University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

Improving Relationships with University Licensees

By Dr. John Keiser

Dr. John Keiser, NPR Board member and President of Southwest Missouri State University, has compiled the following suggestions for university-licensed public radio stations.

  • Study your institution’s mission statement, your mission statement, and document what you have in common.
  • Understand the primary mission of any university is to develop educated persons. Demonstrate how your station contributes to that mission.
  • Examine your position within the university’s organizational structure. The fewer levels between you and the president’s office the better.
  • Learn how your university operates with respect to strategic planning, budgeting, and resource allocation. Involve yourself in those processes.
  • Develop three to five performance measures that will demonstrate your value to the institution. Communicate your progress regularly to the administration.
  • Seek regular communication with the university president. Remember, the radio station reaches as many or more people annually than most other university functions including for- credit classes and, therefore, deserves this opportunity as much as any other university unit.
  • Connect with your community through programming and outreach. Build partnerships that include units in the university and organizations in the community.
  • Create a community advisory board. Find your strongest, most persuasive, highest profile supporters and invite them to join the advisory board. Communicate regularly with them about the station’s mission and strategic plan. Ask them to communicate their support of the station to the university’s governing board and president.
  • Build for the future. Establish an endowment that will provide the station with financial security.