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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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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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Broadcasting ( jstor )
Educational research ( jstor )
Higher education ( jstor )
Imports ( jstor )
Marketing ( jstor )
News content ( jstor )
Radio commercials ( jstor )
Radio stations ( jstor )
Trout ( jstor )
Universities ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Educational Leadership -- UF
Education, Higher -- Marketing -- United States ( lcsh )
Educational Leadership thesis Ph. D
Positioning (Advertising) ( lcsh )
Public radio -- United States ( lcsh )
City of Bradenton ( local )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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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.
General Note:
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








80

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








81

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








82

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).








83

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,








84

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








85

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.

86








87

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








88

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.








89

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








90

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.




Full Text
123
Inspection of the size of the coefficients also
suggested moderately high association between the import and
usage scores, the majority falling within the .51 to .75
range. According to guidelines set forth by Champion
(1981), the strength of such correlations are generally
recognized as good in social and behavioral science
research. Coefficients of correlation from the general
managers group were the strongest and from the development
directors group the weakest.
Based on the data obtained from the Pearson correlation
coefficients, there was sufficient evidence to support the
rejection of null Hypothesis Four.
Research Question Three
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?
The telephone survey instrument administered to the 96
university-licensed public radio station administrators
supplied the positioning usage data required to answer the
third research question. In this instance, individual
responses to survey items observed on the dichotomous
practice scale were grouped according to institutional/
station affiliation, rather than administrative
classification. Every person's responses to the 29 items
were summed in each strategy category to form six usage


97
Research Question Two
What importance is placed upon the expert-verified
positioning strategies and tactics by selected
administrators and to what extent are they being
utilized in university-licensed public radio stations?
A telephone survey instrument was implemented to
measure the perceptions of selected administrators at
university-licensed public radio stations as to the import
and usage of market positioning techniques. The testing
instrument was an adapted version of the previously
administered written survey. It contained 29 theoretically-
derived, expert-verified positioning strategies and tactics.
The same rating scale was employed, offering a choice of
five degrees of importance and yes/no for practice.
All administrators classified as General/Station
Managers, Program Directors, and Development/Promotion
Directors, representing CPB-qualified, Class C public radio
stations licensed to public state colleges and universities,
were invited to participate in the survey. Administrators
affiliated with 45 of the 54 eligible stations agreed to
take part in the study, an 83% response rate. Thirty-two
people from each of the three administrative groups
designated above--a total of 96 individuals--completed the
telephone survey interviews.
Frequency distribution of the administrators' scores on
the degree of importance of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 7. A majority of the respondents rated
28 of the 29 survey items (97%) at 3 or higher in


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.


171
STATION
WTEB-FM
KDSU-FM
KCSC-FM
KOSU-FM
KLCC-FM
WETS-FM
WUOT-FM
KUT-FM
KETR-FM
KUHF-FM
KUOW-FM
LICENSEE
Craven Community College
North Dakota State University
Central State University
Oklahoma State University
Lane Community College
East Tennessee State University
University of Tennessee
University of Texas
East Texas State University
University of Houston
University of Washington
CITY, STATE
New Bern, NC
Fargo, ND
Edmond, OK
Stillwater, OK
Eugene, OR
Johnson City, TN
Knoxville, TN
Austin, TX
Commerce, TX
Houston, TX
Seattle, WA


125
1 Audience Focus 4.60 (7)
2 Competition Focus -- 2.00 (5)
3 Market Niche 2.82 (4)
4 Consistency 3.67 (5)
5 Simplicity 2.31 (3)
6 Commitment 3.18 (5)
Cumulative audience ratings were available for 36 of
the 45 stations represented in the study. The other nine
stations were based in small markets where professional
audience rating surveys by Arbitron, Inc. were not
conducted. The largest cumulative audience rating
registered for these 36 stations was 15.3, the smallest was
0.5, and the mean was 5.8. This can be interpreted
generally as meaning that each week during the measurement
period (Spring 1988), the typical university-licensed public
radio station in the sample was reaching approximately 5.8%
of its potential listening audience.
Contributing membership size was reported by the
administrators for 44 of the 45 stations represented in the
research. Membership figures were then transformed into
percentages of listening population within the Total Survey
Area (TSA), based on Arbitron market data listed in the
Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook (1988) and processed by
the Radio Research Consortium, Inc. Market populations
served by the stations ranged from 3.5 million people to
less than 100,000 individuals, age 12 and older. Knowledge


85
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.


134
Test of Hypothesis Seven
H7: 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.
Multiple regression analysis was applied to determine
if there was a statistically significant relationship
between advertising/promotional budget allocations of 44
university-licensed public radio stations in the research
sample and utilization of positioning techniques by
administrators of those stations. In this particular test,
advertising budget was the dependent variable and the six
strategy measures of the administrators were the independent
variables.
The same three computer procedures detailed previously
in Hypothesis Five and Six were employed in the construction
of multiple regression models to test the present
hypothesis. The stepwise selection method generated a
statistically significant equation containing only one of
the six independent variables. The Commitment variable was
entered on the first step and passed all requirements for
admittance to and retention in the formula. The Commitment
scores produced data such as a .935 regression coefficient
and .291 beta, a multiple R of .291, an R squared of .085
and adjusted R squared of .064, an F-value of 4.18 and
associated probability of .05, which was statistically
significant at that chosen critical level. The five other


APPENDIX A
SUMMARY OF POSITIONING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
1. Appeal to psychology of listeners; communicate how
station satisfies needs and desires. (Reymer & Gersin,
1983; Steinberg, 1986)
2. Select audience segment to serve and program their
preferences. (Blume, 1983; Eastman, Head, & Klein, 1985;
Mitchell, 1971; Reymer & Gersin, 1983; Ted Bolton
Associates, 1984)
3. Capture one or more narrow demographic groups; highly
focused targeting. (Eastman et al., 1985; Roth, 1983)
4. Monitor changing characteristics and attitudes of target
audience. (Blume, 1983; Quaal & Brown, 1976)
5. Examine competitors' audience and programming. (Blume,
1983; Eastman et al., 1985; Johnson & Jones, 1978)
6. Provide counterprogramming; fill the void. (Blume, 1983,
Johnson & Jones, 1978; Reymer & Gersin, 1983; Williams,
1981)
7. Program against weakest station or signal. (Williams,
1981)
8. Consistency of programming key to success. (Whitney,
1985)
9. Fight competition in listeners' minds. (Reymer & Gersin,
1983)
10. Create image by anonymous music rotation. (Gold, 1982)
11. Offer extended commercial-free broadcasting. (Gold,
1982)
12. Measure positioning success by change in consumers'
perceptions toward brand relative to competing brands.
(Smith & Lusch, 1976)
13. Identify, clarify, and/or strengthen existing identity.
(Berry, 1982; Cravens, 1975; Margulies, 1981; McKenna,
1985; Quaal & Brown, 1976)
14. Analyze current strengths and weaknesses. (Eastman et
al., 1985; Geibel, 1986; Margulies, 1981; McKenna, 1985)
15. Increase advertising expenditures. (Repositioning, 1980)
16. Reinforce users' perceptions while appealing to
nonusers. (Gallanis, 1985)
17. Aim at small, precisely defined customer targets with
products tailored to needs. (Aaker & Shansby, 1982;
Baumwoll, 1984; Kotler & Levy, 1969; McKenna, 1985;
Meyers, 1984; Saunders, 1981; Springer, 1972)
156


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
a universitypublic service. Simultaneously, this also met
a federal legal obligation of broadcast licensees to operate
in the "public interest, convenience, and necessity"
(U.S.C., Title 47, Section 303).


94
6C. Allocate a sufficiently large budget for
advertising and promotional activities.
There were three positioning tactics that failed to
achieve majority consensus of importance and had median
scores of less than 3.00. On the basis of this rating, they
were held as invalid for applicability to public radio, thus
eliminated for further consideration and dropped from the
second research instrument. These three were also judged as
not practiced in public radio stations. The unimportant and
unused tactics are as follows:
Item 2E. Refer to other stations by name in one's own
promos and advertising.
3D. Associate one's programming with the market
leader.
5C. Oversimplify messages in order to make long-
lasting impressions.
Test of Hypothesis One
HO]_: 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.
A chi-square test of independence for contingency
tables was employed to determine if there was a
statistically significant relationship between the expert
panel's import and usage scores. Chi-squares were obtained
and examined for each survey item. As presented in Table 6,
three of the 32 survey items were statistically significant
at the .05 alpha level.


103
above average or greater in importance. One item (6) was
also rated 4 or higher by one-half of the managers. Nearly
one-third (31%) of the positioning strategies and tactics
were considered extremely important by the majority.
Additionally, two items (2 and 20) were scored extremely
important by 50% of the managers.
As a separate administrative group, the general
managers had high regard for the individual positioning
strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25). The
majority scored four of the six basic strategies as being of
extreme importance. The strategy and tactics involving
competition (items 8-12) generally received the lowest
ratings. Nearly one-third of all managers believed that it
is not important to "avoid direct competition with the
market leader" (item 12).
Frequency distribution of the general managers' scores
regarding current practice of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 10. A majority of the respondents
reported that 21 of the 29 positioning methods (72%) are
being practiced at their stations. The eight unused
procedures involved qualitative research (item 2), narrow
target audience (item 3), competition (items 8-11), long-
range goals (item 27), and sufficient advertising/promotion
budget (item 28). The managers were evenly divided on item
12, one-half practicing avoidance of direct competition with
their market leader, while the other half did not employ


80
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


127
Test of Hypothesis Five
ho5: There is no relationship between cumulative
audience ratings and the use of positioning in
selected university-licensed public radio
stations.
Multiple regression analysis was applied to determine
if there was a statistically significant relationship
between cumulative audience ratings of 36 university-
licensed public radio stations in the research sample and
utilization of positioning techniques by the administrators
of those stations. In the test of this hypothesis,
cumulative audience rating was the dependent variable
(labeled Y) and the six positioning usage measures were the
independent variables (labeled X's)--Audience Focus,
Competition Focus, Market Niche, Consistency, Simplicity,
and Commitment. The statistical formula tested was
expressed as
Y = 30 + 3lxl + P2X2 + 33x3 + 34x4 + 35x5 + 36x6
The purpose of the multivariate regression was to find
out if station ratings might be predicted from knowledge of
the extent of positioning usage by administrators, and to
draw inferences about the population values based on the
sample results.
Three different computer procedures were employed to
construct the regression model--forward entry, stepwise
selection, and force entry. In the forward method, the
independent variables were entered into the equation one at
a time, the first having the largest correlation with the


83
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,


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


184
Trout, J. & Ries, A. (1972a, April 24). The positioning
era cometh. Advertising Age, pp. 35, 38.
Trout, J., & Ries, A. (1972b, May 1). Positioning cuts
through chaos in marketplace. Advertising Age, pp.
51-52, 54.
Trout, J., & Ries, A. (1972c, May 8). How to position your
product. Advertising Age, pp. 114, 116.
Trout, J., & Ries, A. (1979, July). Positioning: Ten years
later. Industrial Marketing, pp. 32-33, 36, 38, 40,
42, 44.
Trout & Ries take position. (1979, July 13). The New York
Times, p. Dll.
Turner, W. H. (1982). Market positioning: A research
approach for higher education (Doctoral dissertation,
University of Pittsburgh, 1982). Dissertation
Abstracts International, 43, 2905A.
United States Code, Title 47, 5303, Washington, D.C.: U.S.
Government Printing Office.
Urban, G. L., & Neslin, S. A. (1977). The design and
marketing of new educational programs (Working paper
873-76). Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Sloan School of Management.
Villarreal Camacho, M.A. (1983). Comparative advertising:
A communication strategy for positioning products
(Doctoral dissertation, University of Pittsburgh,
1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 45, 623A.
Wademan, V. (1976, August). Panacea of positioning--
Another formula for getting things done. Industrial
Marketing, pp. 34, 37.
Wagner, P. A. (1978). Marketing for NPOs--From a
practitioner's point of view. In P. J. Montana (Ed.),
Marketing in nonprofit organizations (pp. 38-51). New
York: AMACOM.
Waller, J. C. (1946). Radio: The fifth estate. Boston:
Houghton-Mifflin.
Warwick, K. M., & Sands S. (1975). Product positioning:
Problems and promises. University of Michigan Business
Review, 27(6), 17-20.


55
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. Dll)
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


67
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


71
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.
IB. Direct the programming to a narrow target
audience.
IC. Identify what listeners believe are
strengths of the station.
ID. Identify what listeners believe are
weaknesses of the station.
IE. Determine how listeners rank one's station
in comparison to others.
IF. 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


APPENDIX D
WRITTEN POSITIONING SURVEY INSTRUMENT
This survey is intended to measure your perceptions as to
the importance of specific strategies and tactics an
administrator might implement to position a public radio
station. For the purpose of this survey, positioning will
be defined in terms of creating an image of a radio station
in the minds of prospective listeners. Listed below are six
general strategies (in capital letters), followed by several
tactics for achieving those objectives. Please rate how
important you feel these strategies and tactics are, and if
you believe they are currently being used in public radio
stations. Thank you very much.
Carolyn E. Poole
University of Florida
The rating scale is: 1 not important
2 below average importance
3 average importance
4 above average importance
5 extremely important
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
1. FOCUS ON THE AUDIENCE
A. Conduct qualitative research
of audience perceptions &
opinions of the station.
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
B. Direct programming to a
narrow target audience.
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
C. Identify what listeners
believe are strengths of
the station.
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
161


Table 10
Frequency Distribution of General/Station
Managers' Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating
Item
Practice
Yes
No
1.
30
(94%)
2
( 6%)
2.
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
3.
14
(44%)
18
(56%)
4.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
5.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
6.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
7.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
8.
13
(41%)
19
(59%)
9.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
10.
10
(31%)
22
(69%)
11.
13
(41%)
19
(59%)
12.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
13.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
14.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
15.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
16.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
17.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
18.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
19.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
20.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
21.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
22.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
23.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
24.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
25.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
26.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
27.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
28.
6
(19%)
26
(81%)
29.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
Note.
Numbers
in parentheses
are
percentages
of total responses per item.
n =
32.


109
procedures involved qualitative research (item 2), narrow
target audience (item 3), competition (items 8-11), market
niches based on lifestyles (item 16), and sufficient
advertising/promotion budget (item 28). The programmers
were evenly divided on two items (12 and 27), one-half
practicing avoidance of direct competition with their market
leader and formulation of long-range goals, while the other
half did not employ either tactic. Although split on usage
of these two tactics, the majority thought they were
important, as evidence by scores of 3 or greater. Items 2,
16, and 28 were also believed to be important, but currently
unpracticed. Items 3, 8, 10, and 11 were deemed both
unimportant and unutilized by the majority. The programmers
were again divided on the import of evaluating competitors'
strengths (item 9), the majority not practicing this tactic,
but at least 50% believing it to be important.
Measures of central tendency were analyzed in the same
format as those reported previously for the entire sample of
administrators and for the general managers separately. The
32 program directors' import scores for the six strategies
and their related tactics were added together and mean
scores computed. It was then possible to rank order the
condensed scores to see how the program directors--as a
distinct group--typically perceived the importance of these
positioning methods. When strategies and accompanying
tactics were averaged together, the resulting mean scores


121
by this particular experiment, it is possible that further
investigation may yield more definitive results.
Test of Hypothesis Four
HO4. There is no relationship between the degree of
importance assigned to and use of the positioning
strategies and tactics by the three administrative
groups.
Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were
computed to determine if there was a statistically
significant relationship between the administrators' import
and usage scores. The six mean scores arranged thematically
by group, as used in Hypotheses Two and Three, were also
applied in the test of this hypothesis. Pearson r values
were calculated and examined for each of the three
administrative groups.
As displayed in Table 17, fifteen of the 18 correlation
coefficients were statistically significant at the .05 alpha
level. In fact, thirteen of the 18 were statistically
significant at the more conservative .01 alpha level,
implying an increasingly remote probability of the results
being due only to chance and not from any real relationships
found in the data.
All of the Pearson r values were statistically
significant for the general managers and program directors.
Development directors scores realized three nonsignificant
coefficients. Those measures not proven to be statistically
significant involved strategies pertaining to Audience
Focus, Consistency, and Commitment.


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).


106
presented in Table 11. A majority of the respondents rated
25 of the 29 survey items (86%) at 3 or higher. One item
(9) was also rated average or better by 50% of the group.
More specifically, the program directors perceived 20 or the
29 positioning statements (69%) as being above average or
greater in importance. Two items (16 and 27) were also
rated 4 or higher by one-half of the directors.
Approximately one-seventh (14%) of the positioning
strategies and tactics were considered extremely important
by the majority. Additionally, one item (18) was scored
extremely important by 50% of the program directors.
As a separate administrative group, the program
directors had above average regard for the individual
positioning strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25).
The majority scored three of the six basic strategies as
being of extreme importance. The strategy and tactics
involving competition (items 8-12) generally received the
lowest ratings. Nearly one-quarter of all the program
directors believed that it is neither important to "direct
programming to a narrow target audience" (item 3) nor to
"focus on the competition" (item 8).
Frequency distribution of the program directors' scores
regarding current practice of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 12. A majority of the respondents
reported that 21 of the 29 positioning methods (72%) are
being practiced at their stations. The eight unused


183
Standard directory of advertising agencies. (1986).
Wilmette, IL: National Register.
Stein, J. W.
society.
(1979). Mass media, education, and a better
Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Steinberg, J.
signals.
(1986, August 4). Tuning in strong market
Advertising Age, pp. S-1, S-2.
Sudman, S., & Bradburn, N. M. (1982). Asking guestions: A
practical guide to guestionnaire design. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Taylor, R. E., & Judd, L. L. (1987). Marketing higher
education: A distribution consideration. In J. J.
Cronin, Jr., & M. T. Stith (Eds.), Marketing: Meeting
the challenges of the 1990s (pp. 282-285).
Tallahassee, FL: Southern Marketing Association.
Ted Bolton Associates. (1984). The critical issues
report: Radio from 1984-1990. Philadelphia: Author.
Temporary Commission on Alternative Financing for Public
Telecommunications. (1983). Final report.
Washington, DC: Federal Communications Commission.
Thompson, F. (1979). The cost and value of marketing
analysis. Research in Higher Education, 10(1), 83-93.
Toffler, A. (1980). The third wave. New York: William
Morrow.
Tricks to proper positioning. (1981, August 24).
Broadcasting, pp. 26, 28.
Troldahl, V. C., & Skolnik, R. (1968). The meanings people
have for radio today. Journal of Broadcasting, 12,
57-67.
Trout, J. (1969, June). "Positioning" is a game people
play in today's me-too market place. Industrial
Marketing, pp. 52-55.
Trout, J. (1971, November). Positioning revisited: Why
didn't GE and RCA listen? Industrial Marketing, pp.
116-118.
Trout, J. (1976). Marketing in the '70s: Product
positioning. The Conference Board Record, 13, pp. 41-
44. "


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.


145
The judges were also optimistic about the extent of
positioning usage in public radio stations, designating
three-quarters of the strategies and tactics as currently
being practiced (See Tables 3, 5). The majority of
positioning procedures thought to be unutilized were deemed
important nonetheless and should be implemented.
Conclusions Regarding Research Question One
and Hypothesis One
Public broadcasting experts believe that market
positioning has value and that it actually is being
exercised in public radio today. While statistically
significant relationships between perceived import and use
were determined for only a few of the itemized positioning
methods, examination of the correlation coefficients
confirmed most to have moderately high associations (See
Table 6). The statistical insignificance was explained by
experts who judged many strategies and tactics as important,
but then neglected to offer any opinion as to their usage.
Administrators' Perceptions of Positioning
As a whole group, the 96 administrators of university-
licensed public radio stations tendered a favorable
evaluation of market positioning theory, as portrayed by
their strong ratings on the telephone survey instrument
containing the theoretically-derived, expert-verified
strategies and tactics (See Appendix G, Table 7).
Consistency was the most important operationalized principle


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
J^hes L. Watt'enbarger, Ch|?ir
Professor of Educational^Leadership
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
O.
C. Arthur Sandeen
Professor of Educational Leadership
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Phyllis M. Meek
Associate Professor of Counselor
Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fuliy adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for/che degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Af.
/''Joseph'R. Pisani
/ .Professor of Journalism and
/ / Communications
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the College of Education and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
August, 1989
Dean, College "of Education x"
Dean, Graduate School


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:
H01. 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.
HC>2. 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.
ho3* 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.


150
Discussion
The findings of the data analysis in which a panel of
experts in public broadcasting management ratified the
theoretically-derived strategies and tactics served to
support Ries and Trout's contention that market positioning
has potential for application in any human activity that
requires mass communication. Furthermore, the fact that the
positioning techniques received practitioner affirmation and
were evidently employed to such an extent in college-based
broadcasting operations, additionally confirms the
interdisciplinary nature and transferability of the
operationalized principles which comprise the positioning
theory.
Many of the administrators who participated in the
telephone survey interviews indicated rather recent
attention to positioning in terms of having just begun to
formulate positioning plans and goals for their stations.
Hence the difficulty some individuals had responding
accurately on the dichotomous practice scale, increasing the
likelihood of distortion to the usage score results. Since
many administrators were in various stages of
implementation, the full impact of positioning may not be
recognized at present. Therefore, the precise utility of
market positioning theory to university management
responsible for public radio stations has yet to be
established absolutely. This initial research effort to


Copyright 1989
by
Carolyn Elizabeth Poole


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 university-
housed 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.


77
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


177
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Marketing News, p. 6.
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Prentice-Hall.


105
this tactic. Although a total of 8 tactics were not
practiced by the majority, general managers did consider all
but one of the above mentioned to be rather important, as
evidenced by their scores of 3 or greater. The only tactic
deemed both unimportant and unutilized by the majority was
survey item 11, concerning exploitation of competitors'
weaknesses.
Measures of central tendency were analyzed in the same
format as those reported previously for the entire sample of
administrators. The 32 general managers' import scores for
the six strategies and their related tactics were added
together and mean scores computed. It was then possible to
rank order the condensed scores to see how the general
managers--as a distinct group--typically perceived the
importance of these positioning methods. When strategies
and accompanying tactics were averaged together, the
resulting mean scores for each overall strategy theme ranked
in importance as follows:
1
Consistency
--- 4.39
2
Commitment
--- 4.21
3
Market Niche
--- 3.83
4
Simplicity
-- 3.80
5
Audience Focus
--- 3.79
6
Competition Focus
-- 2.78
Frequency distribution of Program Directors' scores on
the degree of importance of the positioning techniques is


146
from their vantage point, while the notion of competition
was the least palatable, although worthy of some focused
attention.
In terms of implementation, the administrative majority
generally declared nearly three-quarters of the positioning
techniques in service at their institutions (See Table 8).
But the expert panel held the impression that more
positioning strategies and tactics were being used in public
radio than practitioners in this sample were willing to
affirm. For instance, qualitative research endeavors,
narrow target audience aims, and all of the competition-
related procedures failed to receive majority usage by
administrators in reality, despite experts' assertions about
their alleged practice.
Examination of data results by administrative group
classification pointed first to Development/Promotion
Directors as the most supportive of positioning, in
reference to both perceived import and use, followed closely
by General/Station Managers, then Program Directors (See
Tables 9-16).
Conclusions Regarding Research Question Two
and Hypotheses Two, Three, Four
Administrators of college-based public radio stations
generally approve of market positioning in theory and, to a
large extent, actualize their endorsements by utilizing the
strategies and tactics. Statistically significant


140
rated initially by a panel of experts in public broadcasting
management and only those deemed important for use in public
radio were retained for further examination in the
collegiate setting. The following questions were of
particular concern:
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 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?
In the course of the study, the following seven
hypotheses stemming from the three research questions were
tested as well:
H01* 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.
ho2. There is no difference between university station
administrators classified as general managers, program
directors, and development directors with regard to degree


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 "de-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


90
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%
IB.
11
(85%)
2
(15%)
13
93%
1C.
11
(85%)
2
(15%)
13
93%
ID.
9
(69%)
4
(31%)
13
93%
IE.
9
(69%)
4
(31%)
13
93%
IF.
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.


163
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
D. Associate one's programming
with the market leader. 12345
4.REQUIRE CONSISTENCY
THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE
POSITIONING PLAN. 12345
A. Select station name and
slogans that accurately
describe the programming
format. 12345
B. Develop advertising and
promotional campaigns that
match the intended position. 12345
C. Assure positioning objectives
set the direction for all
station activities. 12345
D. Reinforce position by use
of repetition. 12345
5.STRIVE FOR SIMPLICITY IN
ALL COMMUNICATIONS 12345
A. Use obvious ideas and
simple words in a
straightforward manner.
B. Modify complex messages by
restraining creative
techniques.
C. Oversimplify messages in
order to make long-lasting
impressions.
6.ESTABLISH LONG-TERM
COMMITMENT TO THE
POSITIONING OBJECTIVE.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No


91
the direction for the station activities, while the other
half thought this tactic is unused in public radio.
Measures of central tendency listed in Table 4
illustrate the most typical import scores on each survey
item from the expert panel as a whole group. In light of
the small sample size, the reader is again reminded to
consider the median as the best representative score of the
collection (Johnson 1977; McMillan & Schumacher, 1984;
Roscoe, 1975; Sax, 1974). Twenty-two of the 32 survey items
(69%) had median scores of 4 or 5, above average to
extremely important.
A general distribution of the import and usage scores
is presented in Table 5. It portrays the scores as
abnormally distributed, or negatively skewed, with most
located at the high end of the distribution.
It is worth noting that five positioning tactics were
believed to be important by the expert panel (rated 3 or
greater), although considered by the majority to be
unutilized in public radio. The important but unused
tactics are as follows:
Item 2D. Avoid direct competition with the market leader.
3C. Create a new market niche based on audience
lifestyle preferences.
5B. Modify complex messages by restraining creative
techniques.
Decide long-range (5-10 year) positioning goals.
6B.


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.


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


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:


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,


138
differences were observed between types of administrators in
terms of their import and usage ratings. Linear
associations between positioning use and cumulative audience
ratings, station membership, and advertising/promotional
budget allocations were not definitively proven by this
particular set of data assembled for study.
Interpretation and summary of the results are presented
in Chapter V.


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 five-
point 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.


99
importance. More specifically, the administrators perceived
20 of the 29 positioning statements (69%) as being above
average or greater in importance. One item (6) was also
rated 4 or higher by 50% of the administrators. More than
one-fourth (28%) of the positioning strategies and tactics
were considered extremely important by the majority.
As a whole group, the university-licensed public radio
station administrators had high regard for the individual
positioning strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25).
The majority scored four of the six basic strategies as
being of extreme importance. The strategy and tactics
involving competition (items 8-12) generally received the
lowest ratings. Nearly one-quarter of all the participants
believed that it is not important to "exploit weaknesses of
competing stations" (item 11).
Frequency distribution of the administrators' scores
regarding current practice of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 8. A majority of the respondents
reported that 21 of the 29 positioning methods (72%) are
being practiced at their stations. The eight unused
procedures involved qualitative research (item 2), narrow
target audience (item 3), competition (items 8-12), and
sufficient advertising/promotion budget (item 28). Although
not practiced, the administrators did consider all but one
to be rather important, as evidenced by their scores of 3 or
greater. The only tactic deemed both unimportant and


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 college-
owned 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


155
5. A study should be conducted to determine if
positioning usage by station administrators might be
correlated differently with audience data produced by Birch
Radio, Inc. instead of that used from Arbitron, Inc.
6. This study should be replicated controlling for
market size.
7. This study should be replicated in 1991 to
determine the market positioning progress of university-
licensed public radio stations.
8. This study should be replicated after 1999 to
determine if a decade of market positioning practice has
altered the mission and identity of university-licensed
public radio stations.


137
six positioning variables. Later experiments may challenge
the currently available evidence offered herein.
Summary
Chapter IV has contained a presentation of the data
which resulted from implementation of two survey instruments
and from collection of other pertinent information in order
to answer systematically three research questions and seven
associated hypotheses. Descriptive replies to the inquiries
and statistical hypothesis testing were provided to explore
the utility of Ries and Trout's market positioning theory to
those in university management responsible for campus-based
public radio stations.
The descriptive analyses contained narratives about the
verification process of the theoretically-derived
positioning strategies and tactics by expert opinion, plus
the nature of the administrative sample and their
representative units drawn for the study.
Hypothesis testing involved the use of two
nonparametric statistical procedures: the chi-square test
of independence and Cramer's V correlation coefficient.
Three parametric statistical processes were employed as
well: one-way analysis of variance, Pearson produce-moment
correlation coefficient, and multiple regression analysis.
Some significant relationships were demonstrated
between perceived importance and practice of the market
positioning techniques by experts and administrators. Some


185
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107
Table 11
Frequency Distribution of Program Directors'
Scores; Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree of Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
7
(22%)
22
(69%)
2.
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
4
(12%)
13
(41%)
11
(34%)
3.
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
6
(19%)
5
(16%)
4
(12%)
4.
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
13
(41%)
5.
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
5
(16%)
12
(38%)
13
(41%)
6.
3
( 9%)
11
(34%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
5
(16%)
7.
3
( 9%)
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
4
(12%)
7
(22%)
8.
7
(22%)
12
(38%)
7
(22%)
4
(12%)
2
( 6%)
9.
5
(16%)
11
(34%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
2
( 6%)
10.
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
3
( 9%)
9
(28%)
2
( 6%)
11.
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
3
( 9%)
10
(31%)
2
( 6%)
12.
4
(12%)
6
(19%)
8
(25%)
10
(31%)
4
(12%)
13.
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
21
(66%)
14.
4
(12%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
8
(25%)
5
(16%)
15.
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
10
(31%)
12
(38%)
16.
3
( 9%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
5
(16%)
17.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
2
( 6%)
10
(31%)
17
(53%)
18.
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
6
(19%)
16
(50%)
19.
1
( 3%)
2
( 6%)
4
(12%)
11
(34%)
14
(44%)
20.
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
12
(38%)
21.
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
1
( 3%)
14
(44%)
11
(34%)
22.
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
4
(12%)
14
(44%)
10
(31%)
23.
1
( 3%)
2
( 6%)
4
(12%)
15
(47%)
10
(31%)
24.
3
( 9%)
8
(25%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
8
(25%)
25.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
13
(41%)
13
(41%)
26.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
13
(41%)
13
(41%)
27.
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
10
(31%)
5
(16%)
11
(34%)
28.
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
8
(25%)
10
(31%)
29.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
24
(75%)
Note Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
responses per item. n = 32.


179
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100
Table 8
Frequency Distribution of Administrators'
Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating
Practice
Item
Yes
No
1.
92
(96%)
4
( 4%)
2.
46
(48%)
50
(52%)
3.
39
(41%)
57
(59%)
4.
80
(83%)
16
(17%)
5.
78
(81%)
18
(19%)
6.
58
(60%)
38
(40%)
7.
61
(64%)
35
(36%)
8.
37
(38%)
59
(62%)
9.
40
(42%)
56
(58%)
10.
38
(40%)
58
(60%)
11.
35
(36%)
61
(64%)
12.
47
(49%)
49
(51%)
13.
81
(84%)
15
(16%)
14.
64
(67%)
32
(33%)
15.
81
(84%)
15
(16%)
16.
49
(51%)
47
(49%)
17.
77
(80%)
19
(20%)
18.
61
(64%)
35
(36%)
19.
71
(74%)
25
(26%)
20.
67
(70%)
29
(30%)
21.
79
(82%)
17
(18%)
22.
82
(85%)
14
(15%)
23.
83
(86%)
13
(14%)
24.
56
(58%)
40
(42%)
25.
83
(86%)
13
(14%)
26.
80
(83%)
16
(17%)
27.
49
(51%)
47
(49%)
28.
21
(22%)
75
(78%)
29.
82
(85%)
14
(15%)
Note.
Numbers
in parentheses
are
percentages
of total responses per item.
N =
96.


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, campus-
based radio stations have the potential for being important


141
of importance assigned to the positioning strategies and
tactics.
HO3. 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.
ho4. There is no relationship between the degree of
importance assigned to and use of the positioning strategies
and tactics by the three administrative groups.
ho5. There is no relationship between cumulative
audience ratings and the use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
HOg. There is no relationship between contributing
membership size and the use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
HO7. 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.
The Research Rationale
The need for the research study was justified on the
basis of the following six points: 1) the need to assuage
the historical rift between educators and broadcasters;
2) a deficiency of radio research; 3) past neglect of
educational broadcasting; 4) lingering confusion regarding
the purpose and identity of public radio; 5) the increasing


96
Analysis of the corresponding Cramer's V coefficients
also listed in Table 6 revealed moderate to strong
relationships between all but one (4B) of the import and
usage scores. Most of the coefficients fell within the .51
to .75 range, indicating moderately high association.
Perfect correlations of 1.00 were computed for the three
items, 3B, 3D, and 5A. Correlation coefficients of .30 or
larger are generally considered good in social and
behavioral science research (Champion, 1981).
It should also be noted that statistical tests could
not be performed on two survey items (1 and 2E) due to the
disproportional size of the contingency tables when the
expert judges cast unanimous votes on the usage scale.
Nevertheless, inspection of the arrangement of frequencies
for these two score sets, reported in Table 2 and Table 3,
can provide an intuitive sense of the magnitude of their
relationships.
Based on data obtained from the chi-square tests and
associated Cramer's V correlation coefficients, there was
only weak evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis One and it was retained. However, in light of
the three statistically significant items noted above, these
results should be regarded as inconclusive. There is a
possibility that additional research may produce more
definitive data.


17
HO4. There is no relationship between the degree of
importance assigned to and use of the positioning strategies
and tactics by the three administrative groups.
HO5. There is no relationship between cumulative
audience ratings and the use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
ho6. 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


REFERENCES
Aaker, D. A., & Shansby, J. G. (1982). Positioning your
product. Business Horizons, 2_5(3), 56-62.
Abrams, G.J. (1972, October 30). Positioning and creativity
will fail without third element--Marketing.
Advertising Age, pp. 134, 137.
Agee, W. K., Ault, P. H., & Emery, E. (1979). Introduction
to mass communications (6th ed). New York: Harper &
Row.
Alexander, F. J. (1978). Administrative opinions
concerning utilization of marketing strategies in
management of higher education institutions in the
United States. (Doctoral dissertation, Memphis State
University, 1978). Dissertation Abstracts
International, 39, 4072A.
Altschiller, D. (1986, August 18). Exit the age of the big
idea: Enter the age of no idea. Advertising Age,
pp. 18, 28.
Arbitron Ratings. (1986, August 4). Advertising Age,
pp. 8-9.
Barnouw, E. (1978). The sponsor: Notes on a modern
potentate. New York: Oxford University Press.
Barnouw, E. (1982). A history of broadcasting in the
United States (rev. ed., Vols. 1-3). New York: Oxford
University Press.
Barton, D. W., Jr. (Ed.). (1978). Marketing higher
education: New directions for higher education. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bassin, W. M. (1975). A marketing technique for student
recruitment. Research in Higher Education, _3/ 51-65.
Baudino, J. E., & Kittross, J. M. (1977). Broadcasting's
oldest stations: An examination of four claimants.
Journal of Broadcasting, 21, 61-83.
172


149
found to be statistically significant. However, when
combined with the other positioning scores in a regression
equation, the effect of Commitment practice was less
striking.
Conclusions Regarding Research Question Three
and Hypotheses Five, Six, Seven
There appears to be some association between cumulative
audience ratings and positioning use, in view of the fact
that the coefficients of determination--R squared and
adjusted R squared--were shown to be greater than zero.
Nevertheless, the relationship was not statistically
significant overall and more than 98% of the variance in
ratings is still unaccounted for. There also seems to be
some negative association between contributing membership
size and positioning usage, yet the relationship was again
statistically nonsignificant, leaving all of the observed
variability in the data unexplained. Association does seem
to exist between advertising budget allocations and
positioning use, particularly practice of the Commitment
strategy and tactics, which proved to be statistically
significant.
The multiple regression equations were fitted to the
peculiarities of the data from which they were computed and
therefore, their predictive accuracy reflects this chosen
research sample.


84
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


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Carolyn Elizabeth Poole is a native of Chicago,
Illinois, where she received primary and secondary education
in the suburban Flossmoor school district. During her
senior year of high school, she performed with a singing
group on concert tour throughout Europe and the Soviet
Union.
Carolyn graduated from Purdue University in 1974 with a
Bachelor of Arts degree in social science education and
music history. She obtained a Master of Education degree in
higher education administration and educational psychology
from University of Illinois in 1975. That year she also
accepted a national fellowship award from the Education
Professions Development Act to pursue a community college
leadership training program at University of Florida. In
1976 she received the Specialist in Education degree from
University of Florida in higher education administration and
student personnel, with community college emphasis. During
her academic career, she was initiated into membership of
Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Delta Phi, and Phi Delta Kappa national
honor societies.
Carolyn has had professional experience at both public
and private colleges in the areas of counseling, teaching,
186


129
Table 18 displays the positioning strategy variables
in order of decreasing tolerance, their respective
nonstandardized regression coefficients (B-values),
individual beta weights or standardized regression
coefficients ((3-values), plus other equation statistics
produced by forced entry of all variables in the equation.
The overall model was not statistically significant at the
.05 alpha level, as revealed by the squared multiple
regression coefficient of .19. Examination of the six
positioning variables suggested that practice of Competition
Focus and Market Niche strategies and accompanying tactics
may contribute most to prediction of cumulative audience
ratings, while use of Audience Focus may contribute the
least. However, none of the six individual usage scores
were statistically significant when tested in this manner.
Follow-up analysis was performed with assistance of
the Pearson correlation statistical test. The six
positioning usage measures were combined to form one total
use score per unit for the 36 cases, and use was correlated
with the cumulative audience ratings figures. A correlation
coefficient of .17 was achieved and associated probability
of .16, which was not statistically significant at the .05
alpha level. The small coefficient does not necessarily
indicate lack of association between positioning practice
and ratings. Instead, it means that a linear relationship
between the two variables is questionable. The Pearson r


88
Table 2
Frequency Distribution of Expert Panel Scores:
Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree of
Importance
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%)
IB.
0
( 0%)
3
(21%)
3
(21%)
6
(43%)
2
(14%)
1C.
0
( 0%)
1
( 7%)
1
( 7%)
6
(43%)
6
(43%)
ID.
1
( 7%)
3
(21%)
1
( 7%)
4
(29%)
5
(36%)
IE.
1
( 7%)
3
(21%)
2
(14%)
4
(29%)
4
(29%)
IF.
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%)
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 IE,
IF, 2D, 3D, 5B; 2 for items 1, 3, 4, 5, 5C, 6; 4 for item 2.


112
Frequency distribution of the development directors'
scores regarding current practice of the positioning
techniques is presented in Table 14. A majority of the
respondents reported that 24 of the 29 positioning methods
(83%) are being practiced at their stations. The five
unused procedures involved narrow target audience (item 3),
competition (items 8, 11, 12), and sufficient advertising/
promotion budget (item 28). The directors were equally
divided on item 16, one-half creating market niches based on
audience lifestyles, while the other half did not employ
this tactic. Although a total of 5 tactics were not
practiced, the directors did consider all but one of the
above mentioned to be rather important, as evidenced by
their scores of 3 or greater. The only tactic deemed both
unimportant and unutilized by the majority was survey item
12, concerning the avoidance of direct competition with a
market leader.
Measures of central tendency were analyzed in the same
format as those reported previously for the entire sample of
administrators, as well as for the general managers and
program directors separately. The 32 development directors'
import scores for the six strategies and their related
tactics were added together and mean scores computed. It
was then possible to rank order the condensed scores to see
how the development directors--as a distinct group--
typically perceived the importance of these positioning


135
positioning variables were not included in the equation.
The result was the following succinct but meaningful
expression:
Y = -.298 + .935 x Strategy 6 measures.
The forced entry method also built a multiple
regression model with the figures presented in Table 20, but
it was not statistically significant overall at the .05
alpha level. Displayed in order of decreasing tolerance,
the six individual positioning variables' beta weights
pointed again to Commitment as making the largest
contribution. Usage of the Consistency strategy and related
tactics apparently contributed the least to prediction of
advertising/promotional budget allocations.
Follow-up analysis was performed with the Pearson
correlation statistical test in the same format outlined in
the two previous hypotheses. A correlation coefficient of
.22 was achieved and associated probability of .07, which
was not statistically significant at the .05 level. The
Pearson r served to augment and substantiate the multiple
regression models.
Based on data obtained from the multiple regression
analysis and Pearson r follow-up test, there was
insufficient evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis Seven and it was retained. However, these
results should be regarded as inconclusive, particularly in
light of the individual significance attached to one of the


61
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


54
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). A1 Ries wrote
prolifically through the decade (Geltzer & Ries, 1975; Ries,


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).


119
Table 16
One-Way Analysis of Variance:
Administrative Group by Mean Usage Scores
Group
Strategy 1 (Audience Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
4.75
.31
Program Directors
4.47
.29
Development Directors
4.97
.28
F = 0.73; P = 0.48, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 2 (Competition Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
1.97
.30
1.88
.29
2.31
.26
F = 0.66; P = 0.52, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 3 (Market Niche)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
2.84
.20
2.75
.17
3.00
.18
F 0.46; P = 0.63, not significant at PC.05.


51
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 A1 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


remember. The following strategy and tactics were
formulated to combat confusion.
74
Strategy: 5.
Tactics: 5A.
5B.
5C.
Strive for simplicity in all communications.
Use obvious ideas and simple words in a
straightforward manner.
Modify complex messages by restraining
creative techniques.
Oversimplify messages in order to make long-
lasting 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.
6A. Determine a basic position and adhere to it,
changing only the short-term tactics.
6B. Decide long-range (5-10 year) positioning
goals.
Allocate a sufficiently large budget for
advertising and promotional activities.
Tactics:
6C.


89
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 . ," 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


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


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.


148
unknown. Linear regression analysis attempted to find a
straight line through the set of data that best fit that
particular data. The regression equation assumed that the
Y-variable increased proportionably as the X-variables
increased.
In the investigation involving cumulative audience
ratings, it can be seen in Table 18 that there was a low
relationship between positioning use and ratings. If the
adjusted R squared (.02) could be considered an estimate of
the population correlation, positioning practice by station
administrators accounted for two percent of the variance in
station audience ratings.
The data displayed in Table 19 can be interpreted as
meaning there was a small negative relationship between
positioning use and membership. If the adjusted R squared
(-.10) could be considered an estimate of the population
correlation, positioning practice by station administrators
accounted for none of the variance in station membership
size.
Table 20 exhibits another low relationship between
positioning use and advertising budget, with an adjusted R
squared computed to be .12. Positioning practice by station
administrators accounted for 12%, or more than one-fifth, of
the variance in station budget allocations for advertising
and promotional activities. Commitment was the best
predictor, and when analyzed for its contribution alone, was


151
investigate its usefulness should be regarded as exploratory
in nature rather than terminal. As time proceeds and more
evidence accumulates, tentative conclusions regarding
positioning as reported herein will become more certain.
No previous research precedents on this topic were
available to dictate the methodological decisions made by
the researcher. While the standard .05 probability level
was chosen for hypothesis testing, as is generally accepted
for research in education, interpretation of the results
would have been altered significantly had a higher level
been selected. Roscoe (1975) has held that it is
permissible to test hypotheses at the .10 or even .20 alpha
level when one is working with new ideas, the loss of which
could be crucial if Type II error occurs in the research and
a false hypothesis is retained.
In regard to the multiple regression analysis conducted
in the test of Hypotheses 5-7, the lurking question remains
as to what other factors may have greater influence upon
cumulative audience ratings, contributing membership size,
and advertising/promotion budget allocations, since
positioning usage was found to have had such low predictive
value. Perhaps type of programming format, market size,
degree of station identification with the university
licensee, and audience demographics/psychographics may
contribute to more exact estimation of these criterion
variables.


59
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-and-
boast advertising" (Ries & Trout, 1981, p. 41) of the
company's later aspirations to be number one rather than two
on the consumer product ladder.


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
"causes" 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


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


62
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


117
Table 15--continued
Group
Strategy 4 (Consistency)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
21.97
ab
.74
Program Directors
20.12
a
.84
Development Directors
22.84
b
.48
F = 3.88; P = 0.02*; means
significantly different at
followed
PC.05.
by same
letter
Group
Strategy 5 (Simplicity)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
11.41
.55
11.22
.53
12.03
.42
F = 0.71; P = 0.49, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 6 (Commitment)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
22.06
.74
20.09
.65
21.72
.43
F = 1.73; P = 0.18, not significant at PC.05.


methods. When strategies and accompanying tactics were
averaged together, the resulting mean scores for each
overall strategy theme ranked in importance as follows:
114
1
Consistency
--- 4.57
2
Commitment
i
i
OJ
3
Market Niche
--- 4.02
4
Simplicity
4.01
5
Audience Focus
--- 3.95
6
Competition Focus
-- 3.05
In sum, the university-license public radio station
administrators, as a whole group, were favorably inclined
toward the positioning techniques in terms of both perceived
import and usage. When examined separately according to the
three administrative classifications, the data revealed
Development/Promotion Directors as the group most positive
about the positioning strategies and tactics. Their
responses resembled those of General/Station Managers,
although the managers were somewhat more restrained in their
acclamations. Program Directors were the least generous in
their overall scoring when compared with the other two
groups.
The three groups of administrators differed in the rank
order of their condensed strategy theme scores. All did
rank Consistency first, Commitment second, and Competition
Focus last. However, programmers had stronger regard for
Simplicity and Audience Focus than either managers or
development people.


87
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


APPENDIX I
UNIVERSITY LICENSEES REPRESENTED IN THE TELEPHONE SURVEY
STATION LICENSEE
CITY, STATE
WTSU-FM
WUAL-FM
KJZZ-FM
KUNC-FM
WUSF-FM
WQCS-FM
WKGC-FM
WUWF-FM
WILL-FM
WOI-FM
KUNI-FM
KIWR-FM
KSUI-FM
KWIT-FM
KHCC-FM
KANU-FM
KMUW-FM
WKYU-FM
WKMS-FM
KDAQ-FM
WUOM-FM
WDET-FM
WKAR-FM
WNMU-FM
KUMD-FM
KBIA-FM
KCUR-FM
KXCV-FM
KUMR-FM
KEMC-FM
KRWG-FM
WUNC-FM
WFAE-FM
WFSS-FM
Troy State University
University of Alabama
Maricopa Community College
University of Northern Colorado
University of South Florida
Indian River Community College
Gulf Coast Community College
University of West Florida
University of Illinois
Iowa State University
University of Northern Iowa
Iowa Western Community College
University of Iowa
W. Iowa Tech Community College
Hutchinson Community College
University of Kansas
Wichita State University
Western Kentucky University
Murray State University
Louisiana State University
University of Michigan
Wayne State University
Michigan State University
Northern Michigan University
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri
University of Missouri
N.W. Missouri State University
University of Missouri
Eastern Montana College
New Mexico State University
University of North Carolina
University of North Carolina
Fayetteville State University
Montgomery, AL
Tuscaloosa, AL
Phoenix, AZ
Greeley, CO
Tampa, FL
Fort Pierce, FL
Panama City, FL
Pensacola, FL
Urbana, IL
Ames, IA
Cedar Falls, IA
Council Blfs, IA
Iowa City, IA
Sioux City, IA
Hutchinson, KS
Lawrence, KS
Wichita, KS
Bowling Green,KY
Murray, KY
Shreveport, LA
Ann Arbor, MI
Detroit, MI
E. Lansing, MI
Marquette, MI
Duluth, MN
Columbia, MO
Kansas City, MO
Maryville, MO
Rolla, MO
Billings, MT
Las Cruces, NM
Chapel Hill, NC
Charlotte, NC
Fayetteville, NC
170


98
Table 7
Frequency Distribution of Administrators' Scores:
Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree
of
Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
4
( 4%)
24
(25%)
68
(71%)
2.
0
( 0%)
8
( 8%)
9
( 9%)
38
(40%)
41
(43%)
3.
13
(14%)
28
(29%)
27
(28%)
15
(16%)
13
(13%)
4.
1
( 1%)
3
( 3%)
14
(15%)
43
(45%)
35
(36%)
5.
1
( 1%)
5
( 5%)
10
(10%)
43
(45%)
37
(38%)
6.
7
( 7%)
24
(25%)
17
(18%)
27
(28%)
21
(22%)
7.
4
( 4%)
17
(18%)
36
(38%)
18
(19%)
21
(22%)
8.
17
(18%)
24
(25%)
23
(24%)
21
(22%)
11
(12%)
9.
12
(12%)
24
(25%)
26
(27%)
24
(25%)
10
(10%)
10.
13
(14%)
27
(28%)
22
(23%)
25
(26%)
9
( 9%)
11.
21
(22%)
28
(29%)
14
(15%)
25
(26%)
8
( 8%)
12.
20
(21%)
24
(25%)
15
(16%)
20
(21%)
17
(18%)
13.
4
( 4%)
1
( 1%)
6
( 6%)
21
(22%)
64
(68%)
14.
11
(12%)
16
(17%)
22
(23%)
24
(25%)
23
(24%)
15.
6
( 6%)
6
( 6%)
12
(12%)
34
(35%)
38
(40%)
16.
6
( 6%)
14
(15%)
19
(20%)
32
(33%)
25
(26%)
17.
2
( 2%)
3
( 3%)
3
( 3%)
23
(24%)
65
(68%)
18.
3
( 3%)
6
( 6%)
6
( 6%)
25
(26%)
56
(58%)
19.
3
( 3%)
3
( 3%)
4
( 4%)
26
(27%)
60
(62%)
20.
2
( 2%)
6
( 6%)
12
(12%)
30
(31%)
46
(48%)
21.
2
( 2%)
8
( 8%)
5
( 5%)
32
(33%)
49
(51%)
22.
3
( 3%)
4
( 4%)
14
(15%)
36
(38%)
39
(41%)
23.
3
( 3%)
3
( 3%)
17
(18%)
35
(36%)
38
(40%)
24.
9
( 9%)
19
(20%)
18
(19%)
24
(25%)
26
(27%)
25.
2
( 2%)
3
( 3%)
6
( 6%)
34
(35%)
51
(53%)
26.
2
( 2%)
4
( 4%)
10
(10%)
38
(40%)
42
(44%)
27.
6
( 6%)
10
(10%)
21
(22%)
24
(25%)
35
(36%)
28.
7
( 7%)
6
( 6%)
16
(17%)
24
(25%)
43
(45%)
29.
1
( 1%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
21
(22%)
74
(77%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
responses per item. N = 96.


32
Broadcastinq/Cablecastinq 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


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; Waller, 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


144
The Research Findings
Some statistically significant relationships between
perceived importance and practice of market positioning were
determined from both the experts' and administrators' data
sets. Some significant differences were observed among
administrative groups in regard to import ratings, but not
in usage scores. Statistically significant relationships
between cumulative audience ratings, contributing membership
size, advertising/promotion budget allocations, and
positioning use by administrators, were not proven
conclusively.
Interpretation of Results
Experts' Perceptions of Positioning
According to results reported in Chapter IV, experts in
public broadcasting management made a very positive
assessment of market positioning theory, as evidenced by
their overwhelming 91% validation of the theoretically-
derived positioning strategies and tactics which comprised
the written survey instrument (See Appendix D, Tables 2, 4,
5). The panel declined to verify the importance of
comparative advertising, market leader associations, and
oversimplification of communication. However, the experts
indicated a high degree of receptivity toward all other
positioning methods presented to them for consideration in
public radio, including the strategy and related tactics
with the most obvious competitive connotations.


168
11. Exploit weaknesses of competing stations.
12. Avoid direct competition with the market leader.
13. Find a market niche to fill.
14. Be first in the market to program a particular format.
15. Fill a hole in market by offering alternative
programming.
16. Create a new market niche based on audience lifestyle
preferences.
17. Reguire consistency throughout the entire positioning
plan.
18. Select station name and slogans that accurately
describe the programming format.
19. Develop advertising and promotional campaigns that
match the intended position.
20. Assure positioning objectives set the direction for all
station activities.
21. Reinforce position by use of repetition.
22. Strive for simplicity in all communications.
23. Use obvious ideas and simple words in straightforward
manner.
24. Modify complex messages by restraining creative
techniques.
25. Establish long-term commitment to the positioning
objective.
26. Determine a basic position and adhere to it, changing
only the short-term tactics.
27. Decide long-range (5-10 year) positioning goals.
28. Allocate a sufficiently large budget for advertising
and promotional activities.
29. Enlist support and understanding of entire station
staff in promoting the positioning goals.


142
significance of market positioning to nonprofit
organizations, particularly higher education; and 6) the
lack of market positioning research applicable to higher
education and broadcasting.
The Research Method
Procedures for conducting the research study involved
related literature review, development of two survey
instruments, pilot testing, data collection from experts,
administrators, and documents, data analysis, and
presentation of the results.
One research instrument took the form of a written
questionnaire constructed from operationalized market
positioning principles theorized by Ries and Trout. A panel
of experts comprised of 14 members of the Board of Directors
of National Public Radio and American Public Radio judged
the positioning methods with respect to their theoretical
feasibility in the administration of public radio stations.
Those positioning strategies and tactics that were validated
by the expert panel majority were included in a second
research instrument designed to be a telephone survey. A
pilot test was conducted with public radio administrators
from six university-licensed stations to determine the
appropriateness of the instrument and the testing plan for
subsequent implementation within the collegiate environment.
A major portion of the research study consisted of
telephone survey interviews with 96 administrators


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 CPB-
qualified 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.


Positioning "positioning": What top ad executives have to
say. (1972). Chicago: Crain Communications.
181
Quaal, W. L. & Brown, J. A. (1976). Broadcast management
(rev. ed.). New York: Hastings House.
Radio Advertising Bureau. (1983). Radio facts. New York:
Author.
Rados, D. L. (1981). Marketing for nonprofit
organizations. Boston: Auburn House.
Reeves, R. (1981). The new buzzword. In J. Sacco (1985,
October 17). Rosser Reeves' lost chapter. Advertising
Age, p. 13.
Repositioning can do wonders for golden oldies. (1980,
August 25). Advertising Age, p. 12.
Reymer, & Gersin Associates, Inc. (1983). Radio W.A.R.S.:
How to survive the '80s. Washington, DC: National
Association of Broadcasters.
Ries, A. (1974a). Tactics for the "shortage seventies":
Today's crises--New opportunity for advertisers?
Management Review, 62(9), 29-33.
Ries, A. (1974b, August 26). The positioning strategy for
successful advertising. Broadcasting, p. 11.
Ries, A. (1977, February). Military guide to media
planning. Media Decisions, pp. 76-78, 114.
Ries, A., & Trout, J. (1981). Positioning: The battle for
your mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Ries, A., & Trout, J. (1986). Marketing warfare. New
York: McGraw-Hill.
Robertson, J., & Yokom, G. G. (1973). Educational radio:
The fifty-year-old adolescent. Educational
Broadcasting Review, 7(2), 107-115.
Roscoe, J. T. (1975). Fundamental research statistics for
the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). New York: Holt,
Rinehart, & Winston.
Rosenfeld, Sirowitz, & Lawson, Inc. (1971, April 12). We
congratulate our partner, Ron Rosenfeld, on his
election to The Copywriters' Hall of Fame. Write on,
Ron. The New York Times, p. 61.


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:


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) .


APPENDIX B
PANEL OF EXPERTS
Douglas J. Bennet, Jr.
President
National Public Radio
Washington, DC
Patricia Deal Cahill
General Manager
KCUR-FM
Kansas City, MO
G. Gibson Carey IV
Vice President
Proctor & Gamble
Cincinnati, OH
Ward B. Chamberlin, Jr.
President & General Manager
WETA-FM
Arlington, VA
Kathryn P. Jensen
General Manager
WCPN-FM
Cleveland, OH
Jack W. Mitchell
Director of Radio and
Station Manager, WHA-AM
Madison, WI
Dale K. Ouzts
General Manager
WOSU-AM/FM/TV
Columbus, OH
Wayne C. Roth
General Manager
WUOW-FM
Seattle, WA
Joan G. Rubel
General Manager
WFCR-FM
Amherst, MA
Ann Santen
Programming Manager
WGUC-FM
Cincinnati, OH
Wallace Smith
Vice President
WNYC-AM/FM
New York, NY
Jennifer Stanley
Maplehurst
Oxford, MD
Douglas Vernier
General Manager
KHKE/KUNI-FM
Cedar Falls, IA
Max Wycisk
General Manager
KCFR-FM
Denver, CO
159


157
18. Represent one quality or benefit. (Baumwoll, 1984;
Ogilvy, 1971)
19. Goals must be understood and supported by all employees.
(Berry, 1982; Johnson & Jones, 1978; Margulies, 1980;
McKenna, 1985; Quaal & Brown, 1976)
20. Develop new markets; create bigger pie rather than
bigger slice. (McKenna, 1985; Ted Bolton Associates,
1984)
21. Build relationship with key people in field. (Kotler,
1986; McKenna, 1985)
22. Understand customers' thinking, behavior, motivations,
perceptions, lifestyles; psychographics. (Aaker &
Shansby, 1982; Eastman et al., 1985; Ennis, 1982; Foltz,
1985; Hedges, 1986; Kotler & Levy, 1969; Meyers, 1984;
McKenna, 1985; Ogilvy, 1971; Springer, 1972; Wademan,
1976; Zotti, 1985)
23. Conduct internal audits; "know thyself". (Cravens, 1975;
Kotler & Levy, 1969; Margulies, 1981; McKenna, 1985)
24. Conduct external audits of market environment. (Cravens,
1975; McKenna, 1985; Rados, 1981)
25. Adjust to changes in market conditions. (Cravens, 1975;
McKenna, 1985; Rados, 1981)
26. Identify market niche. (Berry, 1982; Blume, 1983;
Cravens, 1975; Geibel, 1986; Johnson & Jones, 1978;
Margulies, 1980; McKenna, 1985; Montana, 1978; Ted
Bolton Associates, 1984)
27. Position against weakest opponent. (Reeves, 1981)
28. Respond quickly to competitive moves. (McKenna, 1985)
29. Use comparative advertising. (Aaker & Shansby, 1982;
Fox, 1985)
30. Study the competition. (Aaker & Shansby, 1982; Eastman
et al., 1985; Geibel, 1986; Johnson & Jones, 1978;
Margulies, 1981; McKenna, 1985; Rados, 1981; Saunders,
1981)
31. Increase efforts to obtain qualitative research data.
(Aaker & Shansby, 1982; McKenna, 1985; Quaal & Brown,
1976)
32. Create product position based on attributes, quality,
competitor, application, user, or class. (Aaker &
Shansby, 1982; Ennis, 1982; Ogilvy, 1971)
33. Communicate product benefits. (Ogilvy, 1971; Saunders,
1981)
34. Select unique selling propositions to generate maximum
sales. (Reeves, 1981)
35. Present consistent image; don't change what works.
(Aaker & Shansby, 1982; Baumwoll, 1984; Berry, 1982;
Ogilvy, 1971; Warwick & Sands, 1975)
36. Establish credibility with customers. (McKenna, 1985)
37. Form alliances with other companies. (Kotler, 1986)
38. Customize product/service to suit individual. (Klein,
1985; Meyers, 1984)


APPENDIX E
INTRODUCTORY LETTER TO STATION ADMINISTRATORS
Dear
August 5, 1988
I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida and
conducting a study of market positioning strategies and
tactics utilized by public radio stations. "Positioning" is
the process of creating an image of a radio station in the
minds of prospective listeners. It involves making the
audience believe that one station is really different from
others in the market. In light of the continuing
proliferation of new communication channels, an immediate
need exists to strengthen the identity of public radio and
promote a unique image that will compel audiences to seek
out on the dial.
I ask for your support and cooperation in sharing with me
your opinion on the subject of public radio station
positioning. The information will be used in a confidential
manner to complete my dissertation and contribute some new
insights to the field. A summary of this practical research
will be available as a service to you upon completion of the
project.
The survey will be conducted by telephone and should take
only a few minutes of your time. Please indicate on the
enclosed form a date when it would be convenient for you to
be contacted by phone. A postage-paid reply envelope is
provided, so I hope to hear from you by return mail today.
Also enclosed is a list of some proposed positioning
strategies and tactics for your consideration in advance of
the survey call.
Thank you for your help and interest in improving the
position of public radio. I look forward to talking with
you soon. Your response will definitely make a difference.
Sincerely,
Carolyn E. Poole
Research Assistant
719 Oakview Drive WWS
Bradenton, FL 34210
165


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.


102
Table 9
Frequency Distribution of General/Station Managers'
Scores: Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree
of Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
26
(81%)
2.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
16
(50%)
3.
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
7
(22%)
5
(16%)
6
(19%)
4.
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
14
(44%)
12
(38%)
5.
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
12
(38%)
13
(41%)
6.
4
(12%)
8
(25%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
7
(22%)
7.
1
( 3%)
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
8
(25%)
6
(19%)
8.
7
(22%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
6
(19%)
5
(16%)
9.
6
(19%)
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
5
(16%)
4
(12%)
10.
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
4
(12%)
4
(12%)
11.
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
5
(16%)
6
(19%)
4
(12%)
12.
10
(31%)
4
(12%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
5
(16%)
13.
3
( 9%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
4
(12%)
23
(72%)
14.
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
8
(25%)
9
(28%)
15.
3
( 9%)
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
12
(38%)
12
(38%)
16.
2
( 6%)
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
11
(34%)
17.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
24
(75%)
18.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
9
) 28%)
20
(62%)
19.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
22
(69%)
20.
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
16
(50%)
21.
1
( 3%)
2
( 6%)
1
( 3%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
22.
2
( 6%)
1
( 3%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
12
(38%)
23.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
7
(22%)
15
(47%)
24.
3
( 9%)
5
(16%)
7
(22%)
9
(28%)
8
(25%)
25.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
26.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
27.
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
6
(19%)
8
(25%)
12
(38%)
28.
2
( 6%)
1
( 3%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
14
(44%)
29.
1
( 3%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
7
(22%)
24
(75%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
responses per item. n = 32.


73
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


76
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


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


81
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 (V). Since chi-
square 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


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
activites. 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)


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


63
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.


52
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 A1
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).


92
Table 4
Measures of Central Tendency:
Survey Item by Expert Panel Import Scores
Standard
Item
Mean
Deviation
Median
Mode
1.
4.75
.45
5.00
5.00
1A.
4.21
.89
4.00
4.00
IB.
3.50
1.02
4.00
4.00
1C.
4.21
.89
4.00
4.00
ID.
3.64
1.40
4.00
5.00
IE.
3.50
1.34
4.00
4.00
IF.
3.38
1.32
3.00
3.00
2.
3.60
.84
4.00
4.00
2A.
3.79
.80
4.00
3.00
2B.
3.71
.73
4.00
3.00
2C.
2.79
1.31
3.00
4.00
2D.
2.54
1.20
3.00
3.00
2E.
1.36
1.08
1.00
1.00
3.
4.25
1.22
5.00
5.00
3A.
3.36
1.39
4.00
4.00
3B.
3.71
1.38
4.00
5.00
3C.
3.07
1.33
3.00
4.00
3D.
2.08
1.44
2.00
1.00
4.
4.33
.99
5.00
5.00
4A.
4.21
1.05
4.50
5.00
4B.
4.07
1.00
4.00
5.00
4C.
3.71
.99
3.50
3.00
4D.
4.14
1.10
5.00
5.00
5.
4.00
.95
4.00
3.00
5A.
3.71
1.27
3.50
5.00
5B.
3.00
1.29
3.00
3.00
5C.
2.42
1.24
2.00
2.00
6.
4.17
.84
4.00
5.00
6A.
3.93
1.27
4.00
5.00
6B.
3.29
1.49
4.00
4.00
6C.
3.93
.92
4.00
4.00
6D.
4.64
.63
5.00
5.00


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 double-
talk 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


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 13 9
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


133
Table 19
Prediction of Membership Size
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics
Strategy
B
Beta
6 Commitment
.41
.08
1 Audience Focus
.97
.22
5 Simplicity
.96
.14
3 Market Niche
-1.02
-.17
2 Competition Focus
-.69
-.17
4 Consistency
-.28
oo
o

1
Intercept = 73.23,
Multiple R = .29, R Square =
Adjusted R Square = -.10,
.09,
F = 0.49, Significance of F =
not significant at PC.05.
.82,


126
the cumulative audience ratings and population size was
requisite in order to calculate membership percentages for
meaningful comparisons. Therefore, only the 36 stations
which were located in markets rated by Arbitron could be
included in the statistical analysis involving membership
size. The management of one station indicated that their
university licensee prohibited fundraising, so they had no
contributing members, reducing this particular sample to 35.
The largest percentage of membership calculated for the
35 stations was 27.8%, the smallest was 4.4%, and the mean
was 10.2%. Basically, this can be interpreted as meaning
that the typical university-licensed public radio station in
the sample succeeded in converting approximately 10.2% of
its listening audience into contributors, actualized by
membership.
Percentage of budget allocated for advertising and
promotional activities was reported by the administrators
for 44 of the 45 stations represented in the study. The
largest budget percentage revealed was 13%, the smallest was
zero, and the mean was 2.7%. Participants from one-quarter
of the organizations indicated that they had no financial
budget at all for advertising/promotion.
Research Question Three was addressed further by the
statistical testing of Hypotheses Five, Six, and Seven.


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


154
6. Administrators of university-licensed public radio
stations located in markets where audience ratings are not
conducted might examine alternatives to find out how they
rank, such as proposing university-facilitated research
studies. Administrators of stations in ranked markets which
do not receive the audience data should make an effort to
subscribe in order to learn how well they are serving
potential audiences.
Recommendations for Further Research
Based on the results of this study, need for further
research is indicated in the following areas.
1. A study should be conducted utilizing the developed
research instruments in applications testing a wider range
of groups within educational institutions, as well as
including management of different classes of campus-based
broadcasting facilities.
2. A study should be conducted to determine what other
predictor variables are associated with cumulative audience
ratings, contributing membership size, advertising and
promotion budget allocations.
3. A study should be conducted to determine the
influence of institutional image upon market positioning of
university-license public radio stations.
4. A study should be conducted to determine the
correlation between positioning usage by station
administrators and audience time spent listening data.


116
Table 15
One-Way Analysis of Variance:
Administrative Group by Mean Import Scores
Group
Strategy 1 (Audience Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
26.59
.79
25.72
.80
27.66
.50
F = 1.86; P = 0.16, not significant at P<.05.
Group
Strategy 2 (Competition Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
13.91
.92
13.72
.78
15.25
. 66
F = 1.12; P = 0.33, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 3 (Market Niche)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
15.31
.76
14.62
.52
16.06
.48
F = 1.45; P = 0.24, not significant at PC.05.


128
dependent variable. The F-test was then calculated for the
hypothesis that the coefficient of the entered variable was
zero. Variables were added to the equation as they met
established criteria involving the F-statistic, which
demanded a minimum F-value of 3.84 and associated
probability of .05. In this case, the first variable
selected for entry did not meet the criteria for inclusion.
Therefore, the procedure was terminated with no variables in
the equation.
Stepwise selection combined the entry requirements of
the forward procedures with additional criteria for
sequential removal of variables from the equation.
Independent variables were entered separately into the
formula, then examined for a minimum F-value of 2.71 and
maximum associated probability of .10 to meet in order to
remain in the model. As variables were eliminated at each
step, the equation was recomputed until no more independent
variables could be removed and no more were eligible for
entry. Limits were reached on the initial entry, so the
process was terminated with no variables in the equation.
The forced entry method generated the only noteworthy
output from the regression analysis. In this procedure, all
independent variables were entered in a single step in order
of decreasing tolerance. Tolerance is defined as the
proportion of the variance of a variable in the equation
that is not accounted for by the other independent variables
(Norusis, 1986) .


APPENDIX F
TELEPHONE SURVEY CONFIRMATION FORM
I agree to participate in the market positioning survey.
THE BEST TIME TO CALL ME IS: (check first & second
preferences)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 MONDAY, AUGUST 22
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18 TUESDAY, AUGUST 23
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24
morning? afternoon? evening?
(Please print:)
NAME
TITLE
STATION
PHONE
Please also supply the following information, which will be
analyzed only in ways that GUARANTEE individual, station, &
institutional confidentiality.
HOW MANY INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS/SUBSCRIBERS (e.g., "Friends of
89FM") CURRENTLY SUPPORT YOUR STATION?
HOW MUCH DOES YOUR STATION SPEND ANNUALLY FOR ADVERTISING
AND PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES? (dollar amount)
(percent of total budget)
Thank you! Return TODAY to:
C.E. Poole, 719 Oakview Drive WWS, Bradenton, Florida 34210
166


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


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


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


49
an FCC licensee. Those in the upper eschelons 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 university-
affiliated 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


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


176
Geibel, J. P. (1986, February 14). Positioning impacts
marketing communications of new firms. Marketing News,
pp. 23-24.
Geltzer, H., & Ries, A. (1975). Positioning in p.r. Public
Relations Journal, 3_1(H)' 40-43.
Geltzer, H., & Ries, A. (1976). The positioning era:
Marketing strategy for college admissions in the 1980s.
In College Entrance Examination Board (Ed.), A role for
marketing in college admissions (pp. 73-85). New York:
Author.
Gibson, G. H. (1977). Public broadcasting: The role of the
federal government, 1912-76. New York: Praeger.
Gold, R. (1982, August 4). College radio recognized as
sales tool: Non-pay formats are selling LPs. Variety,
pp. 51, 54.
Greenland, L. (1972, July 10). Is this the era of
positioning? Advertising Age, pp. 43-44, 46.
Hall, J. (1976, October). The business of radio promotion.
Paper presented at the meeting of the National
Association of Educational Broadcasters, Chicago, IL.
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 134 176).
Havig, A. (1979). Beyond nostalgia: American radio as a
field of study. Journal of Popular Culture, 12, 218-
227.
Head, S. W. (1972). Broadcasting in America: A survey of
television and radio (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton
Mifflin.
Head, S. W., & Martin, L. A. (1957). Broadcasting and
higher education: A new era. Journal of Broadcasting,
1, 39-46.
Hedges, M. (1986, February). Radio's lifestyles.
American Demographics, pp. 32-35.
Hugstad, P. S. (1975). The marketing concept in higher
education: A caveat. Liberal Education, 61, 504-512.
Ihlanfeldt, W. (1975). A management approach to the
buyer's market. Liberal Education, 61, 133-148.
Ihlanfeldt, W. (1980). Achieving optimal enrollments and
tuition revenues. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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 II, 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


101
unutilized by the majority was survey item 11, concerning
exploitation of competitors' weaknesses.
In order to analyze measures of central tendency in a
comprehensible, manageable format, the 96 administrators'
import scores for the six strategies and their related
tactics were added together and mean scores computed. It
was then possible to rank order the condensed scores to see
how the administrators typically perceived the importance of
these positioning methods. When strategies and accompanying
tactics were averaged together, the resulting mean scores
for each overall strategy theme ranked in importance as
follows:
1 Consistency 4.33
2 Commitment 4.19
3 Simplicity 3.85
4 Market Niche 3.83
5 Audience Focus 3.81
6 Competition Focus -- 2.86
The data were also examined by the three separate
administrative group classifications. Frequency
distribution of General/Station Managers' scores on the
degree of importance of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 9. A majority of the respondents rated
28 on the 29 survey items (97%) at 3 or higher in
importance. More specifically, the general managers
perceived 21 of the 29 positioning statements (72%) as being


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.


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.
86


APPENDIX G
TELEPHONE POSITIONING SURVEY INSTRUMENT
This is a proposed list of positioning strategies and
tactics an administrator might implement to position a
public radio station. I will ask you on the phone to rate
the degree of importance of each item on a scale of 1-5, and
will also ask if these positioning strategies and tactics
are currently being practiced at your public radio station.
The rating scale will be: 1 not important
2 below average importance
3 average
4 above average importance
5 extremely important
1. Focus on the audience.
2. Conduct qualitative research of audience perceptions
and opinions of station.
3. Direct programming to a narrow target audience.
4. Identify what listeners believe are strengths of the
station.
5. Identify what listeners believe are weaknesses of the
station.
6. Determine how listeners rank your station in comparison
to others in the market.
7. Relate programming to something audience is familiar
with.
8. Focus on the competition.
9. Evaluate strengths of competing stations.
10.Evaluate weaknesses of competing stations.
167


132
produce a regression model with the variables under
consideration.
The force entry procedure did succeed in generating the
regression statistics displayed in Table 19. The six
separate positioning variables, listed in order of
decreasing tolerance, and the overall model were not
statistically significant at the .05 alpha level.
Follow-up analysis was performed with the Pearson
correlation statistical test in the same manner as
explained in the previous hypothesis. A negative
correlation coefficient of -.08 was achieved and associated
probability of .31, which was not statistically significant
at the .05 alpha level. Again, the Pearson r provided
additional information and corroborated the findings of the
multiple regression model.
Based on data obtained from the multiple regression
analysis and Pearson r follow-up test, there was
insufficient evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis Six and it was retained. However, these results
should be regarded as inconclusive. Further observations
and testing may contradict the evidence presented in this
specific demonstration.


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.


58
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 "cherchez le creneau" (look for the hole) and
fill it (p. 66). Marketing creneaux might be created on the


Ill
Table 13
Frequency Distribution of Development/Promotion
Directors' Scores; Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree
of Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
2.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
16
(50%)
14
(44%)
3.
1
(
3%)
9
(28%)
14
(44%)
5
(16%)
3
( 9%)
4.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
18
(56%)
10
(31%)
5.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
19
(59%)
11
(34%)
6.
0
(
0%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
9
(28%)
9
(28%)
7.
0
(
0%)
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
6
(19%)
8
(25%)
8.
3
(
9%)
7
(22%)
7
(22%)
11
(34%)
4
(12%)
9.
1
(
3%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
10
(31%)
4
(12%)
10.
1
(
3%)
8
(25%)
8
(25%)
12
(38%)
3
( 9%)
11.
8
(25%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
2
( 6%)
12.
6
(19%)
14
(44%)
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
8
(25%)
13.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
14.
2
(
6%)
5
(16%)
8
(25%)
8
(25%)
9
(28%)
15.
2
(
6%)
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
12
(38%)
14
(44%)
16.
1
(
3%)
2
( 6%)
8
(25%)
12
(38%)
9
(28%)
17.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
24
(75%)
18.
0
(
0%)
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
10
(31%)
20
(62%)
19.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
0
( 0%)
7
(22%)
24
(75%)
20.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
12
(38%)
18
(56%)
21.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
22.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
11
(34%)
17
(53%)
23.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
13
(41%)
24.
3
(
9%)
6
(19%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
10
(31%)
25.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
12
(38%)
19
(59%)
26.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
16
(50%)
10
(31%)
27.
2
(
6%)
2
( 6%)
5
(16%)
11
(34%)
12
(38%)
28.
1
(
3%)
0
( 0%)
5
(16%)
7
(22%)
19
(59%)
29.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
6
(19%)
26
(81%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
reponses per item. n = 32.


65
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 university-
licensed public radio stations located throughout the United
States that were identified as being "CPB-qualified." 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


75
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


180
Meyer, L. R. (1980). Assessing institutional positioning
for potential new student markets in lifelong learning:
Applied metamarketing in higher education
administration (Doctoral dissertation, University of
Minnesota, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts
International, 41, 962A.
Meyers, W. (1984). The image-makers: Power and persuasion
on Madison Avenue. New York: Times Books.
Minow, M. N., & Minow, N. (1976, October). What are we
learning from television? Change, pp. 48-49.
Mitchell, W. G. (1971). Behavioral objectives for public
broadcasting. Educational/Instructional Broadcasting,
4(3), 28-29.
Montana, P. J. (Ed.). (1978). Marketing in nonprofit
organizations. New York: AMACOM.
Neslin, S. A. (1986, January). Assessing the present
marketing position of your school. Paper presented at
the meeting of the American Association of Collegiate
Schools of Business, West Palm Beach, FL.
Nord, D. P. (1978). The FCC, educational broadcasting, and
political interest group activity. Journal of
Broadcasting, 22, 321-338.
Norusis, M. J. (1986). SPSS/PC+: SPSS for the IBM/PC/XT/
AT. Chicago: SPSS, Inc.
Ogilvy, D. (1971, April 7). How to create advertising
that sells. The New York Times, p. 56.
Ogilvy, D., & Raphaelson, J. (1982). Research on
advertising techniques that work--and don't work.
Harvard Business Review, 60(4), 14-15, 18.
Ozier, L. W. (1978). University broadcast licensees: Rx
for progress. Public Telecommunications Review, 6(5),
33-39.
Papazian, E. (1984, March). Positioning: A team effort.
Ad Forum, p. 19.
Pennybacker, J. H. (1965). Working with universities.
Journal of Broadcasting, 9, 183-187.
Pennybacker, J. H. (1966). Leadership and the educator:
The middle way. Journal of Broadcasting, 10, 67-70.


Table 20
Prediction of Advertising/Promotion Budget
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics
Strategy
B
Beta
6 Commitment
1.49
.46
1 Audience Focus
.76
.35
5 Simplicity
.52
.13
3 Market Niche
.09
.02
2 Competition Focus
1
o
vo
-.04
4 Consistency
-.71
-.34
Intercept = 2.99,
Multiple R = .48, R Square =
Adjusted R Square = .12,
.23,
F = 2.04, Significance of F =
not significant at PC.05.

o
00


CHAPTER V
SUMMARY, INTERPRETATION, DISCUSSION
IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Introduction
The intent of this chapter is to provide 1) a brief
recapitulation of the study by summarizing the research
problem, rationale, methods, and findings; 2) interpretation
of results, followed sequentially by conclusions in
connection with the research questions and accompanying
hypotheses; 3) a discussion of research findings in
relation to the utility of market positioning theory;
4) implications of the study; and 5) recommendations for
additional research endeavors.
Summary of the Research Study
The Research Problem
The purpose of the research 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
139


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


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


120
Table 16--continued
Strategy 4 (Consistency)
Group
Mean
Standard Error
General Managers
3.69
.31
Program Directors
3.53
.31
Development Directors
3.88
.26
F = 0.34; P = 0.71; not significant at P<.05.
Strategy 5 (Simplicity)
Group
Mean
Standard Error
General Managers
2.31
.17
Program Directors
2.06
.21
Development Directors
2.53
.10
F = 2.03; P = 0.14, not significant at PC.05.
Strategy 6 (Commitment)
Group Mean Standard Error
General Managers 3.19 .24
Program Directors 3.09 .23
Development Directors 3.56 .18
F = 1.33; P = 0.27, not significant at PC.05.


115
Test of Hypothesis Two
ho2: 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.
One-way analysis of variance was employed to determine
if there was a statistically significant difference in
import scores between the administrative groups. The 29
survey items scored on the five-point import scale were
divided first according to responses from the three types of
administrators. The measures from each group were then
condensed into six means by averaging together the
strategies and their respective tactics. Analysis of
variance was subsequently performed on these grouped import
means, arranged thematically by strategy.
As presented in Table 15, the F-score and probability
for only one of the six strategy themes was statistically
significant at the .05 alpha level. Respondents classified
as program directors and development directors differed
significantly in their import ratings of the consistency
strategy and its accompanying tactics. There were no
statistically significant differences among the other five
mean scores between the administrative groups.
Based on data obtained from the one-way analysis of
variance test, there was insufficient evidence to support
the rejection of null Hypothesis Two and it was retained.
However, in light of the one significantly different factor


60
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 "creatives" 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)


152
Two unanticipated and disturbing inconsistencies were
uncovered in the course of the telephone survey interviews
with the administrative groups. First, station managers,
program and development directors who worked together often
provided contradictory testimony regarding usage of the
positioning techniques at their stations. Whereas it was
expected that these three types of administrators would not
all hold the same opinions in reference to import of the
strategies and tactics, incongruency in reported practice
within the administrative units was not expected.
The second inconsistency dealt with revelation of a
philosophy that apparently is still entrenched in the
mentality of many who hold the responsibility to administer
public radio. It is characterized by a passive attitude
that assumes audiences will take the initiative to seek out
certain stations on the radio dial without any additional
incentives or efforts on the part of station management.
In other words, "Let them find us" is the operating
principle, bordering on outright indifference toward the
audience. Such a philosophy is totally inconsistent with
public radio's service mission as outlined by the Carnegie
Commission in 1979, as well as with the practice of sound
positioning strategy. Ultimately, insensitivity to
listeners will also prove to be detrimental to the CPB's
ambitious goal of doubling the size of the public radio
audience by 1991.


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


70
as the dominant authorities, their positioning theory-
providing an appropriate framework within which major
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


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 iii
LIST OF TABLES vi
ABSTRACT viii
CHAPTER
I INTRODUCTION 1
Introduction to the Problem 1
Statement of the Problem 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 36
The Relationship Between Public Radio
and Higher Education 41
Market Positioning Theory 50
Summary 62
IIIRESEARCH 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 13 9
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 Ill
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
Vll

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
"causes" 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
activites. 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
a universitypublic service. Simultaneously, this also met
a 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. Ill)
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 II, 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:
H01. 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.
HC>2. 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.
ho3* 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
HO4. There is no relationship between the degree of
importance assigned to and use of the positioning strategies
and tactics by the three administrative groups.
HO5. There is no relationship between cumulative
audience ratings and the use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
ho6. 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, campus-
based 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 double-
talk 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. Campus-
based 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 college-
owned 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 five-
point 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 university-
housed 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
Broadcastinq/Cablecastinq 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 "de-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; Waller, 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 quasi-
governmental 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 reguesting 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 guality 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 eschelons 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 university-
affiliated 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

50
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
A1 Ries and Jack Trout were both alumni of the
advertising and sales department at General Electric

51
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 A1 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

52
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 A1
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,

54
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). A1 Ries wrote
prolifically through the decade (Geltzer & Ries, 1975; Ries,

55
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. Dll)
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

58
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 "cherchez le creneau" (look for the hole) and
fill it (p. 66). Marketing creneaux might be created on the

59
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-and-
boast advertising" (Ries & Trout, 1981, p. 41) of the
company's later aspirations to be number one rather than two
on the consumer product ladder.

60
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 "creatives" 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)

61
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

62
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

63
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

65
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 university-
licensed public radio stations located throughout the United
States that were identified as being "CPB-qualified." 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 CPB-
qualified 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.

67
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

68
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

69
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 data-
gathering 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

70
as the dominant authorities, their positioning theory-
providing an appropriate framework within which major
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

71
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.
IB. Direct the programming to a narrow target
audience.
IC. Identify what listeners believe are
strengths of the station.
ID. Identify what listeners believe are
weaknesses of the station.
IE. Determine how listeners rank one's station
in comparison to others.
IF. 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

to one's own. This was covered by the following strategy
and tactics.
72
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.

73
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

remember. The following strategy and tactics were
formulated to combat confusion.
74
Strategy: 5.
Tactics: 5A.
5B.
5C.
Strive for simplicity in all communications.
Use obvious ideas and simple words in a
straightforward manner.
Modify complex messages by restraining
creative techniques.
Oversimplify messages in order to make long-
lasting 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.
6A. Determine a basic position and adhere to it,
changing only the short-term tactics.
6B. Decide long-range (5-10 year) positioning
goals.
Allocate a sufficiently large budget for
advertising and promotional activities.
Tactics:
6C.

75
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

76
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

77
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.

79
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

80
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

81
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 (V). Since chi-
square 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

82
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 (ANQVA). 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).

83
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,

84
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

85
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.
86

87
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

88
Table 2
Frequency Distribution of Expert Panel Scores:
Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree of
Importance
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%)
IB.
0
( 0%)
3
(21%)
3
(21%)
6
(43%)
2
(14%)
1C.
0
( 0%)
1
( 7%)
1
( 7%)
6
(43%)
6
(43%)
ID.
1
( 7%)
3
(21%)
1
( 7%)
4
(29%)
5
(36%)
IE.
1
( 7%)
3
(21%)
2
(14%)
4
(29%)
4
(29%)
IF.
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%)
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 IE,
IF, 2D, 3D, 5B; 2 for items 1, 3, 4, 5, 5C, 6; 4 for item 2.

89
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 . ," 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

90
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%
IB.
11
(85%)
2
(15%)
13
93%
1C.
11
(85%)
2
(15%)
13
93%
ID.
9
(69%)
4
(31%)
13
93%
IE.
9
(69%)
4
(31%)
13
93%
IF.
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.

91
the direction for the station activities, while the other
half thought this tactic is unused in public radio.
Measures of central tendency listed in Table 4
illustrate the most typical import scores on each survey
item from the expert panel as a whole group. In light of
the small sample size, the reader is again reminded to
consider the median as the best representative score of the
collection (Johnson 1977; McMillan & Schumacher, 1984;
Roscoe, 1975; Sax, 1974). Twenty-two of the 32 survey items
(69%) had median scores of 4 or 5, above average to
extremely important.
A general distribution of the import and usage scores
is presented in Table 5. It portrays the scores as
abnormally distributed, or negatively skewed, with most
located at the high end of the distribution.
It is worth noting that five positioning tactics were
believed to be important by the expert panel (rated 3 or
greater), although considered by the majority to be
unutilized in public radio. The important but unused
tactics are as follows:
Item 2D. Avoid direct competition with the market leader.
3C. Create a new market niche based on audience
lifestyle preferences.
5B. Modify complex messages by restraining creative
techniques.
Decide long-range (5-10 year) positioning goals.
6B.

92
Table 4
Measures of Central Tendency:
Survey Item by Expert Panel Import Scores
Standard
Item
Mean
Deviation
Median
Mode
1.
4.75
.45
5.00
5.00
1A.
4.21
.89
4.00
4.00
IB.
3.50
1.02
4.00
4.00
1C.
4.21
.89
4.00
4.00
ID.
3.64
1.40
4.00
5.00
IE.
3.50
1.34
4.00
4.00
IF.
3.38
1.32
3.00
3.00
2.
3.60
.84
4.00
4.00
2A.
3.79
.80
4.00
3.00
2B.
3.71
.73
4.00
3.00
2C.
2.79
1.31
3.00
4.00
2D.
2.54
1.20
3.00
3.00
2E.
1.36
1.08
1.00
1.00
3.
4.25
1.22
5.00
5.00
3A.
3.36
1.39
4.00
4.00
3B.
3.71
1.38
4.00
5.00
3C.
3.07
1.33
3.00
4.00
3D.
2.08
1.44
2.00
1.00
4.
4.33
.99
5.00
5.00
4A.
4.21
1.05
4.50
5.00
4B.
4.07
1.00
4.00
5.00
4C.
3.71
.99
3.50
3.00
4D.
4.14
1.10
5.00
5.00
5.
4.00
.95
4.00
3.00
5A.
3.71
1.27
3.50
5.00
5B.
3.00
1.29
3.00
3.00
5C.
2.42
1.24
2.00
2.00
6.
4.17
.84
4.00
5.00
6A.
3.93
1.27
4.00
5.00
6B.
3.29
1.49
4.00
4.00
6C.
3.93
.92
4.00
4.00
6D.
4.64
.63
5.00
5.00

93
Table 5
General Distribution of Expert Panel
Median Import and Usage Scores
Class
Interval
Overall
Frequency
Percent
of Area
Frequency
of Practice
5.00-4.50
6
19%
6
4.49-4.00
16
50%
14
3.99-3.50
2
6%
2
3.49-3.00
5
16%
2
2.99-2.50
0
0%
0
2.49-2.00
2
6%
0
1.99-1.50
0
0%
0
1.49-1.00
1
3%
0
n = 32
100%
n = 24
Note: Frequency
of practice
is for majority
response.

94
6C. Allocate a sufficiently large budget for
advertising and promotional activities.
There were three positioning tactics that failed to
achieve majority consensus of importance and had median
scores of less than 3.00. On the basis of this rating, they
were held as invalid for applicability to public radio, thus
eliminated for further consideration and dropped from the
second research instrument. These three were also judged as
not practiced in public radio stations. The unimportant and
unused tactics are as follows:
Item 2E. Refer to other stations by name in one's own
promos and advertising.
3D. Associate one's programming with the market
leader.
5C. Oversimplify messages in order to make long-
lasting impressions.
Test of Hypothesis One
HO]_: 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.
A chi-square test of independence for contingency
tables was employed to determine if there was a
statistically significant relationship between the expert
panel's import and usage scores. Chi-squares were obtained
and examined for each survey item. As presented in Table 6,
three of the 32 survey items were statistically significant
at the .05 alpha level.

95
Table 6
Chi-Square Test and Cramer's V:
Crosstabulation of Expert Panel Import and Usage Scores
Chi-
Cramer's
Item
Square
df
P
V
1.
--
--
--
--
1A.
3.74
3
.29
.54
IB.
2.76
3
.43
.46
1C.
6.60
3
.09
.71
ID.
4.24
4
.38
.57
IE.
3.61
4
.46
.53
IF.
7.89
4
.10
.81
2.
3.89
3
.27
.62
2A.
4.55
2
.10
.59
2B.
1.17
2
.56
.30
2C.
7.20
4
.13
.78
2D.
3.47
3
.32
.56
2E.
""
""
3.
4.79
3
.19
.69
3A.
6.38
4
.17
.73
3B.
11.00
3
.01*
1.00
3C.
5.24
4
.26
.69
3D.
11.00
3
.01*
1.00
4.
1.40
2
.50
.36
4A.
1.89
2
.39
.38
4B.
.60
2
.74
.22
4C.
3.20
3
.36
.52
4D.
2.10
2
.35
.42
5.
3.21
2
.20
.60
5A.
10.00
3
.02*
1.00
5B.
4.28
4
.37
.69
5C.
6.30
4
.18
.84
6.
3.06
2
.22
.55
6A.
5.96
4
.20
.74
6B.
4.80
4
.31
.63
6C.
6.00
3
.11
.71
6D.
.90
2
.64
.27
Note:
Missing observations ranged from 1
-6.
(See Table 2,
3) N
=14, indicates
significant at P<
.05,
one-tailed.

96
Analysis of the corresponding Cramer's V coefficients
also listed in Table 6 revealed moderate to strong
relationships between all but one (4B) of the import and
usage scores. Most of the coefficients fell within the .51
to .75 range, indicating moderately high association.
Perfect correlations of 1.00 were computed for the three
items, 3B, 3D, and 5A. Correlation coefficients of .30 or
larger are generally considered good in social and
behavioral science research (Champion, 1981).
It should also be noted that statistical tests could
not be performed on two survey items (1 and 2E) due to the
disproportional size of the contingency tables when the
expert judges cast unanimous votes on the usage scale.
Nevertheless, inspection of the arrangement of frequencies
for these two score sets, reported in Table 2 and Table 3,
can provide an intuitive sense of the magnitude of their
relationships.
Based on data obtained from the chi-square tests and
associated Cramer's V correlation coefficients, there was
only weak evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis One and it was retained. However, in light of
the three statistically significant items noted above, these
results should be regarded as inconclusive. There is a
possibility that additional research may produce more
definitive data.

97
Research Question Two
What importance is placed upon the expert-verified
positioning strategies and tactics by selected
administrators and to what extent are they being
utilized in university-licensed public radio stations?
A telephone survey instrument was implemented to
measure the perceptions of selected administrators at
university-licensed public radio stations as to the import
and usage of market positioning techniques. The testing
instrument was an adapted version of the previously
administered written survey. It contained 29 theoretically-
derived, expert-verified positioning strategies and tactics.
The same rating scale was employed, offering a choice of
five degrees of importance and yes/no for practice.
All administrators classified as General/Station
Managers, Program Directors, and Development/Promotion
Directors, representing CPB-qualified, Class C public radio
stations licensed to public state colleges and universities,
were invited to participate in the survey. Administrators
affiliated with 45 of the 54 eligible stations agreed to
take part in the study, an 83% response rate. Thirty-two
people from each of the three administrative groups
designated above--a total of 96 individuals--completed the
telephone survey interviews.
Frequency distribution of the administrators' scores on
the degree of importance of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 7. A majority of the respondents rated
28 of the 29 survey items (97%) at 3 or higher in

98
Table 7
Frequency Distribution of Administrators' Scores:
Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree
of
Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
4
( 4%)
24
(25%)
68
(71%)
2.
0
( 0%)
8
( 8%)
9
( 9%)
38
(40%)
41
(43%)
3.
13
(14%)
28
(29%)
27
(28%)
15
(16%)
13
(13%)
4.
1
( 1%)
3
( 3%)
14
(15%)
43
(45%)
35
(36%)
5.
1
( 1%)
5
( 5%)
10
(10%)
43
(45%)
37
(38%)
6.
7
( 7%)
24
(25%)
17
(18%)
27
(28%)
21
(22%)
7.
4
( 4%)
17
(18%)
36
(38%)
18
(19%)
21
(22%)
8.
17
(18%)
24
(25%)
23
(24%)
21
(22%)
11
(12%)
9.
12
(12%)
24
(25%)
26
(27%)
24
(25%)
10
(10%)
10.
13
(14%)
27
(28%)
22
(23%)
25
(26%)
9
( 9%)
11.
21
(22%)
28
(29%)
14
(15%)
25
(26%)
8
( 8%)
12.
20
(21%)
24
(25%)
15
(16%)
20
(21%)
17
(18%)
13.
4
( 4%)
1
( 1%)
6
( 6%)
21
(22%)
64
(68%)
14.
11
(12%)
16
(17%)
22
(23%)
24
(25%)
23
(24%)
15.
6
( 6%)
6
( 6%)
12
(12%)
34
(35%)
38
(40%)
16.
6
( 6%)
14
(15%)
19
(20%)
32
(33%)
25
(26%)
17.
2
( 2%)
3
( 3%)
3
( 3%)
23
(24%)
65
(68%)
18.
3
( 3%)
6
( 6%)
6
( 6%)
25
(26%)
56
(58%)
19.
3
( 3%)
3
( 3%)
4
( 4%)
26
(27%)
60
(62%)
20.
2
( 2%)
6
( 6%)
12
(12%)
30
(31%)
46
(48%)
21.
2
( 2%)
8
( 8%)
5
( 5%)
32
(33%)
49
(51%)
22.
3
( 3%)
4
( 4%)
14
(15%)
36
(38%)
39
(41%)
23.
3
( 3%)
3
( 3%)
17
(18%)
35
(36%)
38
(40%)
24.
9
( 9%)
19
(20%)
18
(19%)
24
(25%)
26
(27%)
25.
2
( 2%)
3
( 3%)
6
( 6%)
34
(35%)
51
(53%)
26.
2
( 2%)
4
( 4%)
10
(10%)
38
(40%)
42
(44%)
27.
6
( 6%)
10
(10%)
21
(22%)
24
(25%)
35
(36%)
28.
7
( 7%)
6
( 6%)
16
(17%)
24
(25%)
43
(45%)
29.
1
( 1%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
21
(22%)
74
(77%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
responses per item. N = 96.

99
importance. More specifically, the administrators perceived
20 of the 29 positioning statements (69%) as being above
average or greater in importance. One item (6) was also
rated 4 or higher by 50% of the administrators. More than
one-fourth (28%) of the positioning strategies and tactics
were considered extremely important by the majority.
As a whole group, the university-licensed public radio
station administrators had high regard for the individual
positioning strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25).
The majority scored four of the six basic strategies as
being of extreme importance. The strategy and tactics
involving competition (items 8-12) generally received the
lowest ratings. Nearly one-quarter of all the participants
believed that it is not important to "exploit weaknesses of
competing stations" (item 11).
Frequency distribution of the administrators' scores
regarding current practice of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 8. A majority of the respondents
reported that 21 of the 29 positioning methods (72%) are
being practiced at their stations. The eight unused
procedures involved qualitative research (item 2), narrow
target audience (item 3), competition (items 8-12), and
sufficient advertising/promotion budget (item 28). Although
not practiced, the administrators did consider all but one
to be rather important, as evidenced by their scores of 3 or
greater. The only tactic deemed both unimportant and

100
Table 8
Frequency Distribution of Administrators'
Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating
Practice
Item
Yes
No
1.
92
(96%)
4
( 4%)
2.
46
(48%)
50
(52%)
3.
39
(41%)
57
(59%)
4.
80
(83%)
16
(17%)
5.
78
(81%)
18
(19%)
6.
58
(60%)
38
(40%)
7.
61
(64%)
35
(36%)
8.
37
(38%)
59
(62%)
9.
40
(42%)
56
(58%)
10.
38
(40%)
58
(60%)
11.
35
(36%)
61
(64%)
12.
47
(49%)
49
(51%)
13.
81
(84%)
15
(16%)
14.
64
(67%)
32
(33%)
15.
81
(84%)
15
(16%)
16.
49
(51%)
47
(49%)
17.
77
(80%)
19
(20%)
18.
61
(64%)
35
(36%)
19.
71
(74%)
25
(26%)
20.
67
(70%)
29
(30%)
21.
79
(82%)
17
(18%)
22.
82
(85%)
14
(15%)
23.
83
(86%)
13
(14%)
24.
56
(58%)
40
(42%)
25.
83
(86%)
13
(14%)
26.
80
(83%)
16
(17%)
27.
49
(51%)
47
(49%)
28.
21
(22%)
75
(78%)
29.
82
(85%)
14
(15%)
Note.
Numbers
in parentheses
are
percentages
of total responses per item.
N =
96.

101
unutilized by the majority was survey item 11, concerning
exploitation of competitors' weaknesses.
In order to analyze measures of central tendency in a
comprehensible, manageable format, the 96 administrators'
import scores for the six strategies and their related
tactics were added together and mean scores computed. It
was then possible to rank order the condensed scores to see
how the administrators typically perceived the importance of
these positioning methods. When strategies and accompanying
tactics were averaged together, the resulting mean scores
for each overall strategy theme ranked in importance as
follows:
1 Consistency 4.33
2 Commitment 4.19
3 Simplicity 3.85
4 Market Niche 3.83
5 Audience Focus 3.81
6 Competition Focus -- 2.86
The data were also examined by the three separate
administrative group classifications. Frequency
distribution of General/Station Managers' scores on the
degree of importance of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 9. A majority of the respondents rated
28 on the 29 survey items (97%) at 3 or higher in
importance. More specifically, the general managers
perceived 21 of the 29 positioning statements (72%) as being

102
Table 9
Frequency Distribution of General/Station Managers'
Scores: Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree
of Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
26
(81%)
2.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
16
(50%)
3.
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
7
(22%)
5
(16%)
6
(19%)
4.
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
14
(44%)
12
(38%)
5.
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
12
(38%)
13
(41%)
6.
4
(12%)
8
(25%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
7
(22%)
7.
1
( 3%)
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
8
(25%)
6
(19%)
8.
7
(22%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
6
(19%)
5
(16%)
9.
6
(19%)
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
5
(16%)
4
(12%)
10.
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
4
(12%)
4
(12%)
11.
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
5
(16%)
6
(19%)
4
(12%)
12.
10
(31%)
4
(12%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
5
(16%)
13.
3
( 9%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
4
(12%)
23
(72%)
14.
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
8
(25%)
9
(28%)
15.
3
( 9%)
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
12
(38%)
12
(38%)
16.
2
( 6%)
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
11
(34%)
17.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
24
(75%)
18.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
9
) 28%)
20
(62%)
19.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
22
(69%)
20.
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
16
(50%)
21.
1
( 3%)
2
( 6%)
1
( 3%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
22.
2
( 6%)
1
( 3%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
12
(38%)
23.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
7
(22%)
15
(47%)
24.
3
( 9%)
5
(16%)
7
(22%)
9
(28%)
8
(25%)
25.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
26.
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
27.
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
6
(19%)
8
(25%)
12
(38%)
28.
2
( 6%)
1
( 3%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
14
(44%)
29.
1
( 3%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
7
(22%)
24
(75%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
responses per item. n = 32.

103
above average or greater in importance. One item (6) was
also rated 4 or higher by one-half of the managers. Nearly
one-third (31%) of the positioning strategies and tactics
were considered extremely important by the majority.
Additionally, two items (2 and 20) were scored extremely
important by 50% of the managers.
As a separate administrative group, the general
managers had high regard for the individual positioning
strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25). The
majority scored four of the six basic strategies as being of
extreme importance. The strategy and tactics involving
competition (items 8-12) generally received the lowest
ratings. Nearly one-third of all managers believed that it
is not important to "avoid direct competition with the
market leader" (item 12).
Frequency distribution of the general managers' scores
regarding current practice of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 10. A majority of the respondents
reported that 21 of the 29 positioning methods (72%) are
being practiced at their stations. The eight unused
procedures involved qualitative research (item 2), narrow
target audience (item 3), competition (items 8-11), long-
range goals (item 27), and sufficient advertising/promotion
budget (item 28). The managers were evenly divided on item
12, one-half practicing avoidance of direct competition with
their market leader, while the other half did not employ

Table 10
Frequency Distribution of General/Station
Managers' Scores: Survey Item by Usage Rating
Item
Practice
Yes
No
1.
30
(94%)
2
( 6%)
2.
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
3.
14
(44%)
18
(56%)
4.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
5.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
6.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
7.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
8.
13
(41%)
19
(59%)
9.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
10.
10
(31%)
22
(69%)
11.
13
(41%)
19
(59%)
12.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
13.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
14.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
15.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
16.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
17.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
18.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
19.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
20.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
21.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
22.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
23.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
24.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
25.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
26.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
27.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
28.
6
(19%)
26
(81%)
29.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
Note.
Numbers
in parentheses
are
percentages
of total responses per item.
n =
32.

105
this tactic. Although a total of 8 tactics were not
practiced by the majority, general managers did consider all
but one of the above mentioned to be rather important, as
evidenced by their scores of 3 or greater. The only tactic
deemed both unimportant and unutilized by the majority was
survey item 11, concerning exploitation of competitors'
weaknesses.
Measures of central tendency were analyzed in the same
format as those reported previously for the entire sample of
administrators. The 32 general managers' import scores for
the six strategies and their related tactics were added
together and mean scores computed. It was then possible to
rank order the condensed scores to see how the general
managers--as a distinct group--typically perceived the
importance of these positioning methods. When strategies
and accompanying tactics were averaged together, the
resulting mean scores for each overall strategy theme ranked
in importance as follows:
1
Consistency
--- 4.39
2
Commitment
--- 4.21
3
Market Niche
--- 3.83
4
Simplicity
-- 3.80
5
Audience Focus
--- 3.79
6
Competition Focus
-- 2.78
Frequency distribution of Program Directors' scores on
the degree of importance of the positioning techniques is

106
presented in Table 11. A majority of the respondents rated
25 of the 29 survey items (86%) at 3 or higher. One item
(9) was also rated average or better by 50% of the group.
More specifically, the program directors perceived 20 or the
29 positioning statements (69%) as being above average or
greater in importance. Two items (16 and 27) were also
rated 4 or higher by one-half of the directors.
Approximately one-seventh (14%) of the positioning
strategies and tactics were considered extremely important
by the majority. Additionally, one item (18) was scored
extremely important by 50% of the program directors.
As a separate administrative group, the program
directors had above average regard for the individual
positioning strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25).
The majority scored three of the six basic strategies as
being of extreme importance. The strategy and tactics
involving competition (items 8-12) generally received the
lowest ratings. Nearly one-quarter of all the program
directors believed that it is neither important to "direct
programming to a narrow target audience" (item 3) nor to
"focus on the competition" (item 8).
Frequency distribution of the program directors' scores
regarding current practice of the positioning techniques is
presented in Table 12. A majority of the respondents
reported that 21 of the 29 positioning methods (72%) are
being practiced at their stations. The eight unused

107
Table 11
Frequency Distribution of Program Directors'
Scores; Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree of Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
7
(22%)
22
(69%)
2.
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
4
(12%)
13
(41%)
11
(34%)
3.
7
(22%)
10
(31%)
6
(19%)
5
(16%)
4
(12%)
4.
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
13
(41%)
5.
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
5
(16%)
12
(38%)
13
(41%)
6.
3
( 9%)
11
(34%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
5
(16%)
7.
3
( 9%)
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
4
(12%)
7
(22%)
8.
7
(22%)
12
(38%)
7
(22%)
4
(12%)
2
( 6%)
9.
5
(16%)
11
(34%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
2
( 6%)
10.
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
3
( 9%)
9
(28%)
2
( 6%)
11.
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
3
( 9%)
10
(31%)
2
( 6%)
12.
4
(12%)
6
(19%)
8
(25%)
10
(31%)
4
(12%)
13.
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
21
(66%)
14.
4
(12%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
8
(25%)
5
(16%)
15.
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
10
(31%)
12
(38%)
16.
3
( 9%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
5
(16%)
17.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
2
( 6%)
10
(31%)
17
(53%)
18.
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
6
(19%)
16
(50%)
19.
1
( 3%)
2
( 6%)
4
(12%)
11
(34%)
14
(44%)
20.
1
( 3%)
4
(12%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
12
(38%)
21.
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
1
( 3%)
14
(44%)
11
(34%)
22.
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
4
(12%)
14
(44%)
10
(31%)
23.
1
( 3%)
2
( 6%)
4
(12%)
15
(47%)
10
(31%)
24.
3
( 9%)
8
(25%)
4
(12%)
9
(28%)
8
(25%)
25.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
13
(41%)
13
(41%)
26.
0
( 0%)
3
( 9%)
3
( 9%)
13
(41%)
13
(41%)
27.
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
10
(31%)
5
(16%)
11
(34%)
28.
4
(12%)
5
(16%)
5
(16%)
8
(25%)
10
(31%)
29.
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
24
(75%)
Note Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
responses per item. n = 32.

108
Table 12
Scores
: Survey
Item by Usage
Rating
Practice
Item
Yes
No
1.
30
(94%)
2
( 6%)
2.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
3.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
4.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
5.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
6.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
7.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
8.
10
(31%)
22
(69%)
9.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
10.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
11.
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
12.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
13.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
14.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
15.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
16.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
17.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
18.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
19.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
20.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
21.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
22.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
23.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
24.
17
(53%)
15
(47%)
25.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
26.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
27.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
28.
6
(19%)
26
(81%)
29.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
Note.
Numbers
in parentheses
are
percentages
of total responses per item. n = 32,

109
procedures involved qualitative research (item 2), narrow
target audience (item 3), competition (items 8-11), market
niches based on lifestyles (item 16), and sufficient
advertising/promotion budget (item 28). The programmers
were evenly divided on two items (12 and 27), one-half
practicing avoidance of direct competition with their market
leader and formulation of long-range goals, while the other
half did not employ either tactic. Although split on usage
of these two tactics, the majority thought they were
important, as evidence by scores of 3 or greater. Items 2,
16, and 28 were also believed to be important, but currently
unpracticed. Items 3, 8, 10, and 11 were deemed both
unimportant and unutilized by the majority. The programmers
were again divided on the import of evaluating competitors'
strengths (item 9), the majority not practicing this tactic,
but at least 50% believing it to be important.
Measures of central tendency were analyzed in the same
format as those reported previously for the entire sample of
administrators and for the general managers separately. The
32 program directors' import scores for the six strategies
and their related tactics were added together and mean
scores computed. It was then possible to rank order the
condensed scores to see how the program directors--as a
distinct group--typically perceived the importance of these
positioning methods. When strategies and accompanying
tactics were averaged together, the resulting mean scores

110
for each overall strategy theme ranked in importance as
follows:
1
Consistency
CM
o
'T
1
1
2
Commitment
-- 4.01
3
Simplicity
--- 3.74
4
Audience Focus
--- 3.67
5
Market Niche
--- 3.66
6
Competition Focus
-- 2.74
Frequency distribution of Development/Promotion
Directors' scores on the degree of importance of the
positioning techniques is presented in Table 13. A majority
of the respondents rated 28 of the 29 survey items (97%) at
3 or higher. More specifically, the development directors
perceived 22 of the 29 positioning statements (76%) as being
above average or greater in importance. One item (24) was
also rated 4 or higher by one-half of the directors. More
than one-third (38%) of the positioning strategies and
tactics were considered extremely important by the majority.
As a separate administrative group, the development
directors had very high regard for the individual
positioning strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25).
The majority scored five of the six basic strategies as
being of extreme importance. The strategy and tactics
involving competition (items 8-12) generally received the
lowest ratings. One-quarter of all development directors
believed that it is not important to "exploit weaknesses of
competing stations" (item 11).

Ill
Table 13
Frequency Distribution of Development/Promotion
Directors' Scores; Survey Item by Import Rating
Item
Degree
of Importance
1
2
3
4
5
1.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
2.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
16
(50%)
14
(44%)
3.
1
(
3%)
9
(28%)
14
(44%)
5
(16%)
3
( 9%)
4.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
18
(56%)
10
(31%)
5.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
2
( 6%)
19
(59%)
11
(34%)
6.
0
(
0%)
5
(16%)
9
(28%)
9
(28%)
9
(28%)
7.
0
(
0%)
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
6
(19%)
8
(25%)
8.
3
(
9%)
7
(22%)
7
(22%)
11
(34%)
4
(12%)
9.
1
(
3%)
6
(19%)
11
(34%)
10
(31%)
4
(12%)
10.
1
(
3%)
8
(25%)
8
(25%)
12
(38%)
3
( 9%)
11.
8
(25%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
9
(28%)
2
( 6%)
12.
6
(19%)
14
(44%)
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
8
(25%)
13.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
14.
2
(
6%)
5
(16%)
8
(25%)
8
(25%)
9
(28%)
15.
2
(
6%)
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
12
(38%)
14
(44%)
16.
1
(
3%)
2
( 6%)
8
(25%)
12
(38%)
9
(28%)
17.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
8
(25%)
24
(75%)
18.
0
(
0%)
2
( 6%)
0
( 0%)
10
(31%)
20
(62%)
19.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
0
( 0%)
7
(22%)
24
(75%)
20.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
1
( 3%)
12
(38%)
18
(56%)
21.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
3
( 9%)
9
(28%)
19
(59%)
22.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
4
(12%)
11
(34%)
17
(53%)
23.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
13
(41%)
13
(41%)
24.
3
(
9%)
6
(19%)
7
(22%)
6
(19%)
10
(31%)
25.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
1
( 3%)
12
(38%)
19
(59%)
26.
0
(
0%)
1
( 3%)
5
(16%)
16
(50%)
10
(31%)
27.
2
(
6%)
2
( 6%)
5
(16%)
11
(34%)
12
(38%)
28.
1
(
3%)
0
( 0%)
5
(16%)
7
(22%)
19
(59%)
29.
0
(
0%)
0
( 0%)
0
( 0%)
6
(19%)
26
(81%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages of total
reponses per item. n = 32.

112
Frequency distribution of the development directors'
scores regarding current practice of the positioning
techniques is presented in Table 14. A majority of the
respondents reported that 24 of the 29 positioning methods
(83%) are being practiced at their stations. The five
unused procedures involved narrow target audience (item 3),
competition (items 8, 11, 12), and sufficient advertising/
promotion budget (item 28). The directors were equally
divided on item 16, one-half creating market niches based on
audience lifestyles, while the other half did not employ
this tactic. Although a total of 5 tactics were not
practiced, the directors did consider all but one of the
above mentioned to be rather important, as evidenced by
their scores of 3 or greater. The only tactic deemed both
unimportant and unutilized by the majority was survey item
12, concerning the avoidance of direct competition with a
market leader.
Measures of central tendency were analyzed in the same
format as those reported previously for the entire sample of
administrators, as well as for the general managers and
program directors separately. The 32 development directors'
import scores for the six strategies and their related
tactics were added together and mean scores computed. It
was then possible to rank order the condensed scores to see
how the development directors--as a distinct group--
typically perceived the importance of these positioning

Table 14
Directors'
Scores:
Survey Item
by Usage
Rating
Practice
Item
Yes
No
1.
32
(100%)
0
( 0%)
2.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
3.
14
(44%)
18
(56%)
4.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
5.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
6.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
7.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
8.
14
(44%)
18
(56%)
9.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
10.
17
(53%)
15
(47%)
11.
10
(31%)
22
(69%)
12.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
13.
29
(91%)
3
( 9%)
14.
23
(72%)
9
(28%)
15.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
16.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
17.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
18.
22
(69%)
10
(31%)
19.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
20.
22
(69%)
10
(31%)
21.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
22.
31
(97%)
1
( 3%)
23.
31
(97%)
1
( 3%)
24.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
25.
31
(97%)
1
( 3%)
26.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
27.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
28.
9
(28%)
23
(72%)
29.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages
of total responses per item. n = 32.

methods. When strategies and accompanying tactics were
averaged together, the resulting mean scores for each
overall strategy theme ranked in importance as follows:
114
1
Consistency
--- 4.57
2
Commitment
i
i
OJ
3
Market Niche
--- 4.02
4
Simplicity
4.01
5
Audience Focus
--- 3.95
6
Competition Focus
-- 3.05
In sum, the university-license public radio station
administrators, as a whole group, were favorably inclined
toward the positioning techniques in terms of both perceived
import and usage. When examined separately according to the
three administrative classifications, the data revealed
Development/Promotion Directors as the group most positive
about the positioning strategies and tactics. Their
responses resembled those of General/Station Managers,
although the managers were somewhat more restrained in their
acclamations. Program Directors were the least generous in
their overall scoring when compared with the other two
groups.
The three groups of administrators differed in the rank
order of their condensed strategy theme scores. All did
rank Consistency first, Commitment second, and Competition
Focus last. However, programmers had stronger regard for
Simplicity and Audience Focus than either managers or
development people.

115
Test of Hypothesis Two
ho2: 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.
One-way analysis of variance was employed to determine
if there was a statistically significant difference in
import scores between the administrative groups. The 29
survey items scored on the five-point import scale were
divided first according to responses from the three types of
administrators. The measures from each group were then
condensed into six means by averaging together the
strategies and their respective tactics. Analysis of
variance was subsequently performed on these grouped import
means, arranged thematically by strategy.
As presented in Table 15, the F-score and probability
for only one of the six strategy themes was statistically
significant at the .05 alpha level. Respondents classified
as program directors and development directors differed
significantly in their import ratings of the consistency
strategy and its accompanying tactics. There were no
statistically significant differences among the other five
mean scores between the administrative groups.
Based on data obtained from the one-way analysis of
variance test, there was insufficient evidence to support
the rejection of null Hypothesis Two and it was retained.
However, in light of the one significantly different factor

116
Table 15
One-Way Analysis of Variance:
Administrative Group by Mean Import Scores
Group
Strategy 1 (Audience Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
26.59
.79
25.72
.80
27.66
.50
F = 1.86; P = 0.16, not significant at P<.05.
Group
Strategy 2 (Competition Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
13.91
.92
13.72
.78
15.25
. 66
F = 1.12; P = 0.33, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 3 (Market Niche)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
15.31
.76
14.62
.52
16.06
.48
F = 1.45; P = 0.24, not significant at PC.05.

117
Table 15--continued
Group
Strategy 4 (Consistency)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
21.97
ab
.74
Program Directors
20.12
a
.84
Development Directors
22.84
b
.48
F = 3.88; P = 0.02*; means
significantly different at
followed
PC.05.
by same
letter
Group
Strategy 5 (Simplicity)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
11.41
.55
11.22
.53
12.03
.42
F = 0.71; P = 0.49, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 6 (Commitment)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
22.06
.74
20.09
.65
21.72
.43
F = 1.73; P = 0.18, not significant at PC.05.

118
noted above, these findings should be regarded as
inconclusive.
Test of Hypothesis Three
ho3: 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.
One-way analysis of variance was employed to determine
if there was a statistically significant difference in
usage scores between the administrative groups. The 29
survey items score on the dichotomous practice scale were
divided first according to the three types of
administrators. The measures from each group were then
condensed into six mean scores by averaging together the
strategies and their respective tactics. Analysis of
variance was subsequently performed on these grouped usage
means, arranged thematically by strategy.
As presented in Table 16, the F-scores and
probabilities for the six strategy themes were statistically
nonsignificant at the .05 alpha level. No significant
differences in the variance of the mean score ratings were
demonstrated among the three administrative groups.
Based on data obtained from the one-way analysis of
variance test, there was insufficient evidence to support
the rejection of null Hypothesis Three and it was retained.
However, these results should be regarded as inconclusive.
While statistically significant differences were not proven

119
Table 16
One-Way Analysis of Variance:
Administrative Group by Mean Usage Scores
Group
Strategy 1 (Audience Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
4.75
.31
Program Directors
4.47
.29
Development Directors
4.97
.28
F = 0.73; P = 0.48, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 2 (Competition Focus)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
1.97
.30
1.88
.29
2.31
.26
F = 0.66; P = 0.52, not significant at PC.05.
Group
Strategy 3 (Market Niche)
Mean Standard Error
General Managers
Program Directors
Development Directors
2.84
.20
2.75
.17
3.00
.18
F 0.46; P = 0.63, not significant at PC.05.

120
Table 16--continued
Strategy 4 (Consistency)
Group
Mean
Standard Error
General Managers
3.69
.31
Program Directors
3.53
.31
Development Directors
3.88
.26
F = 0.34; P = 0.71; not significant at P<.05.
Strategy 5 (Simplicity)
Group
Mean
Standard Error
General Managers
2.31
.17
Program Directors
2.06
.21
Development Directors
2.53
.10
F = 2.03; P = 0.14, not significant at PC.05.
Strategy 6 (Commitment)
Group Mean Standard Error
General Managers 3.19 .24
Program Directors 3.09 .23
Development Directors 3.56 .18
F = 1.33; P = 0.27, not significant at PC.05.

121
by this particular experiment, it is possible that further
investigation may yield more definitive results.
Test of Hypothesis Four
HO4. There is no relationship between the degree of
importance assigned to and use of the positioning
strategies and tactics by the three administrative
groups.
Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were
computed to determine if there was a statistically
significant relationship between the administrators' import
and usage scores. The six mean scores arranged thematically
by group, as used in Hypotheses Two and Three, were also
applied in the test of this hypothesis. Pearson r values
were calculated and examined for each of the three
administrative groups.
As displayed in Table 17, fifteen of the 18 correlation
coefficients were statistically significant at the .05 alpha
level. In fact, thirteen of the 18 were statistically
significant at the more conservative .01 alpha level,
implying an increasingly remote probability of the results
being due only to chance and not from any real relationships
found in the data.
All of the Pearson r values were statistically
significant for the general managers and program directors.
Development directors scores realized three nonsignificant
coefficients. Those measures not proven to be statistically
significant involved strategies pertaining to Audience
Focus, Consistency, and Commitment.

122
Table 17
Correlations of Import and Usage Scores;
Positioning Strategy by Administrative Group
General
Managers
Program
Directors
Development
Directors
Strategy
r
P
r
P
r
P
1 Audience
.678
.000*
.585
.000*
.119
.515
2 Competition
.790
.000*
.637
.000*
.568
.001*
3 Market Niche
.899
.000*
.610
.000*
.562
.001*
4 Consistency
.405
.022*
.722
.000*
.137
.453
5 Simplicity
.749
.000*
.745
.000*
.418
.017*
6 Commitment
.534
.002*
.472
.006*
.146
.426
* indicates significant at PC.05, two-tailed.

123
Inspection of the size of the coefficients also
suggested moderately high association between the import and
usage scores, the majority falling within the .51 to .75
range. According to guidelines set forth by Champion
(1981), the strength of such correlations are generally
recognized as good in social and behavioral science
research. Coefficients of correlation from the general
managers group were the strongest and from the development
directors group the weakest.
Based on the data obtained from the Pearson correlation
coefficients, there was sufficient evidence to support the
rejection of null Hypothesis Four.
Research Question Three
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?
The telephone survey instrument administered to the 96
university-licensed public radio station administrators
supplied the positioning usage data required to answer the
third research question. In this instance, individual
responses to survey items observed on the dichotomous
practice scale were grouped according to institutional/
station affiliation, rather than administrative
classification. Every person's responses to the 29 items
were summed in each strategy category to form six usage

124
measures. Positioning usage by administrators of each
public radio station--as a separate unit of analysis--was
determined by calculating the average sum for each of their
six scores. The following provides a brief description of
these units of analysis.
The 96 administrators represented 45 public radio
stations housed on college campuses located in 21 states
throughout the United States. As identified by call letters
beginning with "W", 20 stations (44%) were situated in
states east of the Mississippi River, and 25 stations (56%)
having call letters starting with "K" were in states west of
this standard FCC dividing line. Thirty-seven of the 45
stations (82%) were affiliated with public four-year state
universities, and the remaining eight (18%) were licensed to
public two-year community colleges. Both types of
institutions are referred to as "university" licensees.
The practice of positioning within the 45 organizations
was discovered to be widespread. Overall, administrators
declared employing an average of 18.58 of the 29 strategies
and tactics (64%) presented on the survey instrument. When
the strategies and their related tactics were summed, the
six mean scores of the administrators could be examined
according to thematic utilization. The figures listed below
are averages of the total number of positioning methods
reportedly used, followed in parenthesis by the total number
possible on the survey.

125
1 Audience Focus 4.60 (7)
2 Competition Focus -- 2.00 (5)
3 Market Niche 2.82 (4)
4 Consistency 3.67 (5)
5 Simplicity 2.31 (3)
6 Commitment 3.18 (5)
Cumulative audience ratings were available for 36 of
the 45 stations represented in the study. The other nine
stations were based in small markets where professional
audience rating surveys by Arbitron, Inc. were not
conducted. The largest cumulative audience rating
registered for these 36 stations was 15.3, the smallest was
0.5, and the mean was 5.8. This can be interpreted
generally as meaning that each week during the measurement
period (Spring 1988), the typical university-licensed public
radio station in the sample was reaching approximately 5.8%
of its potential listening audience.
Contributing membership size was reported by the
administrators for 44 of the 45 stations represented in the
research. Membership figures were then transformed into
percentages of listening population within the Total Survey
Area (TSA), based on Arbitron market data listed in the
Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook (1988) and processed by
the Radio Research Consortium, Inc. Market populations
served by the stations ranged from 3.5 million people to
less than 100,000 individuals, age 12 and older. Knowledge

126
the cumulative audience ratings and population size was
requisite in order to calculate membership percentages for
meaningful comparisons. Therefore, only the 36 stations
which were located in markets rated by Arbitron could be
included in the statistical analysis involving membership
size. The management of one station indicated that their
university licensee prohibited fundraising, so they had no
contributing members, reducing this particular sample to 35.
The largest percentage of membership calculated for the
35 stations was 27.8%, the smallest was 4.4%, and the mean
was 10.2%. Basically, this can be interpreted as meaning
that the typical university-licensed public radio station in
the sample succeeded in converting approximately 10.2% of
its listening audience into contributors, actualized by
membership.
Percentage of budget allocated for advertising and
promotional activities was reported by the administrators
for 44 of the 45 stations represented in the study. The
largest budget percentage revealed was 13%, the smallest was
zero, and the mean was 2.7%. Participants from one-quarter
of the organizations indicated that they had no financial
budget at all for advertising/promotion.
Research Question Three was addressed further by the
statistical testing of Hypotheses Five, Six, and Seven.

127
Test of Hypothesis Five
ho5: There is no relationship between cumulative
audience ratings and the use of positioning in
selected university-licensed public radio
stations.
Multiple regression analysis was applied to determine
if there was a statistically significant relationship
between cumulative audience ratings of 36 university-
licensed public radio stations in the research sample and
utilization of positioning techniques by the administrators
of those stations. In the test of this hypothesis,
cumulative audience rating was the dependent variable
(labeled Y) and the six positioning usage measures were the
independent variables (labeled X's)--Audience Focus,
Competition Focus, Market Niche, Consistency, Simplicity,
and Commitment. The statistical formula tested was
expressed as
Y = 30 + 3lxl + P2X2 + 33x3 + 34x4 + 35x5 + 36x6
The purpose of the multivariate regression was to find
out if station ratings might be predicted from knowledge of
the extent of positioning usage by administrators, and to
draw inferences about the population values based on the
sample results.
Three different computer procedures were employed to
construct the regression model--forward entry, stepwise
selection, and force entry. In the forward method, the
independent variables were entered into the equation one at
a time, the first having the largest correlation with the

128
dependent variable. The F-test was then calculated for the
hypothesis that the coefficient of the entered variable was
zero. Variables were added to the equation as they met
established criteria involving the F-statistic, which
demanded a minimum F-value of 3.84 and associated
probability of .05. In this case, the first variable
selected for entry did not meet the criteria for inclusion.
Therefore, the procedure was terminated with no variables in
the equation.
Stepwise selection combined the entry requirements of
the forward procedures with additional criteria for
sequential removal of variables from the equation.
Independent variables were entered separately into the
formula, then examined for a minimum F-value of 2.71 and
maximum associated probability of .10 to meet in order to
remain in the model. As variables were eliminated at each
step, the equation was recomputed until no more independent
variables could be removed and no more were eligible for
entry. Limits were reached on the initial entry, so the
process was terminated with no variables in the equation.
The forced entry method generated the only noteworthy
output from the regression analysis. In this procedure, all
independent variables were entered in a single step in order
of decreasing tolerance. Tolerance is defined as the
proportion of the variance of a variable in the equation
that is not accounted for by the other independent variables
(Norusis, 1986) .

129
Table 18 displays the positioning strategy variables
in order of decreasing tolerance, their respective
nonstandardized regression coefficients (B-values),
individual beta weights or standardized regression
coefficients ((3-values), plus other equation statistics
produced by forced entry of all variables in the equation.
The overall model was not statistically significant at the
.05 alpha level, as revealed by the squared multiple
regression coefficient of .19. Examination of the six
positioning variables suggested that practice of Competition
Focus and Market Niche strategies and accompanying tactics
may contribute most to prediction of cumulative audience
ratings, while use of Audience Focus may contribute the
least. However, none of the six individual usage scores
were statistically significant when tested in this manner.
Follow-up analysis was performed with assistance of
the Pearson correlation statistical test. The six
positioning usage measures were combined to form one total
use score per unit for the 36 cases, and use was correlated
with the cumulative audience ratings figures. A correlation
coefficient of .17 was achieved and associated probability
of .16, which was not statistically significant at the .05
alpha level. The small coefficient does not necessarily
indicate lack of association between positioning practice
and ratings. Instead, it means that a linear relationship
between the two variables is questionable. The Pearson r

130
Table 18
Prediction of Cumulative Audience Ratings
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics
Strategy
B
Beta
6 Commitment
.44
.15
1 Audience Focus
-.02
.00
5 Simplicity
.16
.04
3 Market Niche
-1.34
-.38
2 Competition Focus
.89
.39
4 Consistency
.04
.02
Intercept = 58.86,
Multiple R = .43, R Square =
Adjusted R Square = .02,
19,
F = 1.12, Significance of F =
not significant at PC.05.
.38,

131
served to supplement and confirm the findings of the
multiple regression model.
Based on data obtained from the multiple regression
analysis and Pearson r follow-up test, there was
insufficient evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis Five and it was retained. However, these results
should be regarded as inconclusive, since there is a
possibility that the statistical nonsignificance observed in
this case could be reversed in subsequent testing.
Test of Hypothesis Six
ho6: There is no relationship between contributing
membership size and use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
Multiple regression analysis was applied to determine
if there was a statistically significant relationship
between contributing membership size of 35 university-
licensed public radio stations in the research sample and
utilization of positioning techniques by administrators of
those stations. In the test of this hypothesis, membership
was the dependent variable and the six positioning usage
measures of the administrators were the independent
variables.
The three computer procedures described previously in
the test of Hypothesis Five were employed again to build the
regression equations for Hypothesis Six. Similarly, the
forward entry and stepwise selection methods both failed to

132
produce a regression model with the variables under
consideration.
The force entry procedure did succeed in generating the
regression statistics displayed in Table 19. The six
separate positioning variables, listed in order of
decreasing tolerance, and the overall model were not
statistically significant at the .05 alpha level.
Follow-up analysis was performed with the Pearson
correlation statistical test in the same manner as
explained in the previous hypothesis. A negative
correlation coefficient of -.08 was achieved and associated
probability of .31, which was not statistically significant
at the .05 alpha level. Again, the Pearson r provided
additional information and corroborated the findings of the
multiple regression model.
Based on data obtained from the multiple regression
analysis and Pearson r follow-up test, there was
insufficient evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis Six and it was retained. However, these results
should be regarded as inconclusive. Further observations
and testing may contradict the evidence presented in this
specific demonstration.

133
Table 19
Prediction of Membership Size
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics
Strategy
B
Beta
6 Commitment
.41
.08
1 Audience Focus
.97
.22
5 Simplicity
.96
.14
3 Market Niche
-1.02
-.17
2 Competition Focus
-.69
-.17
4 Consistency
-.28
oo
o

1
Intercept = 73.23,
Multiple R = .29, R Square =
Adjusted R Square = -.10,
.09,
F = 0.49, Significance of F =
not significant at PC.05.
.82,

134
Test of Hypothesis Seven
H7: 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.
Multiple regression analysis was applied to determine
if there was a statistically significant relationship
between advertising/promotional budget allocations of 44
university-licensed public radio stations in the research
sample and utilization of positioning techniques by
administrators of those stations. In this particular test,
advertising budget was the dependent variable and the six
strategy measures of the administrators were the independent
variables.
The same three computer procedures detailed previously
in Hypothesis Five and Six were employed in the construction
of multiple regression models to test the present
hypothesis. The stepwise selection method generated a
statistically significant equation containing only one of
the six independent variables. The Commitment variable was
entered on the first step and passed all requirements for
admittance to and retention in the formula. The Commitment
scores produced data such as a .935 regression coefficient
and .291 beta, a multiple R of .291, an R squared of .085
and adjusted R squared of .064, an F-value of 4.18 and
associated probability of .05, which was statistically
significant at that chosen critical level. The five other

135
positioning variables were not included in the equation.
The result was the following succinct but meaningful
expression:
Y = -.298 + .935 x Strategy 6 measures.
The forced entry method also built a multiple
regression model with the figures presented in Table 20, but
it was not statistically significant overall at the .05
alpha level. Displayed in order of decreasing tolerance,
the six individual positioning variables' beta weights
pointed again to Commitment as making the largest
contribution. Usage of the Consistency strategy and related
tactics apparently contributed the least to prediction of
advertising/promotional budget allocations.
Follow-up analysis was performed with the Pearson
correlation statistical test in the same format outlined in
the two previous hypotheses. A correlation coefficient of
.22 was achieved and associated probability of .07, which
was not statistically significant at the .05 level. The
Pearson r served to augment and substantiate the multiple
regression models.
Based on data obtained from the multiple regression
analysis and Pearson r follow-up test, there was
insufficient evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis Seven and it was retained. However, these
results should be regarded as inconclusive, particularly in
light of the individual significance attached to one of the

Table 20
Prediction of Advertising/Promotion Budget
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics
Strategy
B
Beta
6 Commitment
1.49
.46
1 Audience Focus
.76
.35
5 Simplicity
.52
.13
3 Market Niche
.09
.02
2 Competition Focus
1
o
vo
-.04
4 Consistency
-.71
-.34
Intercept = 2.99,
Multiple R = .48, R Square =
Adjusted R Square = .12,
.23,
F = 2.04, Significance of F =
not significant at PC.05.

o
00

137
six positioning variables. Later experiments may challenge
the currently available evidence offered herein.
Summary
Chapter IV has contained a presentation of the data
which resulted from implementation of two survey instruments
and from collection of other pertinent information in order
to answer systematically three research questions and seven
associated hypotheses. Descriptive replies to the inquiries
and statistical hypothesis testing were provided to explore
the utility of Ries and Trout's market positioning theory to
those in university management responsible for campus-based
public radio stations.
The descriptive analyses contained narratives about the
verification process of the theoretically-derived
positioning strategies and tactics by expert opinion, plus
the nature of the administrative sample and their
representative units drawn for the study.
Hypothesis testing involved the use of two
nonparametric statistical procedures: the chi-square test
of independence and Cramer's V correlation coefficient.
Three parametric statistical processes were employed as
well: one-way analysis of variance, Pearson produce-moment
correlation coefficient, and multiple regression analysis.
Some significant relationships were demonstrated
between perceived importance and practice of the market
positioning techniques by experts and administrators. Some

138
differences were observed between types of administrators in
terms of their import and usage ratings. Linear
associations between positioning use and cumulative audience
ratings, station membership, and advertising/promotional
budget allocations were not definitively proven by this
particular set of data assembled for study.
Interpretation and summary of the results are presented
in Chapter V.

CHAPTER V
SUMMARY, INTERPRETATION, DISCUSSION
IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Introduction
The intent of this chapter is to provide 1) a brief
recapitulation of the study by summarizing the research
problem, rationale, methods, and findings; 2) interpretation
of results, followed sequentially by conclusions in
connection with the research questions and accompanying
hypotheses; 3) a discussion of research findings in
relation to the utility of market positioning theory;
4) implications of the study; and 5) recommendations for
additional research endeavors.
Summary of the Research Study
The Research Problem
The purpose of the research 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
139

140
rated initially by a panel of experts in public broadcasting
management and only those deemed important for use in public
radio were retained for further examination in the
collegiate setting. The following questions were of
particular concern:
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 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?
In the course of the study, the following seven
hypotheses stemming from the three research questions were
tested as well:
H01* 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.
ho2. There is no difference between university station
administrators classified as general managers, program
directors, and development directors with regard to degree

141
of importance assigned to the positioning strategies and
tactics.
HO3. 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.
ho4. There is no relationship between the degree of
importance assigned to and use of the positioning strategies
and tactics by the three administrative groups.
ho5. There is no relationship between cumulative
audience ratings and the use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
HOg. There is no relationship between contributing
membership size and the use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
HO7. 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.
The Research Rationale
The need for the research study was justified on the
basis of the following six points: 1) the need to assuage
the historical rift between educators and broadcasters;
2) a deficiency of radio research; 3) past neglect of
educational broadcasting; 4) lingering confusion regarding
the purpose and identity of public radio; 5) the increasing

142
significance of market positioning to nonprofit
organizations, particularly higher education; and 6) the
lack of market positioning research applicable to higher
education and broadcasting.
The Research Method
Procedures for conducting the research study involved
related literature review, development of two survey
instruments, pilot testing, data collection from experts,
administrators, and documents, data analysis, and
presentation of the results.
One research instrument took the form of a written
questionnaire constructed from operationalized market
positioning principles theorized by Ries and Trout. A panel
of experts comprised of 14 members of the Board of Directors
of National Public Radio and American Public Radio judged
the positioning methods with respect to their theoretical
feasibility in the administration of public radio stations.
Those positioning strategies and tactics that were validated
by the expert panel majority were included in a second
research instrument designed to be a telephone survey. A
pilot test was conducted with public radio administrators
from six university-licensed stations to determine the
appropriateness of the instrument and the testing plan for
subsequent implementation within the collegiate environment.
A major portion of the research study consisted of
telephone survey interviews with 96 administrators

143
representing 45 university-licensed CPB-qualified,
Class C public radio stations across the nation. General/
Station Managers, Program Directors, and Development/
Promotion Directors responded in terms of perceived
importance and practical usage of the theoretically-derived,
expert-verified positioning techniques.
Additional data were compiled in the form of cumulative
audience ratings, contributing membership size, and
advertising/promotion budget allocations of the 45 campus-
based public radio stations represented in the research
study.
Statistical analyses of the quantitative data were
performed by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
program using five basic procedures. Relationships between
the experts' import and usage ratings were computed through
use of chi-squares and Cramer's V correlation coefficients.
Differences among administrative group scores were computed
by analysis of variance. Relationships between
administrators' import and usage ratings were computed by
Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients.
Relationships between administrators' positioning practice
and station audience ratings, membership size, and
advertising budget were analyzed by multiple regression.

144
The Research Findings
Some statistically significant relationships between
perceived importance and practice of market positioning were
determined from both the experts' and administrators' data
sets. Some significant differences were observed among
administrative groups in regard to import ratings, but not
in usage scores. Statistically significant relationships
between cumulative audience ratings, contributing membership
size, advertising/promotion budget allocations, and
positioning use by administrators, were not proven
conclusively.
Interpretation of Results
Experts' Perceptions of Positioning
According to results reported in Chapter IV, experts in
public broadcasting management made a very positive
assessment of market positioning theory, as evidenced by
their overwhelming 91% validation of the theoretically-
derived positioning strategies and tactics which comprised
the written survey instrument (See Appendix D, Tables 2, 4,
5). The panel declined to verify the importance of
comparative advertising, market leader associations, and
oversimplification of communication. However, the experts
indicated a high degree of receptivity toward all other
positioning methods presented to them for consideration in
public radio, including the strategy and related tactics
with the most obvious competitive connotations.

145
The judges were also optimistic about the extent of
positioning usage in public radio stations, designating
three-quarters of the strategies and tactics as currently
being practiced (See Tables 3, 5). The majority of
positioning procedures thought to be unutilized were deemed
important nonetheless and should be implemented.
Conclusions Regarding Research Question One
and Hypothesis One
Public broadcasting experts believe that market
positioning has value and that it actually is being
exercised in public radio today. While statistically
significant relationships between perceived import and use
were determined for only a few of the itemized positioning
methods, examination of the correlation coefficients
confirmed most to have moderately high associations (See
Table 6). The statistical insignificance was explained by
experts who judged many strategies and tactics as important,
but then neglected to offer any opinion as to their usage.
Administrators' Perceptions of Positioning
As a whole group, the 96 administrators of university-
licensed public radio stations tendered a favorable
evaluation of market positioning theory, as portrayed by
their strong ratings on the telephone survey instrument
containing the theoretically-derived, expert-verified
strategies and tactics (See Appendix G, Table 7).
Consistency was the most important operationalized principle

146
from their vantage point, while the notion of competition
was the least palatable, although worthy of some focused
attention.
In terms of implementation, the administrative majority
generally declared nearly three-quarters of the positioning
techniques in service at their institutions (See Table 8).
But the expert panel held the impression that more
positioning strategies and tactics were being used in public
radio than practitioners in this sample were willing to
affirm. For instance, qualitative research endeavors,
narrow target audience aims, and all of the competition-
related procedures failed to receive majority usage by
administrators in reality, despite experts' assertions about
their alleged practice.
Examination of data results by administrative group
classification pointed first to Development/Promotion
Directors as the most supportive of positioning, in
reference to both perceived import and use, followed closely
by General/Station Managers, then Program Directors (See
Tables 9-16).
Conclusions Regarding Research Question Two
and Hypotheses Two, Three, Four
Administrators of college-based public radio stations
generally approve of market positioning in theory and, to a
large extent, actualize their endorsements by utilizing the
strategies and tactics. Statistically significant

147
differences were determined to exist between development
and programming people concerning import perceptions of the
overall Consistency theme, and the latter group more
reserved in their advocacy than the preceding group.
Differences between administrative groups in regard to
positioning practice were so small as to be statistically
negligible. Relationships between perceived import and use
of positioning were also demonstrated in the many
statistically significant correlations obtained for all
groups (See Table 17). Low correlation coefficients
exhibited in half of the Development/Promotion Directors
scores were explained by this group's high esteem for
positioning coupled with hampered efforts to actually carry
out some of the methods they so admire.
Relationships Between Ratings, Membership,
Advertising Budget, and Positioning Usage
Based on knowledge of the extent of market positioning
usage by administrators of university-licensed public radio
stations, might any informed estimations be made concerning
their stations' cumulative audience ratings, contributing
membership size, or percent of financial budget allocated
for advertising/promotional activities? If the relationship
between positioning use scores and these individual
criterion variables had been high, one would be able to use
a regression line to predict ratings, membership, and budget
allocations in future samples where such measures are

148
unknown. Linear regression analysis attempted to find a
straight line through the set of data that best fit that
particular data. The regression equation assumed that the
Y-variable increased proportionably as the X-variables
increased.
In the investigation involving cumulative audience
ratings, it can be seen in Table 18 that there was a low
relationship between positioning use and ratings. If the
adjusted R squared (.02) could be considered an estimate of
the population correlation, positioning practice by station
administrators accounted for two percent of the variance in
station audience ratings.
The data displayed in Table 19 can be interpreted as
meaning there was a small negative relationship between
positioning use and membership. If the adjusted R squared
(-.10) could be considered an estimate of the population
correlation, positioning practice by station administrators
accounted for none of the variance in station membership
size.
Table 20 exhibits another low relationship between
positioning use and advertising budget, with an adjusted R
squared computed to be .12. Positioning practice by station
administrators accounted for 12%, or more than one-fifth, of
the variance in station budget allocations for advertising
and promotional activities. Commitment was the best
predictor, and when analyzed for its contribution alone, was

149
found to be statistically significant. However, when
combined with the other positioning scores in a regression
equation, the effect of Commitment practice was less
striking.
Conclusions Regarding Research Question Three
and Hypotheses Five, Six, Seven
There appears to be some association between cumulative
audience ratings and positioning use, in view of the fact
that the coefficients of determination--R squared and
adjusted R squared--were shown to be greater than zero.
Nevertheless, the relationship was not statistically
significant overall and more than 98% of the variance in
ratings is still unaccounted for. There also seems to be
some negative association between contributing membership
size and positioning usage, yet the relationship was again
statistically nonsignificant, leaving all of the observed
variability in the data unexplained. Association does seem
to exist between advertising budget allocations and
positioning use, particularly practice of the Commitment
strategy and tactics, which proved to be statistically
significant.
The multiple regression equations were fitted to the
peculiarities of the data from which they were computed and
therefore, their predictive accuracy reflects this chosen
research sample.

150
Discussion
The findings of the data analysis in which a panel of
experts in public broadcasting management ratified the
theoretically-derived strategies and tactics served to
support Ries and Trout's contention that market positioning
has potential for application in any human activity that
requires mass communication. Furthermore, the fact that the
positioning techniques received practitioner affirmation and
were evidently employed to such an extent in college-based
broadcasting operations, additionally confirms the
interdisciplinary nature and transferability of the
operationalized principles which comprise the positioning
theory.
Many of the administrators who participated in the
telephone survey interviews indicated rather recent
attention to positioning in terms of having just begun to
formulate positioning plans and goals for their stations.
Hence the difficulty some individuals had responding
accurately on the dichotomous practice scale, increasing the
likelihood of distortion to the usage score results. Since
many administrators were in various stages of
implementation, the full impact of positioning may not be
recognized at present. Therefore, the precise utility of
market positioning theory to university management
responsible for public radio stations has yet to be
established absolutely. This initial research effort to

151
investigate its usefulness should be regarded as exploratory
in nature rather than terminal. As time proceeds and more
evidence accumulates, tentative conclusions regarding
positioning as reported herein will become more certain.
No previous research precedents on this topic were
available to dictate the methodological decisions made by
the researcher. While the standard .05 probability level
was chosen for hypothesis testing, as is generally accepted
for research in education, interpretation of the results
would have been altered significantly had a higher level
been selected. Roscoe (1975) has held that it is
permissible to test hypotheses at the .10 or even .20 alpha
level when one is working with new ideas, the loss of which
could be crucial if Type II error occurs in the research and
a false hypothesis is retained.
In regard to the multiple regression analysis conducted
in the test of Hypotheses 5-7, the lurking question remains
as to what other factors may have greater influence upon
cumulative audience ratings, contributing membership size,
and advertising/promotion budget allocations, since
positioning usage was found to have had such low predictive
value. Perhaps type of programming format, market size,
degree of station identification with the university
licensee, and audience demographics/psychographics may
contribute to more exact estimation of these criterion
variables.

152
Two unanticipated and disturbing inconsistencies were
uncovered in the course of the telephone survey interviews
with the administrative groups. First, station managers,
program and development directors who worked together often
provided contradictory testimony regarding usage of the
positioning techniques at their stations. Whereas it was
expected that these three types of administrators would not
all hold the same opinions in reference to import of the
strategies and tactics, incongruency in reported practice
within the administrative units was not expected.
The second inconsistency dealt with revelation of a
philosophy that apparently is still entrenched in the
mentality of many who hold the responsibility to administer
public radio. It is characterized by a passive attitude
that assumes audiences will take the initiative to seek out
certain stations on the radio dial without any additional
incentives or efforts on the part of station management.
In other words, "Let them find us" is the operating
principle, bordering on outright indifference toward the
audience. Such a philosophy is totally inconsistent with
public radio's service mission as outlined by the Carnegie
Commission in 1979, as well as with the practice of sound
positioning strategy. Ultimately, insensitivity to
listeners will also prove to be detrimental to the CPB's
ambitious goal of doubling the size of the public radio
audience by 1991.

153
Implications
On the basis of the market positioning research
conducted with public broadcasting experts and
administrators of university-licensed public radio stations,
there are implications that can be stated.
1. Academic leaders should require three-year market
positioning plans from administrators of campus-based public
radio stations, plus follow-up evaluations to ensure that
the goals are being met.
2. Market positioning applications should be
investigated as having potential to enhance other university
service functions.
3. Station administrators indicated repeatedly a
qualitative research deficiency due to the prohibitive
expense of conducting such studies. Research capabilities
inherent to universities might be tapped for this purpose,
with assistance from advertising/marketing classes and
graduate student projects of mutual benefit.
4. Station administrators should recognize the need
for inter-office communication to demonstrate a more uniform
positioning agenda, including unified means and methods of
approaching the positioning goals.
5. The "hide-and-seek" philosophy should be expunged
if audience needs are to be served effectively by
university-license public radio stations.

154
6. Administrators of university-licensed public radio
stations located in markets where audience ratings are not
conducted might examine alternatives to find out how they
rank, such as proposing university-facilitated research
studies. Administrators of stations in ranked markets which
do not receive the audience data should make an effort to
subscribe in order to learn how well they are serving
potential audiences.
Recommendations for Further Research
Based on the results of this study, need for further
research is indicated in the following areas.
1. A study should be conducted utilizing the developed
research instruments in applications testing a wider range
of groups within educational institutions, as well as
including management of different classes of campus-based
broadcasting facilities.
2. A study should be conducted to determine what other
predictor variables are associated with cumulative audience
ratings, contributing membership size, advertising and
promotion budget allocations.
3. A study should be conducted to determine the
influence of institutional image upon market positioning of
university-license public radio stations.
4. A study should be conducted to determine the
correlation between positioning usage by station
administrators and audience time spent listening data.

155
5. A study should be conducted to determine if
positioning usage by station administrators might be
correlated differently with audience data produced by Birch
Radio, Inc. instead of that used from Arbitron, Inc.
6. This study should be replicated controlling for
market size.
7. This study should be replicated in 1991 to
determine the market positioning progress of university-
licensed public radio stations.
8. This study should be replicated after 1999 to
determine if a decade of market positioning practice has
altered the mission and identity of university-licensed
public radio stations.

APPENDIX A
SUMMARY OF POSITIONING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
1. Appeal to psychology of listeners; communicate how
station satisfies needs and desires. (Reymer & Gersin,
1983; Steinberg, 1986)
2. Select audience segment to serve and program their
preferences. (Blume, 1983; Eastman, Head, & Klein, 1985;
Mitchell, 1971; Reymer & Gersin, 1983; Ted Bolton
Associates, 1984)
3. Capture one or more narrow demographic groups; highly
focused targeting. (Eastman et al., 1985; Roth, 1983)
4. Monitor changing characteristics and attitudes of target
audience. (Blume, 1983; Quaal & Brown, 1976)
5. Examine competitors' audience and programming. (Blume,
1983; Eastman et al., 1985; Johnson & Jones, 1978)
6. Provide counterprogramming; fill the void. (Blume, 1983,
Johnson & Jones, 1978; Reymer & Gersin, 1983; Williams,
1981)
7. Program against weakest station or signal. (Williams,
1981)
8. Consistency of programming key to success. (Whitney,
1985)
9. Fight competition in listeners' minds. (Reymer & Gersin,
1983)
10. Create image by anonymous music rotation. (Gold, 1982)
11. Offer extended commercial-free broadcasting. (Gold,
1982)
12. Measure positioning success by change in consumers'
perceptions toward brand relative to competing brands.
(Smith & Lusch, 1976)
13. Identify, clarify, and/or strengthen existing identity.
(Berry, 1982; Cravens, 1975; Margulies, 1981; McKenna,
1985; Quaal & Brown, 1976)
14. Analyze current strengths and weaknesses. (Eastman et
al., 1985; Geibel, 1986; Margulies, 1981; McKenna, 1985)
15. Increase advertising expenditures. (Repositioning, 1980)
16. Reinforce users' perceptions while appealing to
nonusers. (Gallanis, 1985)
17. Aim at small, precisely defined customer targets with
products tailored to needs. (Aaker & Shansby, 1982;
Baumwoll, 1984; Kotler & Levy, 1969; McKenna, 1985;
Meyers, 1984; Saunders, 1981; Springer, 1972)
156

157
18. Represent one quality or benefit. (Baumwoll, 1984;
Ogilvy, 1971)
19. Goals must be understood and supported by all employees.
(Berry, 1982; Johnson & Jones, 1978; Margulies, 1980;
McKenna, 1985; Quaal & Brown, 1976)
20. Develop new markets; create bigger pie rather than
bigger slice. (McKenna, 1985; Ted Bolton Associates,
1984)
21. Build relationship with key people in field. (Kotler,
1986; McKenna, 1985)
22. Understand customers' thinking, behavior, motivations,
perceptions, lifestyles; psychographics. (Aaker &
Shansby, 1982; Eastman et al., 1985; Ennis, 1982; Foltz,
1985; Hedges, 1986; Kotler & Levy, 1969; Meyers, 1984;
McKenna, 1985; Ogilvy, 1971; Springer, 1972; Wademan,
1976; Zotti, 1985)
23. Conduct internal audits; "know thyself". (Cravens, 1975;
Kotler & Levy, 1969; Margulies, 1981; McKenna, 1985)
24. Conduct external audits of market environment. (Cravens,
1975; McKenna, 1985; Rados, 1981)
25. Adjust to changes in market conditions. (Cravens, 1975;
McKenna, 1985; Rados, 1981)
26. Identify market niche. (Berry, 1982; Blume, 1983;
Cravens, 1975; Geibel, 1986; Johnson & Jones, 1978;
Margulies, 1980; McKenna, 1985; Montana, 1978; Ted
Bolton Associates, 1984)
27. Position against weakest opponent. (Reeves, 1981)
28. Respond quickly to competitive moves. (McKenna, 1985)
29. Use comparative advertising. (Aaker & Shansby, 1982;
Fox, 1985)
30. Study the competition. (Aaker & Shansby, 1982; Eastman
et al., 1985; Geibel, 1986; Johnson & Jones, 1978;
Margulies, 1981; McKenna, 1985; Rados, 1981; Saunders,
1981)
31. Increase efforts to obtain qualitative research data.
(Aaker & Shansby, 1982; McKenna, 1985; Quaal & Brown,
1976)
32. Create product position based on attributes, quality,
competitor, application, user, or class. (Aaker &
Shansby, 1982; Ennis, 1982; Ogilvy, 1971)
33. Communicate product benefits. (Ogilvy, 1971; Saunders,
1981)
34. Select unique selling propositions to generate maximum
sales. (Reeves, 1981)
35. Present consistent image; don't change what works.
(Aaker & Shansby, 1982; Baumwoll, 1984; Berry, 1982;
Ogilvy, 1971; Warwick & Sands, 1975)
36. Establish credibility with customers. (McKenna, 1985)
37. Form alliances with other companies. (Kotler, 1986)
38. Customize product/service to suit individual. (Klein,
1985; Meyers, 1984)

158
39. Decide position before executing advertising. (Ogilvy,
1971; Reeves, 1981; Rosenfeld, Sirowitz, & Lawson, 1971)
40. Purify ideas and statements in advertising messages; use
repetition. (Altschiller, 1986; Geibel, 1986;
MacLachlan, 1984; Ogilvy, 1971; Ogilvy & Raphaelson,
1982; Wademan, 1976)
41. Establish long-term commitment to research and strategic
planning. (Johnson & Jones, 1978; Quaal & Brown, 1976;
Ted Bolton Associates, 1984)

APPENDIX B
PANEL OF EXPERTS
Douglas J. Bennet, Jr.
President
National Public Radio
Washington, DC
Patricia Deal Cahill
General Manager
KCUR-FM
Kansas City, MO
G. Gibson Carey IV
Vice President
Proctor & Gamble
Cincinnati, OH
Ward B. Chamberlin, Jr.
President & General Manager
WETA-FM
Arlington, VA
Kathryn P. Jensen
General Manager
WCPN-FM
Cleveland, OH
Jack W. Mitchell
Director of Radio and
Station Manager, WHA-AM
Madison, WI
Dale K. Ouzts
General Manager
WOSU-AM/FM/TV
Columbus, OH
Wayne C. Roth
General Manager
WUOW-FM
Seattle, WA
Joan G. Rubel
General Manager
WFCR-FM
Amherst, MA
Ann Santen
Programming Manager
WGUC-FM
Cincinnati, OH
Wallace Smith
Vice President
WNYC-AM/FM
New York, NY
Jennifer Stanley
Maplehurst
Oxford, MD
Douglas Vernier
General Manager
KHKE/KUNI-FM
Cedar Falls, IA
Max Wycisk
General Manager
KCFR-FM
Denver, CO
159

APPENDIX C
COVER LETTER TO PANEL OF EXPERTS
June 10, 1988
Dear :
I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida and am
conducting a study of market positioning strategies and
tactics utilized by public radio stations. "Positioning" is
the process of creating an image of a radio station in the
minds of prospective listeners. It involves making the
audience believe that one station is really different from
others in the market. In light of the continuing
proliferation of new communication channels, an immediate
need exists to strengthen the identity of public radio and
promote a unique image that will compel audiences to seek it
out on the dial.
As a member of the Board of Directors of NPR/APR, your
opinion on the subject of public radio station positioning
is vital. I ask for your cooperation in sharing with me
some information that will be used in a confidential manner
to complete my Ph.D. dissertation and contribute some new
insights to the field. The final outcome of the research
will be a set of practical recommendations to public
broadcasting administrators for enhancing the market
position of their radio stations.
The enclosed survey should take a minimum of your time. A
postage-paid envelope is provided, so I hope to hear from
you by return mail today. All responses will be kept
strictly anonymous and will be combined with others for
general analysis.
Thank you for your help and interest in improving the
position of public radio. Your reply will definitely make
a difference.
Sincerely,
Carolyn E. Poole
Research Assistant
Institute of Higher Education
160

APPENDIX D
WRITTEN POSITIONING SURVEY INSTRUMENT
This survey is intended to measure your perceptions as to
the importance of specific strategies and tactics an
administrator might implement to position a public radio
station. For the purpose of this survey, positioning will
be defined in terms of creating an image of a radio station
in the minds of prospective listeners. Listed below are six
general strategies (in capital letters), followed by several
tactics for achieving those objectives. Please rate how
important you feel these strategies and tactics are, and if
you believe they are currently being used in public radio
stations. Thank you very much.
Carolyn E. Poole
University of Florida
The rating scale is: 1 not important
2 below average importance
3 average importance
4 above average importance
5 extremely important
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
1. FOCUS ON THE AUDIENCE
A. Conduct qualitative research
of audience perceptions &
opinions of the station.
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
B. Direct programming to a
narrow target audience.
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
C. Identify what listeners
believe are strengths of
the station.
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
161

162
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
D. Identify what listeners
believe are weaknesses of
the station. 12345 Yes No
E. Determine how listeners rank
one's station in comparison
to others. 12345 Yes No
F. Relate programming to
something audience is
familiar with. 12345 Yes No
2. FOCUS ON THE COMPETITION
12345 Yes No
A. Evaluate strengths of
competing stations.
B. Evaluate weaknesses of
competing stations.
C. Exploit weaknesses of
competing stations.
D. Avoid direct competition
with the market leader.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
E.Refer to other stations by
name in one's own promos
and advertising. 12345
3. FIND A MARKET NICHE TO FILL. 12345
A. Be first in the market to
program a particular format. 12345
B. Fill a hole in the market
by offering alternative
programming. 12345
C. Create a new market niche
based on audience lifestyle
preferences. 12345
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No

163
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
D. Associate one's programming
with the market leader. 12345
4.REQUIRE CONSISTENCY
THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE
POSITIONING PLAN. 12345
A. Select station name and
slogans that accurately
describe the programming
format. 12345
B. Develop advertising and
promotional campaigns that
match the intended position. 12345
C. Assure positioning objectives
set the direction for all
station activities. 12345
D. Reinforce position by use
of repetition. 12345
5.STRIVE FOR SIMPLICITY IN
ALL COMMUNICATIONS 12345
A. Use obvious ideas and
simple words in a
straightforward manner.
B. Modify complex messages by
restraining creative
techniques.
C. Oversimplify messages in
order to make long-lasting
impressions.
6.ESTABLISH LONG-TERM
COMMITMENT TO THE
POSITIONING OBJECTIVE.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No

164
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
A. Determine a basic position
and adhere to it, changing
only the short-term tactics.
12 3
4
5
Yes
No
Decide long-range (5-10 year)
positioning goals.
12 3
4
5
Yes
No
C. Allocate a sufficiently
large budget for advertising
and promotional activities. 12345 Yes No
D. Enlist support and
understanding of entire
station staff in promoting
positioning goals. 12345 Yes No
Please return in enclosed envelope by June 20, 1988
Mail to: C. E. Poole, 719 Oakview Dr. WWS
Bradenton, FL 34210

APPENDIX E
INTRODUCTORY LETTER TO STATION ADMINISTRATORS
Dear
August 5, 1988
I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida and
conducting a study of market positioning strategies and
tactics utilized by public radio stations. "Positioning" is
the process of creating an image of a radio station in the
minds of prospective listeners. It involves making the
audience believe that one station is really different from
others in the market. In light of the continuing
proliferation of new communication channels, an immediate
need exists to strengthen the identity of public radio and
promote a unique image that will compel audiences to seek
out on the dial.
I ask for your support and cooperation in sharing with me
your opinion on the subject of public radio station
positioning. The information will be used in a confidential
manner to complete my dissertation and contribute some new
insights to the field. A summary of this practical research
will be available as a service to you upon completion of the
project.
The survey will be conducted by telephone and should take
only a few minutes of your time. Please indicate on the
enclosed form a date when it would be convenient for you to
be contacted by phone. A postage-paid reply envelope is
provided, so I hope to hear from you by return mail today.
Also enclosed is a list of some proposed positioning
strategies and tactics for your consideration in advance of
the survey call.
Thank you for your help and interest in improving the
position of public radio. I look forward to talking with
you soon. Your response will definitely make a difference.
Sincerely,
Carolyn E. Poole
Research Assistant
719 Oakview Drive WWS
Bradenton, FL 34210
165

APPENDIX F
TELEPHONE SURVEY CONFIRMATION FORM
I agree to participate in the market positioning survey.
THE BEST TIME TO CALL ME IS: (check first & second
preferences)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 MONDAY, AUGUST 22
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18 TUESDAY, AUGUST 23
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24
morning? afternoon? evening?
(Please print:)
NAME
TITLE
STATION
PHONE
Please also supply the following information, which will be
analyzed only in ways that GUARANTEE individual, station, &
institutional confidentiality.
HOW MANY INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS/SUBSCRIBERS (e.g., "Friends of
89FM") CURRENTLY SUPPORT YOUR STATION?
HOW MUCH DOES YOUR STATION SPEND ANNUALLY FOR ADVERTISING
AND PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES? (dollar amount)
(percent of total budget)
Thank you! Return TODAY to:
C.E. Poole, 719 Oakview Drive WWS, Bradenton, Florida 34210
166

APPENDIX G
TELEPHONE POSITIONING SURVEY INSTRUMENT
This is a proposed list of positioning strategies and
tactics an administrator might implement to position a
public radio station. I will ask you on the phone to rate
the degree of importance of each item on a scale of 1-5, and
will also ask if these positioning strategies and tactics
are currently being practiced at your public radio station.
The rating scale will be: 1 not important
2 below average importance
3 average
4 above average importance
5 extremely important
1. Focus on the audience.
2. Conduct qualitative research of audience perceptions
and opinions of station.
3. Direct programming to a narrow target audience.
4. Identify what listeners believe are strengths of the
station.
5. Identify what listeners believe are weaknesses of the
station.
6. Determine how listeners rank your station in comparison
to others in the market.
7. Relate programming to something audience is familiar
with.
8. Focus on the competition.
9. Evaluate strengths of competing stations.
10.Evaluate weaknesses of competing stations.
167

168
11. Exploit weaknesses of competing stations.
12. Avoid direct competition with the market leader.
13. Find a market niche to fill.
14. Be first in the market to program a particular format.
15. Fill a hole in market by offering alternative
programming.
16. Create a new market niche based on audience lifestyle
preferences.
17. Reguire consistency throughout the entire positioning
plan.
18. Select station name and slogans that accurately
describe the programming format.
19. Develop advertising and promotional campaigns that
match the intended position.
20. Assure positioning objectives set the direction for all
station activities.
21. Reinforce position by use of repetition.
22. Strive for simplicity in all communications.
23. Use obvious ideas and simple words in straightforward
manner.
24. Modify complex messages by restraining creative
techniques.
25. Establish long-term commitment to the positioning
objective.
26. Determine a basic position and adhere to it, changing
only the short-term tactics.
27. Decide long-range (5-10 year) positioning goals.
28. Allocate a sufficiently large budget for advertising
and promotional activities.
29. Enlist support and understanding of entire station
staff in promoting the positioning goals.

APPENDIX H
TELEPHONE SURVEY INTRODUCTION
Hello, this is Carolyn Poole from the University of Florida.
I'm calling in regard to the positioning study you agreed to
participate in. Is this a convenient time for you to talk
with me now for a few minutes? (reschedule or proceed)
The study focuses on positioning techniques used at public
radio stations operated by colleges and universities. For
the purpose of our discussion, I'll define positioning as
the practice of communicating to the audience certain images
of your station that make it different from all the rest.
Did you receive in the mail a list of some positioning
strategies and tactics? Would you like to refer to that
copy, if it's handy? . .
There are six basic positioning strategies, followed by
several tactics for achieving those objectives. I'm going
to ask for your opinion on the degree of importance of each
strategy and tactic. Please rate these on a scale of one to
five. One means "not important." Two, "below average
importance." Three indicates "average importance." Four,
"above average importance," And Five rates "extremely
important."
I am also going to ask you if these positioning strategies
and tactics are currently being used at your station. You
may reply with a simple "yes" or "no" to those questions.
All information you offer me will remain strictly
confidential and your responses will be combined with others
for general analysis. Your name, station, and institution
will be kept anonymous.
Do you have any questions before we begin?...
(Start survey)
169

APPENDIX I
UNIVERSITY LICENSEES REPRESENTED IN THE TELEPHONE SURVEY
STATION LICENSEE
CITY, STATE
WTSU-FM
WUAL-FM
KJZZ-FM
KUNC-FM
WUSF-FM
WQCS-FM
WKGC-FM
WUWF-FM
WILL-FM
WOI-FM
KUNI-FM
KIWR-FM
KSUI-FM
KWIT-FM
KHCC-FM
KANU-FM
KMUW-FM
WKYU-FM
WKMS-FM
KDAQ-FM
WUOM-FM
WDET-FM
WKAR-FM
WNMU-FM
KUMD-FM
KBIA-FM
KCUR-FM
KXCV-FM
KUMR-FM
KEMC-FM
KRWG-FM
WUNC-FM
WFAE-FM
WFSS-FM
Troy State University
University of Alabama
Maricopa Community College
University of Northern Colorado
University of South Florida
Indian River Community College
Gulf Coast Community College
University of West Florida
University of Illinois
Iowa State University
University of Northern Iowa
Iowa Western Community College
University of Iowa
W. Iowa Tech Community College
Hutchinson Community College
University of Kansas
Wichita State University
Western Kentucky University
Murray State University
Louisiana State University
University of Michigan
Wayne State University
Michigan State University
Northern Michigan University
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri
University of Missouri
N.W. Missouri State University
University of Missouri
Eastern Montana College
New Mexico State University
University of North Carolina
University of North Carolina
Fayetteville State University
Montgomery, AL
Tuscaloosa, AL
Phoenix, AZ
Greeley, CO
Tampa, FL
Fort Pierce, FL
Panama City, FL
Pensacola, FL
Urbana, IL
Ames, IA
Cedar Falls, IA
Council Blfs, IA
Iowa City, IA
Sioux City, IA
Hutchinson, KS
Lawrence, KS
Wichita, KS
Bowling Green,KY
Murray, KY
Shreveport, LA
Ann Arbor, MI
Detroit, MI
E. Lansing, MI
Marquette, MI
Duluth, MN
Columbia, MO
Kansas City, MO
Maryville, MO
Rolla, MO
Billings, MT
Las Cruces, NM
Chapel Hill, NC
Charlotte, NC
Fayetteville, NC
170

171
STATION
WTEB-FM
KDSU-FM
KCSC-FM
KOSU-FM
KLCC-FM
WETS-FM
WUOT-FM
KUT-FM
KETR-FM
KUHF-FM
KUOW-FM
LICENSEE
Craven Community College
North Dakota State University
Central State University
Oklahoma State University
Lane Community College
East Tennessee State University
University of Tennessee
University of Texas
East Texas State University
University of Houston
University of Washington
CITY, STATE
New Bern, NC
Fargo, ND
Edmond, OK
Stillwater, OK
Eugene, OR
Johnson City, TN
Knoxville, TN
Austin, TX
Commerce, TX
Houston, TX
Seattle, WA

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Carolyn Elizabeth Poole is a native of Chicago,
Illinois, where she received primary and secondary education
in the suburban Flossmoor school district. During her
senior year of high school, she performed with a singing
group on concert tour throughout Europe and the Soviet
Union.
Carolyn graduated from Purdue University in 1974 with a
Bachelor of Arts degree in social science education and
music history. She obtained a Master of Education degree in
higher education administration and educational psychology
from University of Illinois in 1975. That year she also
accepted a national fellowship award from the Education
Professions Development Act to pursue a community college
leadership training program at University of Florida. In
1976 she received the Specialist in Education degree from
University of Florida in higher education administration and
student personnel, with community college emphasis. During
her academic career, she was initiated into membership of
Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Delta Phi, and Phi Delta Kappa national
honor societies.
Carolyn has had professional experience at both public
and private colleges in the areas of counseling, teaching,
186

187
and administration. She has also worked as an announcer,
programmer, newscaster, videographer, and media consultant
in both commercial and noncommercial broadcasting. Her
professional aspirations include ownership and management of
a broadcast or cable outlet.
Carolyn's personal passions are music and photography.
After the long hiatus in doctoral study, she looks forward
to intimate reaquaintance with her Pentax camera, while
anchored in any gunkhole around Sarasota Bay.

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
J^hes L. Watt'enbarger, Ch|?ir
Professor of Educational^Leadership
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
O.
C. Arthur Sandeen
Professor of Educational Leadership
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Phyllis M. Meek
Associate Professor of Counselor
Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fuliy adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for/che degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Af.
/''Joseph'R. Pisani
/ .Professor of Journalism and
/ / Communications
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the College of Education and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
August, 1989
Dean, College "of Education x"
Dean, Graduate School



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


153
Implications
On the basis of the market positioning research
conducted with public broadcasting experts and
administrators of university-licensed public radio stations,
there are implications that can be stated.
1. Academic leaders should require three-year market
positioning plans from administrators of campus-based public
radio stations, plus follow-up evaluations to ensure that
the goals are being met.
2. Market positioning applications should be
investigated as having potential to enhance other university
service functions.
3. Station administrators indicated repeatedly a
qualitative research deficiency due to the prohibitive
expense of conducting such studies. Research capabilities
inherent to universities might be tapped for this purpose,
with assistance from advertising/marketing classes and
graduate student projects of mutual benefit.
4. Station administrators should recognize the need
for inter-office communication to demonstrate a more uniform
positioning agenda, including unified means and methods of
approaching the positioning goals.
5. The "hide-and-seek" philosophy should be expunged
if audience needs are to be served effectively by
university-license public radio stations.


Champion, D. J. (1981). Basic statistics for social
research (2nd ed.). New York: Macmillan.
174
Christiansen, K. A. (1949). The organization and
administration of college and university radio
programming (Doctoral dissertation, University of
Missouri, 1949). Dissertation Abstracts, 9, 60.
College Entrance Examination Board. (1980). Marketing in
college admissions: A broadening of perspectives. New
York: Author.
Cook, B. L. (1968). How are you going to educate 'em when
they ain't there? Journal of Broadcasting, 12,
137-143.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (1987). Public
broadcasting directory 1987-1988. Washington, DC:
Author.
Crain raps positioning over product. (1973, April 16).
Advertising Age, p. 24.
Cravens, D. W. (1975). Marketing strategy positioning.
Business Horizons, 18^(6), 53-61.
DeSonne, M. L. (1982). Radio new technology and you.
Washington, DC: National Association of Broadcasters.
Dougherty, P.H. (1975, July 29). 'Positioning'--Goal for
agencies. The New York Times, p. 41.
Drake, H. (1975, April). A select survey of campus radio
stations. Paper presented at the meeting of the
Southern States Speech Association, Tallahassee, FL.
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 177 633).
Dunagan, C. A. (1983). Commercialization of public
broadcasting. Comm/Ent: A Journal of Communications
and Entertainment Law, 5, 241-292.
Eastman, S. T., Head, S. W., & Klein, L. (1985).
Broadcast/cable programming (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth.
Eastman, S. T., & Klein, R. A. (Eds.). (1982). Strategies
in broadcast and cable promotion. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth.
Editorial Integrity Project. (1986). Public broadcasting
governance and management handbook. Columbia, SC:
Author.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii
LIST OF TABLES vi
ABSTRACT viii
CHAPTER
I INTRODUCTION 1
Introduction to the Problem 1
Statement of the Problem 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 36
The Relationship Between Public Radio
and Higher Education 41
Market Positioning Theory 50
Summary 62
IIIRESEARCH 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


158
39. Decide position before executing advertising. (Ogilvy,
1971; Reeves, 1981; Rosenfeld, Sirowitz, & Lawson, 1971)
40. Purify ideas and statements in advertising messages; use
repetition. (Altschiller, 1986; Geibel, 1986;
MacLachlan, 1984; Ogilvy, 1971; Ogilvy & Raphaelson,
1982; Wademan, 1976)
41. Establish long-term commitment to research and strategic
planning. (Johnson & Jones, 1978; Quaal & Brown, 1976;
Ted Bolton Associates, 1984)


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


95
Table 6
Chi-Square Test and Cramer's V:
Crosstabulation of Expert Panel Import and Usage Scores
Chi-
Cramer's
Item
Square
df
P
V
1.
--
--
--
--
1A.
3.74
3
.29
.54
IB.
2.76
3
.43
.46
1C.
6.60
3
.09
.71
ID.
4.24
4
.38
.57
IE.
3.61
4
.46
.53
IF.
7.89
4
.10
.81
2.
3.89
3
.27
.62
2A.
4.55
2
.10
.59
2B.
1.17
2
.56
.30
2C.
7.20
4
.13
.78
2D.
3.47
3
.32
.56
2E.
""
""
3.
4.79
3
.19
.69
3A.
6.38
4
.17
.73
3B.
11.00
3
.01*
1.00
3C.
5.24
4
.26
.69
3D.
11.00
3
.01*
1.00
4.
1.40
2
.50
.36
4A.
1.89
2
.39
.38
4B.
.60
2
.74
.22
4C.
3.20
3
.36
.52
4D.
2.10
2
.35
.42
5.
3.21
2
.20
.60
5A.
10.00
3
.02*
1.00
5B.
4.28
4
.37
.69
5C.
6.30
4
.18
.84
6.
3.06
2
.22
.55
6A.
5.96
4
.20
.74
6B.
4.80
4
.31
.63
6C.
6.00
3
.11
.71
6D.
.90
2
.64
.27
Note:
Missing observations ranged from 1
-6.
(See Table 2,
3) N
=14, indicates
significant at P<
.05,
one-tailed.


to one's own. This was covered by the following strategy
and tactics.
72
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.


118
noted above, these findings should be regarded as
inconclusive.
Test of Hypothesis Three
ho3: 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.
One-way analysis of variance was employed to determine
if there was a statistically significant difference in
usage scores between the administrative groups. The 29
survey items score on the dichotomous practice scale were
divided first according to the three types of
administrators. The measures from each group were then
condensed into six mean scores by averaging together the
strategies and their respective tactics. Analysis of
variance was subsequently performed on these grouped usage
means, arranged thematically by strategy.
As presented in Table 16, the F-scores and
probabilities for the six strategy themes were statistically
nonsignificant at the .05 alpha level. No significant
differences in the variance of the mean score ratings were
demonstrated among the three administrative groups.
Based on data obtained from the one-way analysis of
variance test, there was insufficient evidence to support
the rejection of null Hypothesis Three and it was retained.
However, these results should be regarded as inconclusive.
While statistically significant differences were not proven


APPENDIX C
COVER LETTER TO PANEL OF EXPERTS
June 10, 1988
Dear :
I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida and am
conducting a study of market positioning strategies and
tactics utilized by public radio stations. "Positioning" is
the process of creating an image of a radio station in the
minds of prospective listeners. It involves making the
audience believe that one station is really different from
others in the market. In light of the continuing
proliferation of new communication channels, an immediate
need exists to strengthen the identity of public radio and
promote a unique image that will compel audiences to seek it
out on the dial.
As a member of the Board of Directors of NPR/APR, your
opinion on the subject of public radio station positioning
is vital. I ask for your cooperation in sharing with me
some information that will be used in a confidential manner
to complete my Ph.D. dissertation and contribute some new
insights to the field. The final outcome of the research
will be a set of practical recommendations to public
broadcasting administrators for enhancing the market
position of their radio stations.
The enclosed survey should take a minimum of your time. A
postage-paid envelope is provided, so I hope to hear from
you by return mail today. All responses will be kept
strictly anonymous and will be combined with others for
general analysis.
Thank you for your help and interest in improving the
position of public radio. Your reply will definitely make
a difference.
Sincerely,
Carolyn E. Poole
Research Assistant
Institute of Higher Education
160


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 reguesting 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 guality and responsive


164
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
A. Determine a basic position
and adhere to it, changing
only the short-term tactics.
12 3
4
5
Yes
No
Decide long-range (5-10 year)
positioning goals.
12 3
4
5
Yes
No
C. Allocate a sufficiently
large budget for advertising
and promotional activities. 12345 Yes No
D. Enlist support and
understanding of entire
station staff in promoting
positioning goals. 12345 Yes No
Please return in enclosed envelope by June 20, 1988
Mail to: C. E. Poole, 719 Oakview Dr. WWS
Bradenton, FL 34210


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. Campus-
based 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.


182
Ross, N. (1986, December 14). Americans retreat to an
electronic island. The Tampa Tribune-Times, pp. 1-H,
7-H.
Roth, M. (1983, May 4). "Positioning" new darling of
Chicago radio execs. Variety, pp. 511, 523.
Rowland, W. D., Jr. (1986). Continuing crisis in public
broadcasting: A history of disenfranchisement. Journal
of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 30, 251-274.
Saunders, R. R. (1981, June 22). A creative sampler.
Advertising Age, pp. 49-50.
Sax, G. (1974). Principles of educational measurement and
evaluation. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Severin, W. J. (1978). Commercial vs. non-commercial radio
during broadcasting's early years. Journal of
Broadcasting, 22, 491-504.
Shaffer, P. B. (1978). The identification of market
positions of Wisconsin private colleges (Doctoral
dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1978).
Dissertation Abstracts International, 39, 2672A.
Shapiro, B. P. (1973). Marketing for nonprofit
organizations. Harvard Business Review, 51(5), 123-
132.
Siemering, W. H. (1969). Public broadcasting--Some
essential ingredients. Educational/Instructional
Broadcasting, 2(9), 65-69.
Slower, but steady growth seen for VCRs, stereo TVs.
(1986, January 13). Broadcasting, p. 188.
Smith, F. L. (1979). Perspectives on radio and television.
New York: Harper & Row.
Smith, R. E., & Lusch, R. F. (1976). How advertising can
position a brand. Journal of Advertising Research,
16(1), 37-43.
Sparks, K. R. (1962). A bibliography of doctoral
dissertations in television and radio. Syracuse, NY:
School of Journalism, Newhouse Communications Center,
Syracuse University.
Springer, J. (1972, September 4). Put people in
positioning, new product expert says. Advertising Age,
pp. 31-32.


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


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.


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


178
Kotler, P. (1986). Megamarketing. Harvard Business
Review, 64(2), 117-124.
Kotler, P., & Andreasen, A. R. (1987). Strategic marketing
for nonprofit organizations (3rd ed.). Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Kotler, P., & Fox, K. F. A. (1985). Strategic marketing
for educational organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice-Hall.
Kotler, P., & Levy, S. J. (1969). Broadening the concept
of marketing. Journal of Marketing, 33, 1-15.
Kotler to receive first AMA Distinguished Educator Award.
(1985, July 19). Marketing News, pp. 1, 31.
Krachenberg, A. R. (1972). Bringing the concept of
marketing to higher education. Journal of Higher
Education, 43, 369-380.
Kron, J. (1976, April 19). The media room. New York
magazine, p. 55.
Landau, D. M. (1986, October). Special programming offers
radio special opportunities. Broadcasting, p. 24.
Lashner, M. A. (1976). The role of foundations in public
broadcasting--Part I: Development and trends. Journal
of Broadcasting, 20, 529-547.
Leidman, M. B. (1985). At the crossroads: A descriptive
study of noncommercial FM radio stations affiliated
with colleges and universities of the early 1980s
(Doctoral dissertation, George Peabody College for
Teachers of Vanderbilt University, 1985). Dissertation
Abstracts International, 46, 1604A.
Leister, D. (1975). Identifying institutional clientele:
Applied metamarketing in higher education
administration. Journal of Higher Education, 46, 381-
398.
Levitt, T. (1960). Marketing myopia. Harvard Business
Review, 38_(4), 45-56.
Levitt, T. (1962). Innovation in marketing. New York:
McGraw-Hill.
Litten, L. H. (1979). Market structure and institutional
position in geographic market segments. Research in
Higher Education, 11, 59-83.


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 quasi-
governmental 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


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).


Table 14
Directors'
Scores:
Survey Item
by Usage
Rating
Practice
Item
Yes
No
1.
32
(100%)
0
( 0%)
2.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
3.
14
(44%)
18
(56%)
4.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
5.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
6.
20
(62%)
12
(38%)
7.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
8.
14
(44%)
18
(56%)
9.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
10.
17
(53%)
15
(47%)
11.
10
(31%)
22
(69%)
12.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
13.
29
(91%)
3
( 9%)
14.
23
(72%)
9
(28%)
15.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
16.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
17.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
18.
22
(69%)
10
(31%)
19.
26
(81%)
6
(19%)
20.
22
(69%)
10
(31%)
21.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
22.
31
(97%)
1
( 3%)
23.
31
(97%)
1
( 3%)
24.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
25.
31
(97%)
1
( 3%)
26.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
27.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
28.
9
(28%)
23
(72%)
29.
28
(88%)
4
(12%)
Note. Numbers in parentheses are percentages
of total responses per item. n = 32.


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


68
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


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


131
served to supplement and confirm the findings of the
multiple regression model.
Based on data obtained from the multiple regression
analysis and Pearson r follow-up test, there was
insufficient evidence to support the rejection of null
Hypothesis Five and it was retained. However, these results
should be regarded as inconclusive, since there is a
possibility that the statistical nonsignificance observed in
this case could be reversed in subsequent testing.
Test of Hypothesis Six
ho6: There is no relationship between contributing
membership size and use of positioning in selected
university-licensed public radio stations.
Multiple regression analysis was applied to determine
if there was a statistically significant relationship
between contributing membership size of 35 university-
licensed public radio stations in the research sample and
utilization of positioning techniques by administrators of
those stations. In the test of this hypothesis, membership
was the dependent variable and the six positioning usage
measures of the administrators were the independent
variables.
The three computer procedures described previously in
the test of Hypothesis Five were employed again to build the
regression equations for Hypothesis Six. Similarly, the
forward entry and stepwise selection methods both failed to


93
Table 5
General Distribution of Expert Panel
Median Import and Usage Scores
Class
Interval
Overall
Frequency
Percent
of Area
Frequency
of Practice
5.00-4.50
6
19%
6
4.49-4.00
16
50%
14
3.99-3.50
2
6%
2
3.49-3.00
5
16%
2
2.99-2.50
0
0%
0
2.49-2.00
2
6%
0
1.99-1.50
0
0%
0
1.49-1.00
1
3%
0
n = 32
100%
n = 24
Note: Frequency
of practice
is for majority
response.


173
Baumwoll, J. P. (1984, November 23). Sacrifice is the
penance paid for effective positioning. Marketing
News, pp. 3, 8.
Beder, H. (Ed.). (1986). Marketing continuing education:
New directions for continuing education (No. 31). San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Berry, L. L. (1982). Retail positioning strategies for the
1980s. Business Horizons, 2_5(6), 45-50.
Berry, L. L., & George, W. R. (1978). Marketing the
university: Opportunity in an era of crisis. In P. J.
Montana (Ed.), Marketing in nonprofit organizations
(pp. 159-171). New York: AMACOM.
Blankenship, A. B. (1977). Professional telephone surveys.
New York: McGraw-Hill.
Blume, D. (1983). Making it in radio. Hartford, CT:
Continental Media.
Borden, N. H. (1965). The concept of the marketing mix.
In G. Schwartz (Ed.), Science in marketing (pp. 386-
397). New York: John Wiley.
Brant, B. G. (1981). The college radio handbook. Blue
Ridge Summit, PA: TAB.
Broadcasting/cablecasting yearbook. (1988). Washington,
DC: Broadcasting Publications.
Brozan, N. (1975, July 8). Lunch, for them, is on the
house. The New York Times, p. 26.
Brubacher, J. S., & Rudy, W. (1968). Higher education in
transition. New York: Harper & Row.
By the numbers: Summary of broadcasting and cable. (1988,
October 3). Broadcasting, p. 16.
Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J.C. (1963). Experimental and
quasi-experimental designs for research. Chicago: Rand
McNally.
Carnegie Commission on Educational Television. (1967).
Public television: A program for action. New York:
Bantam.
Carnegie Commission on the Future of Public Broadcasting.
(1979). A public trust. New York: Bantam.


187
and administration. She has also worked as an announcer,
programmer, newscaster, videographer, and media consultant
in both commercial and noncommercial broadcasting. Her
professional aspirations include ownership and management of
a broadcast or cable outlet.
Carolyn's personal passions are music and photography.
After the long hiatus in doctoral study, she looks forward
to intimate reaquaintance with her Pentax camera, while
anchored in any gunkhole around Sarasota Bay.


122
Table 17
Correlations of Import and Usage Scores;
Positioning Strategy by Administrative Group
General
Managers
Program
Directors
Development
Directors
Strategy
r
P
r
P
r
P
1 Audience
.678
.000*
.585
.000*
.119
.515
2 Competition
.790
.000*
.637
.000*
.568
.001*
3 Market Niche
.899
.000*
.610
.000*
.562
.001*
4 Consistency
.405
.022*
.722
.000*
.137
.453
5 Simplicity
.749
.000*
.745
.000*
.418
.017*
6 Commitment
.534
.002*
.472
.006*
.146
.426
* indicates significant at PC.05, two-tailed.


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


79
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


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


124
measures. Positioning usage by administrators of each
public radio station--as a separate unit of analysis--was
determined by calculating the average sum for each of their
six scores. The following provides a brief description of
these units of analysis.
The 96 administrators represented 45 public radio
stations housed on college campuses located in 21 states
throughout the United States. As identified by call letters
beginning with "W", 20 stations (44%) were situated in
states east of the Mississippi River, and 25 stations (56%)
having call letters starting with "K" were in states west of
this standard FCC dividing line. Thirty-seven of the 45
stations (82%) were affiliated with public four-year state
universities, and the remaining eight (18%) were licensed to
public two-year community colleges. Both types of
institutions are referred to as "university" licensees.
The practice of positioning within the 45 organizations
was discovered to be widespread. Overall, administrators
declared employing an average of 18.58 of the 29 strategies
and tactics (64%) presented on the survey instrument. When
the strategies and their related tactics were summed, the
six mean scores of the administrators could be examined
according to thematic utilization. The figures listed below
are averages of the total number of positioning methods
reportedly used, followed in parenthesis by the total number
possible on the survey.


82
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 (ANQVA). 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).


69
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 data-
gathering 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


50
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
A1 Ries and Jack Trout were both alumni of the
advertising and sales department at General Electric


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


APPENDIX H
TELEPHONE SURVEY INTRODUCTION
Hello, this is Carolyn Poole from the University of Florida.
I'm calling in regard to the positioning study you agreed to
participate in. Is this a convenient time for you to talk
with me now for a few minutes? (reschedule or proceed)
The study focuses on positioning techniques used at public
radio stations operated by colleges and universities. For
the purpose of our discussion, I'll define positioning as
the practice of communicating to the audience certain images
of your station that make it different from all the rest.
Did you receive in the mail a list of some positioning
strategies and tactics? Would you like to refer to that
copy, if it's handy? . .
There are six basic positioning strategies, followed by
several tactics for achieving those objectives. I'm going
to ask for your opinion on the degree of importance of each
strategy and tactic. Please rate these on a scale of one to
five. One means "not important." Two, "below average
importance." Three indicates "average importance." Four,
"above average importance," And Five rates "extremely
important."
I am also going to ask you if these positioning strategies
and tactics are currently being used at your station. You
may reply with a simple "yes" or "no" to those questions.
All information you offer me will remain strictly
confidential and your responses will be combined with others
for general analysis. Your name, station, and institution
will be kept anonymous.
Do you have any questions before we begin?...
(Start survey)
169


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)


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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


147
differences were determined to exist between development
and programming people concerning import perceptions of the
overall Consistency theme, and the latter group more
reserved in their advocacy than the preceding group.
Differences between administrative groups in regard to
positioning practice were so small as to be statistically
negligible. Relationships between perceived import and use
of positioning were also demonstrated in the many
statistically significant correlations obtained for all
groups (See Table 17). Low correlation coefficients
exhibited in half of the Development/Promotion Directors
scores were explained by this group's high esteem for
positioning coupled with hampered efforts to actually carry
out some of the methods they so admire.
Relationships Between Ratings, Membership,
Advertising Budget, and Positioning Usage
Based on knowledge of the extent of market positioning
usage by administrators of university-licensed public radio
stations, might any informed estimations be made concerning
their stations' cumulative audience ratings, contributing
membership size, or percent of financial budget allocated
for advertising/promotional activities? If the relationship
between positioning use scores and these individual
criterion variables had been high, one would be able to use
a regression line to predict ratings, membership, and budget
allocations in future samples where such measures are


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


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


162
(circle one) (circle one)
Degree of Is this
Importance Practiced?
D. Identify what listeners
believe are weaknesses of
the station. 12345 Yes No
E. Determine how listeners rank
one's station in comparison
to others. 12345 Yes No
F. Relate programming to
something audience is
familiar with. 12345 Yes No
2. FOCUS ON THE COMPETITION
12345 Yes No
A. Evaluate strengths of
competing stations.
B. Evaluate weaknesses of
competing stations.
C. Exploit weaknesses of
competing stations.
D. Avoid direct competition
with the market leader.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
E.Refer to other stations by
name in one's own promos
and advertising. 12345
3. FIND A MARKET NICHE TO FILL. 12345
A. Be first in the market to
program a particular format. 12345
B. Fill a hole in the market
by offering alternative
programming. 12345
C. Create a new market niche
based on audience lifestyle
preferences. 12345
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No
Yes No


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


143
representing 45 university-licensed CPB-qualified,
Class C public radio stations across the nation. General/
Station Managers, Program Directors, and Development/
Promotion Directors responded in terms of perceived
importance and practical usage of the theoretically-derived,
expert-verified positioning techniques.
Additional data were compiled in the form of cumulative
audience ratings, contributing membership size, and
advertising/promotion budget allocations of the 45 campus-
based public radio stations represented in the research
study.
Statistical analyses of the quantitative data were
performed by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
program using five basic procedures. Relationships between
the experts' import and usage ratings were computed through
use of chi-squares and Cramer's V correlation coefficients.
Differences among administrative group scores were computed
by analysis of variance. Relationships between
administrators' import and usage ratings were computed by
Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients.
Relationships between administrators' positioning practice
and station audience ratings, membership size, and
advertising budget were analyzed by multiple regression.


108
Table 12
Scores
: Survey
Item by Usage
Rating
Practice
Item
Yes
No
1.
30
(94%)
2
( 6%)
2.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
3.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
4.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
5.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
6.
18
(56%)
14
(44%)
7.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
8.
10
(31%)
22
(69%)
9.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
10.
11
(34%)
21
(66%)
11.
12
(38%)
20
(62%)
12.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
13.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
14.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
15.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
16.
15
(47%)
17
(53%)
17.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
18.
19
(59%)
13
(41%)
19.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
20.
21
(66%)
11
(34%)
21.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
22.
24
(75%)
8
(25%)
23.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
24.
17
(53%)
15
(47%)
25.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
26.
25
(78%)
7
(22%)
27.
16
(50%)
16
(50%)
28.
6
(19%)
26
(81%)
29.
27
(84%)
5
(16%)
Note.
Numbers
in parentheses
are
percentages
of total responses per item. n = 32,


130
Table 18
Prediction of Cumulative Audience Ratings
From Positioning Usage: Strategy by
Multiple Regression Statistics
Strategy
B
Beta
6 Commitment
.44
.15
1 Audience Focus
-.02
.00
5 Simplicity
.16
.04
3 Market Niche
-1.34
-.38
2 Competition Focus
.89
.39
4 Consistency
.04
.02
Intercept = 58.86,
Multiple R = .43, R Square =
Adjusted R Square = .02,
19,
F = 1.12, Significance of F =
not significant at PC.05.
.38,


110
for each overall strategy theme ranked in importance as
follows:
1
Consistency
CM
o
'T
1
1
2
Commitment
-- 4.01
3
Simplicity
--- 3.74
4
Audience Focus
--- 3.67
5
Market Niche
--- 3.66
6
Competition Focus
-- 2.74
Frequency distribution of Development/Promotion
Directors' scores on the degree of importance of the
positioning techniques is presented in Table 13. A majority
of the respondents rated 28 of the 29 survey items (97%) at
3 or higher. More specifically, the development directors
perceived 22 of the 29 positioning statements (76%) as being
above average or greater in importance. One item (24) was
also rated 4 or higher by one-half of the directors. More
than one-third (38%) of the positioning strategies and
tactics were considered extremely important by the majority.
As a separate administrative group, the development
directors had very high regard for the individual
positioning strategies (survey items 1, 8, 13, 17, 22, 25).
The majority scored five of the six basic strategies as
being of extreme importance. The strategy and tactics
involving competition (items 8-12) generally received the
lowest ratings. One-quarter of all development directors
believed that it is not important to "exploit weaknesses of
competing stations" (item 11).