Contributors to the Go Figure blog include:
Lori Kaplan, Director of Audience Insight & Research
Lori got her first taste of media research under the direction of Professor Donald Kinder at the University of Michigan over 20 years ago, exploring the intersection of politics, psychology, and media.
In the ensuing years, she sojourned abroad, to graduate school, and into private industry, before making her way to NPR in 1997 to tackle media research in earnest. Since then Lori has touched all departments within the organization by channeling the voice of NPR listeners to inform NPR's strategic decision making. She also provides insight and analysis on public media audiences to the larger public radio community.
Whether it's the audience, station leadership, or internal constituencies, Lori harnesses NPR's vast research toolkit to make sure the core issues and opportunities are heard. She launched the "NPR Listens" audience advisory panel in 2007, which has now grown to over 29,000 participant- listeners worldwide who generously offer NPR feedback on everything from their listening habits to their thoughts on new products.
Before joining NPR, Lori served as a senior business analyst at CFI Group, an international consulting firm specializing in customer satisfaction research. Prior to that, she conducted research and analysis at the University of Michigan Health System, focusing on patient satisfaction and referring physician satisfaction across the enterprise.
Lori clearly bleeds maize and blue having received both her Master of Urban Planning and Master of Science in natural resource policy from the University of Michigan. She also holds a Bachelor's degree in political science and psychology from the same institution. She currently serves on the board of the Media Rating Council.
During her graduate studies, she took a detour to Moscow for one year to examine housing privatization and World Bank investments and mortgage strategy. With her mad Russian skills, she can hold a meaningful conversation with a 5-year-old native speaker.
Paul Ahlers, Carriage Systems Manager, CRC
Paul has been with Audience Insight & Research since October 1997. He has also worked as a radio DJ (with varying degrees of success), news director and producer at stations up and down the dial. Paul attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia.
Ben Robins, Programming Research Manager
A British Ex-Pat, who somehow ended up living in Austin, Texas, has been with NPR since 2000. Ben's research area focuses on the programming side – from providing overviews of Arbitron's audience trends for stations and programs across the country to gathering audience feedback on NPR national shows and news topics. Before NPR, Ben worked at MORI Test Research in London, England – working on media content analysis and overseeing telephone surveys - to measure whether audience opinions were affected by ongoing media coverage - for a variety of clients including Volvo, Cadburys, and the London Metropolitan Police.
Back in the student days, Ben earned a Master's degree in International Media Studies at the University of Leeds. He lives in Austin, TX, with his wife, Wanda, and daughter, Sophia.
Susan Leland, Research Manager, Corporate Sponsorship & Development
Susan joined NPR in February 2011. Susan's research focus is on corporate sponsorship and development efforts as well as NPR brand development.
Prior to joining NPR, Susan worked for Discovery Communications, supporting corporate branding and new product development for the whole portfolio of Discovery brands. She has also worked for the research vendor, Lieberman Research Worldwide, conducting research for a wide variety of clients including movie studios, television networks, packaged goods, retail, financial services, insurance providers, and public services. Some of her clients have included McKinsey & Co., Gap, Levi's, Nestle, ING Direct, Universal Studios, and Kaiser Permanente.
Susan received her Master's degree in Information Studies from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor's in Business/Marketing from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
Scott Vanderbilt, Research Manager, Digital Media/Emerging Platforms
Scott's research area focuses on Digital Media, from understanding more about consumers' migration towards digital media to developing new products for platforms we haven't thought about yet. Prior to joining NPR in February 2011 Scott worked in both the client and vendor side of the market research industry. Some of his clients included AOL, Network Solutions, the BBC, Church and Dwight, and the U.S. Government. He has also conducted research and managed campaigns for political candidates and issue advocacy groups. Scott's research focus has been primarily through quantitative techniques (surveys, choice analysis) and statistical analyses but he has also conducted numerous focus groups and interviews with consumers, small businesses, and C-Suite executives. Scott earned his Master's degree in Mass Communications from the University of Florida and is a die-hard Gator fan.
Sarah Withrow, Senior Research Analyst
Sarah joined NPR in July 2011. Her primary research focus is NPR's listener panel, NPR Listens. Prior to joining NPR, Sarah worked as a research analyst for a consulting firm specializing in brand management. There, she developed questionnaires and completed advanced data analytics for a global portfolio of corporate clients. She has also worked in the non-profit sector at a public health agency in South Florida.
Sarah completed her graduate studies at Western Carolina University, where she became enamored with in-house panel research during a graduate internship at Biltmore's corporate office in Asheville, NC. She received her Bachelor of Science in Management from The Pennsylvania State University.
Andrea St. Pierre, Data Analyst for Corporate Sponsorship & Development
Andrea joined NPR in December 2011. Andrea's work mainly supports NPR's corporate sponsorship and development efforts with a research focus on NPR's cross-platform audiences and competitive media.
Previously, Andrea worked as a Business Analyst and Consultant for a consulting and data analysis firm with a portfolio comprised of large consumer packaged goods companies. There she worked with data analytics, created marketing strategies and developed in-depth business and marketplace analysis on the launch of new products. Prior to this, she worked as a Merchandise Analyst for Talbots' corporate office.
She received her Master's degree in Political Science from Suffolk University in Boston and her Bachelor's degree in International Political Relations from Fordham University in New York City.
Sondra Russell, Web Metrics Analyst
Sondra joined NPR in 2008. After working as a web developer for ten years in San Francisco, London, Paris, and Norman, Oklahoma, she got her MBA at University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. She enjoys all aspects of Web metrics analysis, from going "under the hood" to perfect collection methods, to writing customized dashboards using APIs, PHP ,and MySQL, to writing a weekly newsletter for NPR staff analyzing recent trends in traffic across all of NPR's platforms. She is also a published short story writer.