gross revenue of the radio industry have increased every year since the early 1960s (Blume, 1983). During the period 1950 to 1970, the United States population increased 35 percent while the number of radio stations in the country increased 129 percent (Toffler, 1980). By 1988, there were more than 11,000 radio stations licensed by the Federal Communication Commission (By the numbers, 1988). Americans purchase 120,000 new radios a day (Hedges, 1986) and the average household contains more than five working sets (Frazier, et al., 1977). There are more than half a billion radios in use (Landau, 1986) by people as they listen while working, driving, walking, shopping, studying, eating, and doing








39

numerous other activities. A print advertisement by the Arbitron ratings company placed in trade journals boasted the following:

It reaches beyond sight. Into imagination. 200
million listen every week. Three and a half hours
every day. On the road, at work, on the jogging path,
96% of all Americans sing its tune, hear its message.
That's the power of radio. (Arbitron, 1986, p. S-9)

Contributing to the significant growth of radio during the last three decades and continuing into the 1980s are the educational, noncommercial stations, which increased 2,292 percent between 1950 and 1981 (DeSonne, 1982). Recent figures reveal there are 1,339 educational FM stations broadcasting on the air, with another 297 new facilities in various stages of construction (By the numbers, 1988). These noncommercial stations are not operated for financial profit. The majority are licensed to colleges and universities, the balance to local school boards, municipalities, churches, religious organizations, and libraries (Fornatale & Mills, 1980).

Prior to 1967, "noncommercial" radio was referred to as "educational" radio. The most recently accepted generic word for it is "public" radio (Rowland, 1986). It is still customary to use these three terms interchangeably, however, and they will be exchanged throughout this discussion to suit the particular emphasis.








40

The De-Massified Audience

Throughout several decades of broadcast history, it was generally assumed that the recipients of mass communications were relatively large and undifferentiated numbers of people, receiving identical messages at the same time (Head, 1972). The mass media cut across all socioeconomic, demographic and lifestyle differences to reach for the common denominator in anonymous audiences. The popularity of network radio during the 1930s and 1940s, for example, was attributed to its wide appeal to the average American family. It was not until the 1960s that communications researchers began to identify dozens of distinct audiences among the various media (MacDonald, et al., 1980). Today it is nearly impossible to characterize a typical audience of any medium and the word "mass" is becoming obsolete. Futurist Alvin Toffler coined the term 11de-massified media" (1980, p. 174) in reference to the plethora of newspapers, magazines, paperback books, films, records, radio, and television now aimed at specific segments of the populace. To mention but a few, there exist certain publications circulated for sports enthusiasts, movies produced particularly for teenagers, and music attuned to even the esoteric tastes.

Broadcasting, earlier defined bucolically as the

literal act of scattering seeds of sound upon the landscape at random (Siemering, 1969), has been readjusted and fine








41

tuned into "narrowcasting"--usually a restricted type of programming appealing to a narrowly defined demographic audience (Eastman, Head, & Klein, 1982). Those engaged in the administration of radio in particular have experimented with numerous program formats to capture the attention of highly selective age, ethnic, and/or cultural groups (Johnson & Jones, 1978; Quaal & Brown, 1976).

The marketing objective of media management has evolved from striving to be all things to all people, into the precise targeting of much smaller groups. Catering to special interests by means of personalized service has become a standard ploy to build rather limited but loyal clientele in the 1980s.

The Relationship Between
Public Radio and Higher Education Historical Perspective

Roots of radio broadcasting in the United States can be traced to collegiate engineering and science laboratory experiments on the eve of the twentieth century (Barnouw, 1982; Frost, 1937a; Wailer, 1946). Faculty and students at many midwestern land-grant universities tinkered with the technology of wireless communication for decades before administrators glimpsed its mass educational possibilities. While Professor Reginald Aubrey Fessenden was head of the electrical engineering school at Purdue University in 1892, he began research that resulted in the first long-distance








42

transmission of the human voice by wireless telephony in 1906 (Geddes, 1988). The capability of adding speech, and later music, in point-to-point communications sparked interest of those in other academic departments on campus who wanted access to this new electronic teaching device. Once the hardware had been invented and stations constructed, the novelty of radio subsided in the scientific segment of academe. Little consideration was given to the large potential audience beyond the educational community. Early use of radio was generally limited to in-house training and instructional purposes (Brant, 1981).

Experimental transmitter 9XM, developed by two physics professors at the University of Wisconsin, was the first full-time educational radio station, licensed by the Department of Commerce in 1915. Its call letters later became and remain WHA, which was always considered a leader in the field (Baudino & Kittross, 1977). More than a dozen other universities were also issued licenses before world War I. Some stations were even the products of senior theses.

Radio boomed in the 1920s as receivers became more available for purchase by the public. Dissemination of weather and agricultural reports gradually expanded into broadcasts from college classrooms, concert halls, and sporting events. "Several began to vision the microphone as a powerful new arm of the teacher, as a means for extending








43

his influence over wide areas far beyond the classroom and campus," wrote broadcast historian Frost (1937b, p. 216) in regard to the awakened interest in radio as an educational tool. By 1925 educational institutions had been granted 171 AM broadcasting licenses. However, most of these permits were short-lived and expired or were transferred to commercial interests in the early 1930s (Broadcasting/ Cablecasting Yearbook, 1988).

Economic factors contributed to the decline of many educational radio stations during the Great Depression period. Financial costs of station operation, hazy educational goals, laissez-faire governmental regulations, lack of powerful advocacy, and pressures from commercial broadcasters to give up their shared frequencies, all challenged the tenuous existence of campus stations (Lashner, 1976; Severin, 1978).

Although radio broadcasting in the U.S. originally

began as a totally commercial-free concept (Barnouw, 1982; Head, 1972), venturous entrepreneurs found ways of making money from the airwaves. Toll broadcasting and program sponsorship emerged as means of offsetting production expenses and soon developed into overt advertising (Smith, 1979). Selling commercial time proved to be so financially profitable that successful broadcasting businessmen eyed the educational channels for easy take-over. University licensees were unprepared to meet the competition (Waller, 1946).








44

In an attempt to survive the encroachment of

commercialism in the broadcasting industry, educators representing some campus radio facilities organized the Association of College and University Broadcasting Stations (ACUBS), which subsequently became the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) in 1934. According to communications historian Sydney Head, this small group of pioneers met to discuss "monotonously consistent common problems: lack of money and lack of appreciation in the upper levels of the educational hierarchy" (1972, p. 210). The association's sincere but weak lobbying efforts failed to prevent federal regulatory authorities from squeezing educational stations out of the regular standard broadcasting band (AM) and into the high frequency spectrum

(FM) where channels were unwanted by commercial enterprises (Nord, 1978).


The Role of the Federal Government

It was not until 1945 that the Federal Communications Commission finally took action on behalf of educational stations by reserving 20 of the 100 FM channels exclusively for noncommercial use (FCC, 1945). Among some of the first university-licensed FM stations were WILL of the University of Illinois and KSUI of the University of Iowa. Another boost for college radio came in 1948 when the FCC authorized low-power broadcasting, enabling schools to start up 10-watt stations for only a modest investment. Syracuse








45

University's WAER and DePauw University's WGRE were examples of some of the original low-power operations (Brant, 1981).

With encouragement from educational broadcasters and the endorsement of President Lyndon Johnson, the Carnegie Corporation formed a commission in 1965 to study noncommercial broadcasting and make recommendations for its future. The commission coined the term "public broadcasting" in order to disassociate from the stuffy image projected by traditionally dull educational broadcasting and to emphasize intentions of serving the general public at large (Carnegie Commission, 1967). While the Carnegie report focused entirely on television, it did provide Congress with a timely impetus for passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Radio was included in the legislation only after strong persuasion by the director of NAEB's educational radio division (Gibson, 1977). This law created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a quasigovernmental nonprofit agency designed to receive and dispense funds for public broadcasting. Under the auspices of the CPB, National Public Radio was founded in 1970 to supply programming to member stations. Yet the origination of NPR has been characterized as "almost an afterthought" of politicians (Fornatale & Mills, 1980, p. 175).

The Carnegie Commission produced a second report in

1979--this time addressing radio, too--calling for increased federal support and expansion of the public broadcasting








46

system (Carnegie Commission, 1979; Gibson, 1977). Unfortunately for both public radio and higher education licensees, the Carnegie II recommendations were never introduced in Congress and had little impact during an era when federal spending was closely scrutinized. The dilemma of a permanent, long-range funding solution persisted into the 1980s (Rowland, 1986).

Congress created the Temporary Commission on

Alternative Financing for Public Telecommunications in 1981 to explore funding options and to oversee an advertising experiment (TCAF, 1983). The Commission concluded that allowing limited advertising on public stations was risky but had no real detrimental effect. Recommendations included continuation of federal aid as well as stimulation of nonfederal revenue sources through enhanced underwriting acknowledgements, "to permit public broadcasters to identify supporters by using brand names, trade names, slogans, brief institutional-type messages, and public service announcements" (TCAF, 1983, p. iv). The subsequent relaxation of FCC policies regarding limited advertising contributed to a spiraling trend toward commercialization of the public broadcasting industry, as outlined prophetically by Dunagan (1983).


Administrators' Attitudes Toward Radio

While some administrators in higher education welcomed the radio phenomenon from the start as an instrument capable








47

of delivering an important service to their communities, interest was usually the exception and apathy the rule. The story at Columbia University during the formative years of educational radio was typical: A proposal for a radio station was rejected in 1920 by President Nicholas Murray Butler who reportedly told the requesting administrator, "Tyson, don't bother about that. There are gadgets turning up every week in this country, and this won't amount to anything" (Frost, 1937b, p. 219).

College administrators were slow to recognize the value of radio in an academic setting. Some educators used radio only as a promotional tool to publicize their institutions and hopefully pump up enrollment figures, especially in extension of home-study courses. The general public paid meager attention to such self-proclaimed encomia by school officials.

It was difficult for some of the persons responsible
for programming on the educational stations to realize that a station to be successful must actually render a
service to the community in which it operates. More
often they held to the thought that any program service
should promote first, little thinking that unless a
program can stimulate interest, it cannot promote.
(Waller, 1946, p. 400)

Where broadcast operations were housed on campus, i.e., within administrative jurisdiction of academic departments or other divisions, was a reflection of top management's commitment and support for its station. University structure and governance was also reflected in a station's ability to execute its functions with quality and responsive








48

programming. "Ideally . the general manager of a university station would serve as a vice-president of the university at the same level as vice presidents for academic or financial affairs," advised one public broadcasting professional (Ozier, 1978, p. 34). Placement of station management any lower in the organizational chart invited superiors to administer the broadcast operation as just part of some other activities.

Since their inception, collegiate radio stations were susceptible to manipulation by administrators to suit personal needs and tastes rather than those of the audience (Lucoff, 1979). Nevertheless, university management had a legal and ethical obligation to ensure that its broadcasting operated in the interest, convenience, and necessity of the general public, not simply for benefit of the university or its personnel. The Editorial Integrity Project (1986) reminded educators repeatedly that a university might possess the broadcast permit, "but that institution holds the license in trust for the public and on behalf of the public. Public broadcasting stations are required to serve the public, not those who hold their licenses" (p. iii).

In all too many institutions, public radio was viewed as a pleasant frill, "incapable of serious academic contribution" (Siemering, 1969, p. 66). Administrators who treated radio with indifference or lukewarm concern caused the university's failure to fulfill its responsibilities as








49

an FCC licensee. Those in the upper echelons of administration who acknowledged the role their radio outlet could play in furthering institutional goals tended to enhance the station with adequate fiscal support and other resources necessary to provide a meaningful service.

Good administration in any field requires clear and
open lines of communication and understanding between the top-level decision makers and the group in charge
of day-to-day operations. It was no surprise,
therefore, to discover that the significance of a public radio station's service in its community is
directly proportional to the degree of understanding
and support it receives from the top administrators of its licensee institution. (Robertson & Yokom, 1973, p.
110)


Status of University-Licensed Radio in the 1980s

No uniform description has adequately captured the

essence of university-licensed public radio. Basically a local medium (Josephson, 1979), public stations have mirrored the diversity of institutions and communities in which they serve.

Although radio has played a diminished role in higher education since its pre-emption by television (Eastman et al., 1985), public radio stations on campus generally have matured and became more professional during the 1980s.

Leidman's 1985 survey of 243 college and universityaffiliated stations revealed four predominant missions or operating philosophies: to provide community service, student training, alternative programming, and a professional sound. Furthermore, lack of commitment and








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understanding of broadcast needs by institutional licensees were apparent in that particular national station sample.

Brant (1981) pointed out that instructional programs

declined over the years and were replaced by entertainment, news, and public affairs programming. Leidman (1985) discovered that while jazz and fine arts remained the musical mainstay of college stations, an upsurgence of progressive rock was also evident. University of Missouri's KBIA-FM was one of the premier stations in 1988 to experiment with New Age and Space Music programming.

Station WHUR-FM of Howard University in Washington, DC, was the first college-operated radio outlet in a major market to achieve a first-place standing in the Arbitron ratings (Evans, 1986). other university stations had surprising impact on local retail record sales due to their airplay (Gold, 1982). In fact, most collegiate broadcasting succeeded primarily in the area of music programming.

As a group, the deficiency noted a decade ago has also characterized educational stations through the 1980s: "The least successful aspect has been their failure to extend the knowledge available in our educational institutions to the public" (Johnson & Jones, 1978, p. 135).


Market Positioning Theory

Theorists Ries and Trout

Al Ries and Jack Trout were both alumni of the advertising and sales department at General Electric








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Company. Ries went on to become an account supervisor at Needham, Louis, Brorby, and Marsteller, Inc., while Trout was a divisional ad manager for Uniroyal, Inc. The Ries Cappiello Colwell advertising agency was founded in 1963, with Al Ries as president and Jack Trout as vice president and director of marketing services (Trout & Ries, 1972a). Known as "the positioning agency," some of their clients included Baldwin Pianos, Dun's Review, Sony of America, and Western Union (Dougherty, 1975). Ries Cappiello Colwell also gained notoriety in the mid-1970s for serving free lunches to employees at a time when other businesses were experiencing economic retrenchment (Grozon, 1975). Trout and Ries, Inc. was created as a separate entity in 1979, with Ries appointed as chairman and Trout president of the New York-based company. Their advertising client list contained such familiar organizations as Digital Equipment Company, McGraw-Hill, Monsanto, NBC-FM Radio Group, Radio Advertising Bureau, Sterling Optical, and the Xerox Corporation (Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies, 1986).

Jack Trout published his first article about

positioning in 1969, predicting a forthcoming era in the communications and marketing business that would place emphasis not only on product features and corporate image, but more importantly, on establishing a "position" in the minds of prospective customers. Trout explained how too








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many similar products ("me-too" products), plus the overabundance of marketing messages were causing consumer confusion. He advised top management of organizations to evaluate objectively their offerings from the customers' points of view and relate to what was already in their prospects' minds, i.e., take advantage of positions already owned. Strong positioning programs were cumulative in nature, he stressed, flexible yet consistent (Trout, 1969).

In a follow-up article, Trout (1971) chastised his former employer, General Electric (G.E.), for violating rules of the positioning game by venturing into the computer business with intentions of dislodging the market leader, IBM Corporation. As Trout foresaw, attempts at head-on competition proved futile for both G.E. and RCA since neither company built a new computer position based on their well-known business strengths.

A three-part series of articles in Advertising Age

(1972a, b, c) moved the positioning topic into the limelight of discussion within the marketing community and anointed Al Ries and Jack Trout as gurus of positioning. In their first published collaboration, Trout and Ries traced the evolution of market positioning from various advertising cycles. The 1950s product era, when hard-sell ads predominated, was followed by the 1960s image phase, when creativity came into vogue. The 1970s ushered in the positioning era, "where strategy is king" (1972a, p. 35).








53

Yesterday, positioning was used in a narrow sense to mean what the advertiser did to his product. Today,
positioning is used in a broader sense to mean what the advertiser does for the product in the prospect's mind.
In other words, a successful advertiser today uses
advertising to position his product, not to communicate
its advantages or features. (Trout & Ries, 1972a, p.
35)

Positioning was touted as a way to ensure communications will be heard in a media-saturated society overexposed to advertising noise. Astute pseudo-psychologists, Ries and Trout based their theory on the human tendency to rank nearly everything on mental ladders, as well as the filtration process of coping with complexity by reducing information to its simplest elements. "Make no mistake about it, the mind is the battleground," they declared (Trout & Ries, 1972a, p. 38).

The second article in the frequently cited series

illustrated several positioning strategies that worked well for the automobile, packaged goods, beverage, media, and airline industries, by linking brands to prospects' entrenched perceptions. Trout and Ries (1972b) pointed out the importance of a good name, warned against product line extensions, and recommended unhesitatingly naming competitors.

Part three of the published trilogy dealt with

strategical thinking. Ries and Trout said that leadership positions were not the result of marketing skill or product innovations, but were built by "seizing the initiative . while the situation was still fluid" (Trout & Ries, 1972c,








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p. 114). They offered strategic advice to both leaders and nonleaders on how to enhance their positions in the marketplace. Leaders are benefited, they said, by extolling the value of their generic product category, while nonleaders should position as an alternative to the leader. Six questions were also presented for consideration by those embarking upon a positioning program:

1. What position do you already own in the prospect's

mind?

2. What position would you like to own?

3. Whom must you outgun to establish the position?

4. Do you have enough money to achieve and hold the

position?

5. Are you prepared to stick with one consistent

positioning concept?

6. Does your creative approach match your positioning

strategy? (Trout & Ries, 1972c, p. 116)

Ries and Trout's positioning theory was panegyrized by many marketing professionals in the years following their famed explication in the pages of Advertising Age. They were besieged with requests for reprints of the articles and for speaking engagements worldwide. Jack Trout even joined the academic ranks briefly to teach a college course on the subject of positioning at New York University during the 1974-75 school year (Dougherty, 1975). Al Ries wrote prolifically through the decade (Geltzer & Ries, 1975; Ries,








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1974a, 1974b, 1977), including a treatise aimed at college admissions officers outlining requirements of successful institutional positioning strategy--market research, timing, objectivity, and consistency (Geltzer & Ries, 1976).

Not all were enamored with the controversial

positioning doctrine. Abrams (1972), Crain (1973), Greenland (1972), McCall (1973), and Springer (1972), for example, challenged Ries and Trout's preoccupation with strategy at the expense of people, creativity, and distribution channels. However, none of these critics seriously disputed the basic tenets of the theory (Positioning "positioning," 1972).

Ten years after coining the positioning buzzword, Ries and Trout paid homage to the concept with a "birthday" party at the posh 21 Club in New York City, where Ries was quoted as asking the rhetorical question, "If we're so smart, why aren't we rich?" (Trout & Ries take position, 1979, p. D11)

To chart the status of positioning a decade after its inception, Trout and Ries prepared a follow-up article in 1979 and deduced that "in the communication jungle out there, the only hope to score big is to be selective, to concentrate on narrow targets, to practice segmentation" (p. 32). They found that positioning was still an effective practice in the contemporary marketplace. Additionally, the positionists were even more emphatic about the need for a competitor orientation, which had been devalued historically








56

by marketing experts solely in favor of the customer orientation. In order to succeed in the 1980s, they prophesied, a company should "look for weak points in the positions of its competitors and then launch marketing attacks against those weak points" (Trout & Ries, 1979, p. 42).

Jack Trout lectured at a national convention of radio programmers in 1981, addressing broadcasting problems such as station proliferation, format copying, and AM decline. He advised radio executives to nail down a clear identity, make bold moves when necessary, and quickly block competitors' actions. Furthermore, Trout counseled AM broadcasters to maintain their forte in news/information services rather than attempt to recapture music listeners (Tricks, 1981, p. 28).

Also printed the same year was Ries and Trout's major book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind (1981), which elaborated upon many of the ideas originally put forth in their journal articles. The recurrence of six general positioning themes was ostensive throughout the work-customer focus, competitor focus, market niche, consistency, simplicity, and commitment.

Customer Focus. According to Ries and Trout, the

genesis of a successful positioning campaign was to focus on the prospective customers or clients, starting with investigation of the present marketplace mentality. The








57

purpose was to discover what images of one's product or service had already been formulated, i.e., to determine what currently exists in the prospects' minds. Research efforts were encouraged in order to detect prevailing attitudes and opinions of the target consumers. Ries and Trout acknowledged that a customer's perception is the only true reality in a marketing communications situation. They also distinguished between inside-out thinking and outside-in thinking. "To find a unique position, you must ignore conventional logic. Conventional logic says you find your concept inside yourself or inside the product. Not true. What you must do is look inside the prospect's mind," wrote the authorities (Ries & Trout, 1981, p. 40). one approach they suggested to mapping the minds of prospective customers was use of semantic differential, a research technique based on ranking competitors' attributes for comparative purposes.

Competitor Focus. Ries and Trout depicted the problem in most marketing situations as mainly one of "coming to grips with the competition" (1981, p. 223). They stressed the importance of identifying competitors, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and examining prospects' thoughts regarding these rivals. Consideration of market scenarios from competitors' viewpoints as well as one's own was also highly recommended by the positioning doctrinaires. Ries and Trout praised the classic 1960s Avis rent-a-car advertising campaign--"we try harder" (1981, p. 38)--as a








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prime example of sagacious maneuvering in relation to a competitor. Since Hertz was recognized as the market leader at the time, Avis managed to establish a second place position by relating itself to its number one competitor, they construed, not from actually trying harder!

Market Niche. A vital part of management planning and decision-making, according to Ries and Trout, involves the determination of efficacious market positions to be achieved and maintained while confronting threats of competition and/or imitation. They claimed that the strongest positions in the mind are those which were established first, usually by serving the unmet needs of some distinct consumer segment. Ries and Trout declared the first person, first service, or first product to capture prospects' attention had strategic advantage over "also-rans," i.e. followers, in most any field. Examples they listed included such corporate prominence as Kodak in photography, IBM in computers, Xerox in paper copiers, and Coca-Cola in soft drinks.

The essential ingredient in securing the leadership
position is getting into the mind first. The essential
ingredient in keeping that position is reinforcing the original concept. The standard by which all others are
judged. In contrast, everything else is an imitation
of "the real thing." (Ries & Trout, 1981, p. 56)

If one cannot find a way to be first in their particular product category, then Ries and Trout suggested that management 11cherchez le creneaull (look for the hole) and fill it (p. 66). Marketing creneaux might be created on the








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basis of product size, price, usage, consumer characteristics, or distribution avenues. For instance, Volkswagen's "think small" slogan and 7-Up's "uncola" alternative identification were cited by the positioners as representing such market niche strategies (Ries & Trout, 1981, p. 40, 67).

Consistency. Once the basic positioning concept of a product or service has been decided by management, Ries and Trout recommended that all other elements of the positioning program be carefully developed around the central theme. Everything should match the intended position, they claimed--the product itself, name, advertising copy, promotional activities associated with it--and serve to reinforce the original concept. "More than anything else, successful positioning requires consistency. You must keep at it year after year," the experts advised (1981, p. 40). Ries and Trout lamented the fact that executives who have led winning positioning campaigns often stumble into a trap of forgetting what made them successful, thus failing to appreciate positions firmly established and changing strategies unnecessarily. The effectiveness and credibility of the Avis rent-a-car positioning campaign mentioned above, for example, was subsequently eroded by mistaken "brag-andboast advertising" (Ries & Trout, 1981, p. 41) of the company's later aspirations to be number one rather than two on the consumer product ladder.








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Simplicity. "Experience has shown that a positioning

exercise is a search for the obvious. Those are the easiest concepts to communicate because they make the most sense to the recipient of a message," Ries and Trout explained (1981, p. 204). However, simple ideas are often hard to accept, due to a human tendency to marvel at complexity and snub the facile. The positioning masters warned management to be leery of complicated or clever ideas as probably being too obscure to implement in an overcommunicated society. Unembellished messages, purified of cryptic copy, can produce a striking impact, notwithstanding the nearly deafening volume of media chatter featured in contemporary American life. In the transmittance of communications, Ries and Trout averred, more is actually less and vice versa.

One of the great communication tragedies is to watch an
organization go through a careful planning exercise,
step by step, complete with charts and graphs and then
turn the strategy over to the creativee" for
execution. They, in turn, apply their skills and the strategy disappears in a cloud of technique, never to
be recognized again. (Ries & Trout, 1981, p. 225)

The positioning doctrinaires suggested sometimes advertising the unadorned marketing strategy alone, in lieu of expressions shrouded with ingenuity.

Commitment,. Positioning is a cumulative process and therefore demands an extensive long-term commitment by management. "Winning the mind . is a lot like waging a war. Everyone in the army, from the top down, must agree on what the objective is," wrote Ries and Trout (1981, p. 178)








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in regard to essential support from the entire organization. Their positioning guidance included determining a basic strategy and remaining with it, permitting modifications in the short-term tactics only. Ries and Trout counseled leaders to set corporate positioning goals five to ten years into the future. It also takes a substantial amount of financial capital to drive a message into prospects' minds, they insisted, since the modern market environment clamors with incessant advertising noise relative to new products and services. The positionists exhorted the allocation of ample monetary resources in order to build, establish, and hold a chosen position. Although change is unavoidably characteristic of the late twentieth century marketing scene, its accompanying instability can be detrimental to effective positioning. Ries and Trout's remedy to cope with the rapid pace of change was managerial instruction to keep doing what one does best. To illustrate the endurance of successful positioning formulas, Ries and Trout pointed to evidence such as Marlboro cowboys riding into the sunset through many years, Crest toothpaste fighting the cavities of a second generation, and Avon calling for decades.

The tone of Al Ries and Jack Trout's theorizing became increasingly couched in militaristic language and connotations reminiscent of battle at the front of a firing line. Their fascination with military strategy culminated in the publication of Marketing Warfare (1986), a book








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dedicated to a nineteenth century Prussian general whom they admired as being a brilliant marketing strategist. Based on the premise that modern marketing has become a life-or-death conflict, Ries and Trout outlined principles of defensive, offensive, flanking, and guerrilla warfare suitable for corporate emulation. They declared that "the true nature of marketing today is not serving the customer; it is outwitting, outflanking, outfighting your competitors. In short, marketing is war where the enemy is the competition and the customer is the ground to be won" (Ries and Trout, 1986, p. vi). Anyone reluctant to arm themselves with the strategical forces led by Ries and Trout's combat rules might be severely disadvantaged on the marketing battlefield which has already exploded and will only intensify in the near future.


Summary

The preceding review of related literature served to

document the interdisciplinary undertones pertaining to the research problem of this study. The media milieu in which university-licensed public radio stations operate was described in terms of an accelerating electronic communications revolution, including a radio medium narrowcasting to audiences no longer en masse. The evolution of public radio was unfolded with acknowledgement of its educational roots, federal impetus, academic administrators, perceptions and involvement, plus a status








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report of collegiate stations in the 1980s. Delineation of Ries and Trout's market positioning theory was included to provide a reference guide for those in higher education administration who may be receptive to innovative philosophies potentially applicable to academe.















CHAPTER III

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


Introduction

An overview of the research methodology was presented in Chapter I. This chapter describes specific procedures employed to address the research problem pertaining to the utility of Ries and Trout's market positioning theory for university administrators who operate public radio stations. The following subtopics are detailed herein: design of the study, expert panel selection, research population, sample selection, instrumentation, data collection, analysis of the data, and summary.


Design of the Study

The study was classified as ex post facto, a design

used frequently in research related to education (Campbell & Stanley, 1963). The researcher was not able to manipulate deliberately or to control the variables under investigation due to pre-existing conditions. In this situation, it was justifiable to obtain information in retrospect and to look for possible relationships between independent and dependent variables. While cause-and-effect conclusions were not




64








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appropriate from this type of design, comparisons and correlations may be suggested (McMillan & Schumacher, 1984).


Expert Panel Selection

A panel of experts was consulted for the purpose of judging the importance and usefulness of Ries and Trout's theoretical market positioning principles for administrators of public radio stations. The panel consisted of 14 of the 26 members of the Board of Directors of National Public Radio and American Public Radio (Appendix B). These two networks produce the majority of programming that university-licensed public radio stations broadcast daily. The distinguished Board members have specific expertise in the field of public broadcasting management. The fundamental reason for selecting the NPR and APR leadership to comprise the expert panel for this study, therefore, was their positions of authority to guide and influence the product which stations must subsequently position in the marketplace.


Research Population

The research population consisted of 171 universitylicensed public radio stations located throughout the United States that were identified as being "CPB-qualified.11 The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as noted in Chapter II, functions specifically by federal law to receive and dispense funds for public broadcasting. The Corporation has








66

designated strict criteria--covering areas of facilities, personnel, programming quality, budget, on-air time, and more--that must be met in order to qualify for financial support. Institutions holding the broadcasting license and housing the stations are comprised of public, private, religious, technical, two-year and four-year colleges and universities. While other noncommercial licensee types, such as local and state, are also eligible for CPB qualification, the majority are institutions of higher education. Considering there are 1339 noncommercial educational radio stations currently on the airwaves (By the numbers, 1988), those receiving CPB recognition (171) are indeed an elite group.


Sample Selection

A subset of the research population was of particular interest for this study. According to Fox (1969), the only way to assure that specific elements of the population are included in the sample is to use a process of deliberate selection. In this case, the sample was confined to CPBqualified public radio stations classified by the FCC as Class C (maximum power 100,000 watts) FM facilities licensed to public state colleges and universities. Fifty-six stations met this criterion for inclusion in the sample, but two were used in a pretest experiment, leaving a final sample size of 54 for the main study.








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The rationale for directly choosing this sample was

that the subject of market positioning is a relatively new frontier for serious consideration in university-licensed public radio. Therefore, in light of the exploratory nature of the topic, it seemed logical to investigate initially those stations run by well-established institutions which were considered the most sophisticated--as evidenced by meeting the rigorous CPB standards--and powerful in terms of having potential to reach the largest audiences.

Three groups of administrators representing the 54 stations were invited to participate in the study. They held titles and were accountable for duties as follows:

(1) General or Station Managers, who were basically the formulators of the stations' positioning strategies,

(2) Program Directors, who developed the product and implemented tactics to carry out the strategies, and

(3) Development or Promotion Directors, who were responsible for communicating the stations' position to prospects. The reason for selecting these groups was an assumption that basic understanding of and receptivity to market positioning by these particular administrators may determine the impact of their stations in the marketplace.

The administrators were identified first from listings in the CPB's Public Broadcasting Directory 1987-1988 and then verified in the Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook (1988). A total of 96 administrators participated in the








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research--32 from each administrative group--representing 45 stations in the sample (Appendix I).


Instrumentation

Instrument Design

Two separate research instruments were administered during the course of the study. The first instrument was designed in a written format (see Appendix D) for review by the panel of experts regarding the import and usage of market positioning strategies and tactics in public radio. A primary purpose of the instrument was to verify the potential applicability of Ries and Trout's theoretical propositions derived from the literature. Panel validation served to establish standards for subsequent evaluation and analysis of station administrators' perceptions and positioning practices. The second instrument was designed as a telephone survey (see Appendix G) used to facilitate the data collection of opinions from administrators of the university-licensed public radio stations in the sample.

Professional survey designers contend there are usually no differences in answers to questions administered by telephone, mail, or in person (Sudman & Bradburn, 1982). Considering the evidence of increasing resistance to personal interviewing (Blankenship, 1977), it was determined that a combination of written and telephone survey methods would be most reliable and practical for acquiring the necessary research data. The mailed questionnaire proved to








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be an effective approach for reaching the expert panel, offering them privacy and convenience in replying. The telephone survey was an ideal technique for communicating with the dispersed sample of station administrators within a relatively short time period.

Advantages of using the telephone for research include high response rate, interviewer control, greater cooperation, flexibility, enhanced data quality, efficiency, frankness in response, ability to probe, and reduced data retrieval time (Blankenship, 1977; Frey, 1983; McMillan & Schumacher, 1984). It was also deemed an appropriate datagathering device for this research project because one of the first telephone surveys conducted in 1929 by renowned pollster Dr. George Gallup, then affiliated with Drake University, was a study of radio listenership (Blankenship, 1977).


Instrument Development

The two researcher-developed survey instruments were

based on the market positioning principles theorized by Ries and Trout (1981, 1986; Trout, 1969, 1971; Trout & Ries, 1972 a, b, c; 1979), as identified in the literature review. A search of several data bases--including the Business Index, Business Periodicals Index, BRS, DATRIX, DIALOG, ERIC, and RLIN--was undertaken to examine a broad cross section of writing and research about positioning in a variety of fields. Scrutiny of these sources disclosed Ries and Trout








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as the dominant authorities, their positioning theory providing an appropriate framework within which ma3or recurring themes in the literature may be organized.

The survey instruments were built around the following six general positioning ideas, extrapolated from the Ries and Trout works listed above: Audience Focus, Competition Focus, Market Niche, Consistency, Simplicity, and Commitment. The instruments consisted of strategies and tactics stemming from these principles and presented in the form of statements. Ries and Trout's propositions were modified only where it was determined that slight changes in expression would make the statements more relevant to the media/academic environment.

A description of the purpose and stages of development for each section of the written instrument is provided below. The telephone survey was composed of identical statements, minus those judged unimportant by the expert panel.

Audience Focus. The first section of the instrument, containing seven statements, was developed with emphasis on the prospective listeners. Ries and Trout (1981) encouraged those embarking upon a positioning program to start with an investigation of current status in the mentality of the marketplace. The purpose is to determine what already exists in prospects, minds, i.e., what images and perceptions of the product/service are entrenched at








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present. Explicit in this focus is the need for research to uncover the opinions and attitudes of those one wishes to target. The genesis of a successful positioning campaign was outlined in the following strategy and accompanying tactics.

Strategy: 1. Focus on the audience. Tactics: 1A. Conduct qualitative research of audience

perceptions and opinions of the station.

1B. Direct the programming to a narrow target

audience.

1C. Identify what listeners believe are

strengths of the station.

1D. Identify what listeners believe are

weaknesses of the station.

1E. Determine how listeners rank one's station

in comparison to others.

1F. Relate programming to something the audience

is familiar with.

Competition Focus. The second section of the

instrument, containing six items, pertained to opponents. Ries and Trout (1981) advised managers to devote as much attention to examining the market situation from competitors' points of view as from their own. After defining who the rivals are, this involves thorough consideration of their strengths and weaknesses in relation








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to one's own. This was covered by the following strategy and tactics.

Strategy: 2. Focus on the competition. Tactics: 2A. Evaluate strengths of competing stations.

2B. Evaluate weaknesses of competing stations.

2C. Exploit weaknesses of competing stations.

2D. Avoid direct competition with the market

leader.

2E. Refer to other stations by name in one's own

promos and advertising.

Market Niche. The third section of the instrument,

containing five statements, involved decisions regarding the best possible position to occupy and defend against assault by competitors or imitators. According to Ries and Trout (1981), those who are successful at establishing strong positions in the mind usually do so by being first to provide unique products/services that benefit targeted groups of prospects, avoiding fads and images that are too broad. The following strategy and tactics evolved from such considerations.

Strategy: 3. Find a market niche to fill. Tactics: 3A. Be first in the market to program a

particular format.

3B. Fill a hole in the market by offering

alternative programming.








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3C. Create a new market niche based on audience

lifestyle preferences.

3D. Associate one's programming with the market

leader.

Consistency. The fourth section of the instrument,

containing five items, was developed to address the notion of congruence. Ries and Trout (1981) reminded administrators that positioning objectives must permeate and be reflected in one's entire operation, all elements matching the intended position. The following strategy and tactics were structured around this premise. Strategy: 4. Require consistency throughout the entire

positioning plan.

Tactics: 4A. Select station name and slogans that

accurately describe the programming format.

4B. Develop advertising and promotional

campaigns that match the intended position.

4C. Assure positioning objectives set the

direction for all station activities.

4D. Reinforce position by use of repetition.

Simplicity The fifth section of the instrument,

containing four statements, emerged from the idea that less is more. Since overcommunication can be detrimental to effective positioning, Ries and Trout (1981) recommended the use of pure, unembellished messages that are easy to








74

remember. The following strategy and tactics were formulated to combat confusion. Strategy: 5. Strive for simplicity in all communications. Tactics: 5A. Use obvious ideas and simple words in a

straightforward manner.

5B. Modify complex messages by restraining

creative techniques.

5C. oversimplify messages in order to make longlasting impressions.

Commitment. The sixth and final section of the

instrument, containing five items, involved planning and longevity. Ries and Trout (1981) urged managers to realistically contemplate long-range goals and means to achieve them. As a cumulative process, positioning demands trust in a basic formula and adequate time to witness results. The last strategy and tactics were suggested from this theme.

Strategy: 6. Establish long-term commitment to the

positioning objective.

Tactics: 6A. Determine a basic position and adhere to it,

changing only the short-term tactics.

6B. Decide long-range (5-10 year) positioning

goals.

6C. Allocate a sufficiently large budget for

advertising and promotional activities.








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6D. Enlist support and understanding of entire

station staff in promoting positioning

goals.


Rating Scale

A major consideration in developing the written and

telephone survey tools was that both instruments yield data amenable to computer analysis. This was accomplished by use of a rating scale that forced highly structured responses to items. Participants rated the degree of importance for each of the positioning statements on a five-point Likert scale. The rating scale provided was

5 = EXTREMELY IMPORTANT

4 = ABOVE AVERAGE IMPORTANCE

3 = AVERAGE IMPORTANCE

2 = BELOW AVERAGE IMPORTANCE

1 = NOT IMPORTANT

Respondents were also asked to answer "YES" or "NO" in regard to usage of each positioning strategy and tactic, based on their particular experience. Pilot Test

Validity of the theoretical market positioning

strategies and tactics was established through the written survey completed by the panel of experts in public broadcasting management. Administration of the written instrument also served as a preliminary test of the








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positioning definition and items in terms of the appropriateness of the rating scale, significance of items, word usage, and style. Responses from the expert panel were considered in the modification and adaptation of the positioning statements for use on the telephone questionnaire. Some technical alterations were suggested and incorporated into the second research instrument.

A pilot test of the telephone instrument was conducted with the assistance of public radio administrators from six university-licensed stations similar to the projected survey sample. This pilot group included station managers, program directors, and development directors representing the following organizations:

WBHM-FM University of Alabama, Birmingham

KASU-FM Arkansas State University

WFSU-FM Florida State University WWNO-FM University of New Orleans

WNIL-FM Northern Illinois University

WSFP-FM University of South Florida, Fort Myers The participants completed the survey by telephone, requiring an average time of approximately fourteen minutes per call. Administrators' comments were also elicited regarding the format, clarity, ease of response, time factors, and suggestions for improvement of the instrument.

The pilot exercise revealed market positioning as a topic truly germane to the management of public radio








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stations on college campuses. All of the administrators tested exhibited recent familiarity with the subject of positioning, and a majority expressed enthusiastic interest in discussing its theory and practice. Those who reviewed the instrument indicated that it was straightforward, nonthreatening, and easy to understand. The telephone interview format was not only acceptable to the pilot group, but unanimously preferred over other research methods.


Data Collection

The written survey instrument was mailed to the panel of experts in June 1988. Included in the mailing was a cover letter (Appendix C) and postage-paid reply envelope. Respondents were not asked to identify themselves by name since answers were combined with others for general analysis and anonymity was assured. Surveys were coded by the researcher, however, for the purpose of showing which experts did participate (Appendix B). Within three weeks, 17 of the 26 individuals had responded to the questionnaire, a return rate of 65%. Quantifiable data were extracted from fourteen usable surveys received.

All general/station managers, program directors, and development/promotion directors at the 54 sample stations were initially contacted by mail, in order to reduce the element of surprise associated with unanticipated telephone calls requiring interactional obligations (Frey, 1983). The introductory letter explicated the scope of the research








78

and solicited their participation in the study (Appendix E). If they agreed to be interviewed, a confirmation form was returned to the researcher with an appointment date specified (Appendix F). Prior to the interviews, each participant received a written copy of the survey for advanced consideration (Appendix G). This procedure is widely used in interviewing organizational respondents, allowing them time to prepare information and become comfortable with the subject matter (Sudman & Bradburn, 1982).

The data were collected over a span of fifteen days in August and September 1988, through telephone contact by the researcher. Calling dates were initially scheduled for August 17-24, but several follow-ups necessitated the extension of the phoning period into September in order to reach all participants. When contacted at their appointed times, respondents were again reminded of the research purpose and provided a working definition of positioning for the study (Appendix H). As intended in a structured format design, questions comprising the testing instrument were asked in sequence.

Additional information essential to the study-audience ratings, stations' membership and budget figures-was collected from two sources. The audience ratings were supplied by the Radio Research Consortium, Inc., based on results of an Arbitron survey taken during Spring 1988.








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The membership and financial data were reported by station representatives on their survey confirmation forms (Appendix F).


Data Analysis

Statistical Procedures

Implementation of the two survey instruments, plus compilation of records from other sources noted above, produced quantitative data conducive to computer analysis by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences program. Since the data collected ranged from nominal to ratio measurement scale types, the utilization of both nonparametric and parametric statistical procedures was appropriate.

Attention was directed first to the descriptive statistics generated from the written survey, since validation of the theoretical positioning statements by the expert panel was crucial to the foundation of the study as well as determining the makeup of the second research instrument. Item analysis included frequency distributions and measures of central tendency for each strategy and tactic.

Prior to implementation of the written survey

instrument, criteria were established by the researcher regarding acceptance or rejection of the theoretical positioning statements as valid for further consideration in public radio and for inclusion in the second testing








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instrument. Standards used were based on achieving a majority of the number of respondents to each item on the survey, rating a 3 (above average importance) or higher on the import scale. Another decision rule involved preference for the group median, rather than the mean, as representative of the typical import score on each item. There is evidence to suggest that the arithmetic mean can be adversely influenced by extreme scores in the collection, particularly when the sample size is small. The median is useful when a distribution is skewed or lacks symmetry, and provides a more accurate picture of the data set (Johnson, 1977; McMillan & Schumacher, 1984; Roscoe, 1975; Sax, 1974).

Each of the seven hypotheses presented in Chapter I was evaluated separately by executing one of the following techniques.

Chi-Square Test of Independence. This nonparametric procedure is commonly used to test for differences between categorical variables measured on nominal and/or higher scales (Fox, 1969). The data may be displayed in the form of contingency tables of various dimensions. Crosstabulation of the row and column variables is performed to test if they are independent of each other, based on comparison of observed and expected frequencies. Calculations deduced by the test include chi-square values, degrees of freedom, and associated significance levels (Mendenhall, Ott, & Larson, 1974). Small expected cell








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frequencies of less than five necessitate conservative interpretation of the resulting statistics (Roscoe, 1975). The chi-square test alone provides little information about the strength of the relationship between the variables in question.

Cramer's V Correlation Coefficient M. Since chisquare statistics test independence but not the degree of association between variables, other measures should be investigated for that purpose in order to make full use of the data. Cramer's V is a modification of and improvement over the traditional contingency coefficient, a limited relationship estimate. Based on the chi-square, this variant attempts to minimize the influence of small sample size and degrees of freedom, producing values that range from zero to one. The higher the coefficient, the stronger the association (Games & Klare, 1967). The statistic is computed by dividing the observed chi-square by the product of sample size multiplied by the number of table rows or columns (whichever is smaller) minus one, and taking the square root of the result (Norusis, 1986). Statistical significance is determined by the significance of its associated chi-square value. Cramer's V is considered more reliable and superior to the contingency coefficient as an index of relationship (Champion, 1981; Roscoe, 1975).

The chi-square test of independence and affiliated

Cramer's V coefficient were selected for answering only the








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first hypothesis in this study because the small sample size (N=14) precluded the use of a stronger parametric procedure.

One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA is a widely accepted and powerful method of parametric testing for two or more group mean score differences. The one-way procedure can be applied when there is only a single independent variable (Wiersma, 1986). It compares variance between groups to the variance within each group. Estimates of variance are expressed as mean squares. These are put into ratio form, the resulting F-ratio calculated as the variance between divided by variance within. An associated significance level is also computed (Mendenhall, et al., 1974).

Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient (r).

The Pearson r is a popular parametric statistical measure of relationship between two continuous data variables. It is often used to study how a change in one variable may tend to be related to a change in another variable. Data are paired, i.e., an observation of one variable is paired with an observation of a second variable for each subject under study. The resulting r value and an associated significance level assesses both the direction (+ or direct; or inverse) and the strength (between 0 and 1.00) of the relationship between two variables. The significance of the correlation coefficient is a function of sample size (Roscoe, 1975).








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Multiple Regression. This is a sophisticated multivariate statistical technique used to study relationships between one dependent measure and two or more independent measures. Regression analysis is concerned with prediction, trying to estimate a Y-labeled score from a knowledge of several X-labeled scores. Predicted values tend to regress toward the mean of the population (Wiersma, 1986).

A statistical equation provides information about the contribution that the predictor variables make--separately and combined--to the criterion variable. The multiple correlation coefficient (R), expressed in values from zero to one, shows correlation between actual values of the Y variable and Y values estimated by the multiple regression equation. How well one can predict variance in the dependent variable from the independent variables used in the equation is revealed by R squared (Johnson, 1977).

Multiple regression coefficients may not be directly comparable if the independent variables differ in units of measurement. One way to compensate for this inequality is to calculate their individual beta weights. Beta, the standardized regression coefficient, is the slope of the least-squares line when X and Y are in standardized Z-score form (Norusis, 1986).

Accuracy of prediction in multiple regression analysis may be affected by small sample sizes of less than 50 cases,








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the number of predictor variables and high correlation among them, as well as nonlinearity (Johnson, 1977; Norusis, 1986; Roscoe, 1975; Wiersma, 1986). In order to avoid the problem of small sample size, the adjusted R squared was reported in this study.


Tests for Hypotheses

Table 1 contains a list of the method(s) of analysis selected for each null hypothesis proposed in Chapter I. The .05 level of significance was used as the basis for rejecting the null hypotheses. Table 1

Selected Method(s) of Analysis for Each Hypothesis



Hypothesis Method(s) of Analysis


1 Chi-Square Test of Independence;
Cramer's V Correlation Coefficient

2 One-Way Analysis of Variance 3 One-Way Analysis of Variance

4 Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient

5 Multiple Regression 6 Multiple Regression 7 Multiple Regression








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Summary

Two surveys were conducted to obtain information regarding the applicability of Ries and Trout's market positioning theory to the administration of public radio broadcasting from collegiate campuses. The theoretical principles were first verified by expert opinion, then measured for import and usage by three groups of administrators in a national sample of university-licensed public radio stations. Additional facts about the sample concerning audience ratings, contributing membership, and financial allocations, were also gathered.

The data output was analyzed in a manner that permitted statistical testing of seven hypotheses and provided sufficient evidence to answer the research questions. The findings are reported in the next two chapters.















CHAPTER IV

PRESENTATION OF RESULTS


Introduction

The primary purpose of the study was to examine Ries and Trout's market positioning theory in terms of its usefulness to administrators of university-licensed public radio stations. This chapter presents an analysis of the data which were collected from experts, practitioners, and records to serve this purpose. The results are organized in the same sequence as the three research questions and seven related hypotheses presented in Chapter I.


Research Question One

What importance is placed upon Ries and Trout's
positioning strategies and tactics by a panel of
experts and to what extent are they being utilized in
public radio?

A written survey instrument was developed and

administered to measure the perceptions of an expert panel as to the import and usage of 32 theoretically-derived positioning strategies and tactics. A five-point rating scale--with one equal to the most optimal response and five equal to the least optimal--was employed to measure degrees of importance, while use was scaled on a forced-choice yes/no format.

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Twenty-six members of the Board of Directors of National Public Radio and American Public Radio were invited to be on the panel and 17 individuals did contribute their expertise, a 65% response rate. Three surveys returned were unusable for quantitative analysis and so were eliminated, leaving a total of 14 expert judges.

As detailed in Chapter III, criteria had been

established in advance of the survey administration to rely on majority rating of 3 or higher on the import scale for validation of each positioning item and for inclusion in the second research instrument. Median scores were also chosen for descriptive analysis in order to minimize the distorting effect of extreme scores in the distribution collected from this small sample group. However, all measures of central tendency are reported in Table 4 in order to provide the most complete information and for purposes of comparison by the reader.

Frequency distribution of the experts' scores on the degree of importance of the positioning techniques is presented in Table 2. A majority of the respondents rated 29 of the 32 survey items (91%) at 3 or higher in importance. More specifically, the experts perceived 22 of the 32 positioning statements (69%) as being above average or greater in importance. Two items (4C and 5A) were also rated 4 or higher by one-half of the panel. Approximately one-sixth (16%) of the positioning strategies and tactics








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Table 2

Frequency Distribution of Expert Panel Scores: Survey Item by Import Rating



Degree of Importance

Item 1 2 3 4 5


1. 0 ( 0%) 0 ( 0%) 0 ( 0%) 3 (25%) 9 (75%) 1A. 0 ( 0%) 1 ( 7%) 1 ( 7%) 6 (43%) 6 (43%) 1B. 0 ( 0%) 3 (21%) 3 (21%) 6 (43%) 2 (14%) 1C. 0 0%) 1 ( 7%) 1 ( 7%) 6 (43%) 6 (43%)
1D. 1 7%) 3 (21%) 1 ( 7%) 4 (29%) 5 (36%)
1E. 1 7%) 3 (21%) 2 (14%) 4 (29%) 4 (29%)
1F. 1 8%) 2 (15%) 5 (38%) 1 ( 8%) 4 (31%)

2. 0 0%) 1 (10%) 3 (30%) 5 (50%) 1 (10%)
2A. 0 0%) 0 ( 0%) 6 (43%) 5 (36%) 3 (21%)
2B. 0 0%) 0 ( 0%) 6 (43%) 6 (43%) 2 (14%)
2c. 3 (21%) 3 (21%) 3 (21%) 4 (29%) 1 7%)
2D. 3 (23%) 3 (23%) 5 (38%) 1 8%) 1 8%)
2E. 12 (86%) 1 ( 8%) 0 0%) 0 0%) 1 7%)

3. 1 ( 8%) 0 ( 0%) 1 8%) 3 (25%) 7 (58%T
3A. 2 (14%) 2 (14%) 2 (14%) 5 (36%) 3 (21%)
3B. 2 (14%) 0 ( 0%) 3 (21%) 4 (29%) 5 (36%) 3c. 2 (14%) 3 (21%) 3 (21%) 4 (29%) 2 (14%)
3D. 6 (46%) 4 (31%) 1 8%) 0 ( 0%) 2 (15%)

4. 0 0%) 1 ( 8%) 1 8%) 3 (25%) 7 (58%)
4A. 0 0%) 2 (14%) 0 0%) 5 (36%) 7 (50%)
4B. 0 0%) 1 ( 7%) 3 (21%) 4 (29%) 6 (43%)
4c. 0 0%) 1 ( 7%) 6 (43%) 3 (21%) 4 (29%)
4D. 0 0%) 1 ( 7%) 4 (29%) 1 ( 7%) 8 (57%)

5. 0 0%) 0 ( 0%) 5 (42%) 2 (17%) 5 (42%)
5A. 0 0%) 3 (21%) 4 (29%) 1 ( 7%) 6 (43%)
5B. 2 (15%) 2 (15%) 5 (38%) 2 (15%) 2 (15%)
5C. 3 (25%) 4 (33%) 3 (25%) 1 ( 8%) 1 ( 8%)

6. 0 0%) 0 0%) 3 (25%) 4 (33%) 5 (42%)
6A. 1 7%) 1 7%) 2 (14%) 4 (29%) 6 (43%)
6B. 3 (21%) 1 7%) 2 (14%) 5 (36%) 3 (21%)
6c. 0 ( 0%) 1 7%) 3 (21%) 6 (43%) 4 (29%)
6D. 0 ( 0%) 0 0%) 1 ( 7%) 3 (21%) 10 (71%)

Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total responses per item. Missing observations = 1 for items 1E, 1F, 2D, 3D, 5B; 2 for items 1, 3, 4, 5, 5C, 6; 4 for item 2.








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were considered extremely important to implement in public radio stations. Additionally, one item (4A) was scored extremely important by 50% of the experts.

The strategy that received highest acclaim from the

panel majority was the first item on the survey, "Focus on the audience," rated extremely important by 75% of the respondents. The highest scored tactic was the last item on the survey, "Enlist support and understanding of the entire station staff . . which 71% of the respondents deemed extremely important.

While none of the positioning statements received unanimous disapproval on the import scale, item 2E did garner the most criticism. The experts overturned the tactic, "Refer to other stations by name . . 11 86% judging that not important at all.

Frequency distribution of the experts' scores regarding current practice of the positioning techniques is presented in Table 3. A majority of the respondents believed that 24 of the 32 survey items (75%) are actually being utilized in public radio stations today. There were two unanimous votes on this usage scale. All experts perceived the strategy involving audience focus (item 1) is being practiced in public radio. Conversely, they all believed the tactic regarding reference to one's competitors (item 2E) is not being used. The experts were evenly divided on item 4C, one-half holding the opinion that positioning objectives set








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Table 3

Frequency Distribution of Expert Panel Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating



Practice
Percent of
Item Yes No Total Total (N=14)


1. 12 (100%) 0 0%) 12 86%
1A. 7 (54%) 6 (46%) 13 93%
1B. 11 (85%) 2 (15%) 13 93%
1C. 11 (85%) 2 (15%) 13 93%
1D. 9 (69%) 4 (31%) 13 93%
1E. 9 (69%) 4 (31%) 13 93%
1F. 7 (58%) 5 (42%) 12 86%

2. 6 (60%) 4 (40%) 10 71%
2A. 8 (62%) 5 (38%) 13 93%
2B. 8 (62%) 5 (38%) 13 93%
2c. 7 (58%) 5 (42%) 12 86%
2D. 5 (46%) 6 (54%) 11 79%
2E. 0 ( 0%) 13 (100%) 13 93%

3. 8 (80%) 2 (20%) 10 71%
3A. 8 (67%) 4 (33%) 12 86%
3B. 10 (91%) 1 ( 9%) 11 79%
3c. 4 (36%) 7 (64%) 11 79%
3D. 2 (18%) 9 (82%) 11 79%

4. 6 (54%) 5 (46%) 11 79%
4A. 8 (62%) 5 (38%) 13 93%
4B. 10 (83%) 2 (17%) 12 86%
4c. 6 (50%) 6 (50%) 12 86%
4D. 9 (75%) 3 (25%) 12 86%

5. 7 (78%) 2 (22%) 9 64%
5A. 7 (70%) 3 (30%) 10 71%
5B. 4 (44%) 5 (56%) 9 64%
5c. 4 (44%) 5 (56%) 9 64%

6. 6 (60%) 4 (40%) 10 71%
6A. 9 (82%) 2 (18%) 11 79%
6B. 5 (42%) 7 (58%) 12 86%
6c. 4 (33%) 8 (67%) 12 86%
6D. 10 (83%) 2 (17%) 12 86%

Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total responses per item.