Originally called Public Radio Capital, we were created as a national nonprofit in 2001 by Station Resource Group, an association of public radio station leaders. Two industry leaders, Susan Harmon and Marc Hand, were asked to oversee our mission to strengthen and expand public radio services in communities nationwide.
Our charge was to address two challenges in the media industry at that time: the concentration of commercial TV and radio channels in the hands of dramatically fewer corporate owners, and the unchallenged capacity of large, well-funded religious broadcasters to dominate the marketplace for noncommercial spectrum.
The idea was highly entrepreneurial. We would provide strategic business consulting and financial services directly to public media stations, with the goal of strengthening the network of public media stations around the country. Over the past 19 years the wisdom of this approach has been achieved through more than 300 engagements with public media organizations, securing access to public media services for more than 80 million people, representing one in every four Americans.
With a name change to reflect the organization’s commitment to strengthening all public media, Public Media Company has made a transformational impact on public media and is an essential resource for stations contemplating expansion, for institutions considering partnerships or mergers, and for public media organizations seeking innovations in service.
One project at a time, we have helped public media organizations around the country acquire, merge, and partner with others, launch new formats and/or analyze options for business expansion to help create a stronger, more sustainable network of non-profit local media.
Other impactful work includes:
- Through our program “More Channels, More Service,” with funding originally from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, we worked with more than 30 stations to explore expansion opportunities in markets resulting in increased services to a number of communities.
- Launching the Public Radio Fund in 2007 with initial program-related investments from Ford Foundation, NPR Foundation, Calvert Foundation and Nonprofit Finance Fund. During the Fund’s 11-year history, we lent more than $8 million to public stations and independent producers.
- Co-founding VuHaus Group with KCRW, KEXP, The Bridge, WFUV and WXPN to connect public media’s music discovery stations with artists and audiences across the country. VuHaus Group forged a partnership with NPR, creating Live Sessions, a hub at NPR Music for music exploration.
- Creating Channel X, a B2B content exchange enables station-to-station journalism and program sharing.
- Co-founding Public Media Venture Group, a coalition of public television stations that are funding shared exploration of partnerships and new sources of revenue created by Next Generation Television the new digital television standard called ATSC 3.0.
Today, our expanded capabilities include Virtual Accounting Services and Station Assessment Reports for clients.
Our mission to foster sustainable and innovative public and independent media growth is more critical than ever.