Professor Michael Huntsberger says public broadcasting has demonstrated that audiences want more substantive news. They’ve also pioneered the notion of genuine conversations with listeners and viewers.
Because public broadcasters like NPR receive tax dollars, they feel compelled to be more sensitive to their audiences, and it works, says the mass communication professor, who writes about the topic.
Public broadcasters respond more creatively to the preferences of their audiences and have led the way in incorporating new digital content, including downloadable MP3 recordings and real-time blogs where listeners can contribute even as they listen to or watch programs.
Oregon Public Broadcasting, based in nearby Portland, has promoted meaningful interactions with their listeners and viewers, Huntsberger says, and even though OPB has emerged as the third largest producer of public television programming in the U.S., their emphasis is on localism.
OPB envisions a future where unique regional character and geographic boundaries pose no barriers, he says. This dissolving of traditional and local boundaries has helped OPB find a niche in the worldwide market.