University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

Institutional Relationship Survey Results

Last month (August 2019) U:SA conducted a poll among its affiliates to determine current trends in reporting structure among institutional licensees.

With 25 responses, well over the response percentage required to generate statistically valid data, we once again found a wide range in responses.

Variations in titles seem to make categorizing reporting trends virtually impossible. However, the 2019 titles remain virtually identical to results from the 2009 study – President, Chancellor, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice Chancellor, Vice President, Associate Vice President, Dean, Director, Associate Director, and Department Chair.

60% of respondents indicated they report at or above the Associate Vice Presidential level and 40% report below the Vice Presidential level. The percent of station managers that report directly to one of the top institutional officers – President/Chancellor/Provost – rose from 14% to 20% of respondents between the 2009 Survey and the 2019 Survey.

It is useful to compare your station’s reporting chain of command to those of the Athletic Department, the Alumni Association, and/or the University Foundation. These university entities are usually recognized as broad-based outward-focused units representing the university as a whole and providing outreach and services to external communities. Your station should be recognized equally with these entities and in many cases the outreach your station provides far exceeds the external contacts resulting from the others.

The remaining questions have no comparative results since those questions were not asked in 2009.

More than 75% of responding general managers’ report that their stations are appreciated and respected. Eight percent report the relationship so strong as to be beloved…a pretty great place to be.

Most stations use more than one means to communicate value to the institution – a good idea since some people learn by hearing, others by reading, and others by engaging directly.

If you have additional insights to share regarding your relationship with your licensee or if you have suggestions regarding how to strengthen relationships, contact the U:SA by phone 701-371-9771 or email