University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

Sample- [STATION] Program Decision Making Criteria

Listenership is monitored and evaluated by recognized research, such as Arbitron and AudiGraphics surveys, as well as periodic listener and member surveys including strategic surveys of the stations’s major communities.

The ability of any particular program to serve a significant audience, as measured by research, will be important criteria for determining whether the program should continue, be canceled or moved.

Program economics, including fiscal, technological and staff resources will be considered in making program decisions.


  • Relationship of programs to strategic directions
  • Internal precedent at [STATION]
  • External precedent; that is the experience of other public broadcasters who have faced similar decisions.
  • Ability to manage programs within the constraints posed by scheduling, budget, and technical limitations.
  • The policies specify that programming decisions shall not be made solely for the purpose of gaining support, economic or ortherwise, of any person or group.

As an assist in making programming and scheduling decisions, the policies direct programming staff to ascertain audience program preferences and community needs at regularly-scheduled times through the following means:

  • Periodic surveys and focus groups
  • Analysis of mail, email, and telephone calls received
  • Measures of actual listening patterns


Upon reaching consensus on tentative proposals, the Program Planning Team, the Director of Radio and the appropriate management staff will inform and/or consult with:

  • Affected Staff
  • The [STATION] Communications Team
  • Key Administrators and Staff of [LICENSEE]
  • The [STATION] Board of Directors

Each of these individuals or groups will receive the full background materials that informed the tentative proposals.

A designated public contact person will develop message points and a one-page statement to respond to possible inquiries before a finalized proposal is released to the public. In such an instance, the contact person should accurately inform the inquirer/s that no final decision has been made regarding the program change under consideration.


After reviewing the feedback received during the consultation phase, the Director of Radio will make the final decision.


At least 30 days prior to implementation of program changes, the Director of Radio will inform all those involved concerning the decision. This notification will include a description of the decision criteria, policies, protocols, inquiries and issues raised during the review process.


The Director of Radio will alert key administrators and staff in writing that a decision has been made. They will be reminded of the decision criteria, process and protocol and informed of any inquiries or issues raised by the decisions.

The Appropriate team member, in consultation with the [STATION] Community Relations Director and other appropriate staff, will establish the timetable for change and develop promotion. He or she will prepare and release message points, timetable, and staff contact person(s) to staff via appropriate communication mechanisms such as e-mail, memoranda, and staff meetings. Message points should explain:

  • Why a change is needed
  • The benefits of the change to the listener
  • How lost programming is justified through cost/benefit analysis

[STATION] will develop, and coordinate, written information about the decision making process through a primary contact person for the purpose of providing a coordinated and accurate message and to respond to inquiries in a timely manner. As necessary, this individual will route requests for interviews to the Director of Radio or her/his designee. Legislator inquires will be directed to the Special Assistant to the [LICENSEE] Chancellor.

The primary contact person will brief those who will answer listener questions, including Regional Managers and Listener Service staff. He or she will issue a factual news release based on the message points, and will track media inquiries and coverage. The Director or her/his designee will conduct a call-in show on the program change. Staff throughout the state will promote the change through regional guides, speeches, and media contacts.


Staff will continue to promote on-air, periodically accentuate the change through releases or other promotion, and track feedback from quantitative measures such as Arbitron ratings and through non scientific methods such as letter and phone call logs.