KISU-FM Studio

The Public Radio Differences

The chart below outlines the key differences between public radio and commercial radio.

Features & Benefits Public Radio Commercial Radio
Clutter Virtually none—most stations air approximately 1 – 2 minutes of underwriting credits per hour. Nationally reported to range from 16 to 26 non-programming minutes per hour with individual breaks as long as eight minutes of uninterrupted commercials.*
*Clear Channel is imposing a company-wide ceiling on the number of total minutes that can be aired per hour - 12 minutes. It is also limiting commercial breaks to four minutes and six commercial units, and reducing promotional time to two minutes per hour.
Station Ownership Independent local stations that are members of a national organization. Private/corporate owned stations and affiliated stations.
Tax Status Non profit. For profit.
Revenue Revenue from individual members, corporations, foundations, and government sources. Revenue from advertising.
Sales Model In raising underwriting funds, most public radio stations employ sales teams. Smaller in number than their commercial counterparts, they are selling underwriting rather than commercials. Underwriting is a means of identifying a business to recognize its financial support of a specific program or of the station. Large local and national sales force. Sold based on ratings.
Measures of Success Impact and Awards. Ratings and Revenue.
Programs Programmed at the local level, with national program offerings as well as local news and other programs. Varies-- Some local autonomy but more and more conglomerates have centralized programming.

IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY

921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209