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Positioning Public Radio for Generations Ahead

Why? To push beyond their current safe space, reaching new audiences and opening new doors to better position them for future success.

I grew up listening to public radio from the backseat of my parents’ car. It’s always held a special place in my heart. When we got to work on the Michigan Radio brand, I fully threw myself into it. I love public radio because it’s unbiased and non-partisan. It’s still a place that you can enjoy fact-based, in-depth reporting and stories that are trustworthy. However, public radio contends with some significant challenges, among them a historical lack of diversity in both on-air voices and topics – and, of course, radio itself is becoming an antiquated medium.



Michigan Radio shared its long-term strategic plan before we began our work. It included:


  • Concrete methods to bring younger and more diverse voices to their on-air talent.
  • A commitment to covering more diverse and edgier topics.
  • A focus on delivering content across various mediums beyond traditional broadcast radio.



This aligned with a subtle shift I had begun to hear on air, so I instinctively knew it was authentic. We layered this with deep research, including interviews and focus groups with their current audiences and beyond. When the research was complete and we set forth a plan for rebranding, we knew we could push the envelope. The trust and freedom they afforded us provided an environment where we could best position the brand for the next 100 years. A brand that is:


  • Agnostic of medium (radio, podcast, social, etc.). Regardless of the format, the content itself transcends.
  • Positioned for what’s next.
  • More welcoming to diverse audiences in ethnicity, age, position in life, etc.
  • An enduring commitment to in-depth, fact-based journalism.



Together, we rebranded them from Michigan Radio to Michigan Public, created an entirely new visual identity, and better aligned their brand position/language with their mission.

We are proud of the collective work we accomplished with their team and are confident they are set up to thrive in the ever-evolving news media/journalism world.

Mike Rouech
VP Brand Strategy

As vice president of brand strategy at Phire Group, Mike leads the research and strategic planning process and the account team. He brings a multidisciplinary and multi-industry approach to each situation. Mike is a founding member of Phire Group, and his previous experience includes working with Bozell, which is part of the Interpublic Group in Boston, Massachusetts.