Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


RRC President Joanne Church Dies

She and her late husband Tom educated public radio about audience research

Headshot of Joanne ChurchJoanne Church, the president of Radio Research Consortium, has died after a short illness. She was 75.

The organization announced her death. Business Manager Carol Jacobs will serve as acting president.

“The RRC introduced audience research to public radio 43 years ago,” the group wrote in the announcement.

“Ms. Church and her late husband Tom partnered with Arbitron in 1981 to negotiate a group purchase of audience measurement data, making it affordable for individual public radio stations. Together, they initiated workshops to educate public radio managers and programmers on key audience metrics like ‘Cume,’ ‘AQH’ and ‘Share.’ In 1986, they authored ‘Audience Ratings: A Primer for Non-Commercial Stations,’ in collaboration with consultant Peter Dominowski.”

Stephen Schram, chair of the RRC board, described her as “a gentle but mightily informed presence in audience ratings and measurement.”

She was a 1971 graduate of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor of arts in political science. Before co-founding RRC, Church worked at Arbitron for 10 years, designing data processing systems and managing Production and Radio Market Reports.

Following her husband’s death, she assumed the role of RRC’s president in 2005.

“In 2006, Joanne adeptly led a coalition to bring Arbitron back to the bargaining table when changes threatened station access to critical data. Under her leadership, RRC enabled public radio stations to demonstrate their significant market share to advertisers and underwriters.”

RRC quoted her on the value of audience data: “As non-commercial stations seek underwriters and plan programming and marketing strategies, we can provide them with the sophisticated insights that put radio on a level playing field with other forms of media.”

Joanne and Tom Church also provided funds to launch the Public Radio Program Directors Association, now PMCC, in 1986. Joanne received the Public Radio Regional Organizations’ PRRO award in 2008.

RRC has approximately 300 subscribers among public radio and noncom religious broadcasters in the United States.

Updates on memorial arrangements for Joanne Church will be posted at