Case Study

Community Music Center


Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is a Bay Area/Mission District-based nonprofit and one of the oldest and largest music education organizations on the West Coast. Celebrating its 95th anniversary in 2016, CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of their financial status. The organization hired Landis Communications (LCI) to raise its overall profile within the community, to build momentum for a potential fundraising campaign and to leverage news which augments its profile as an education institution for community engagement through music.

Strategy and Tactics

LCI created a plan to increase consumer and media awareness among key audiences, including:

  • San Francisco residents (to increase student enrollment)
  • Music enthusiasts (to increase attendance to performances)
  • Bay Area philanthropic community (to drive donations and provide a “runway” for funding)
  • Education community
  • Tech community

LCI played a key role in

  • Highlighting the history of CMC – it’s no longer the “best kept secret” in San Francisco
  • Generating buzz about CMC and its educational programs, including the organization’s annual fundraising gala
  • Driving student and spectator awareness and participation in various performances
  • Interesting the tech community in supporting music and CMC to further donations
  • Communicating CMC’s decades-long service to the community
  • Sustaining and increasing ongoing awareness of CMC, establishing it as a stalwart Mission District music education institution to San Francisco/Bay Area residents and visitors alike

Among the tactics leveraged

  • Focus traditional PR efforts on regional media opportunities, with a consideration for national media placements
  • Tell CMC’s untold stories by regularly pitching relevant and newsworthy story angles
  • Uncover and negotiate media sponsorship + public service announcement (PSA) opportunities
  • Draft and execute a spring gala communications campaign
  • Leverage partnership opportunities with relevant, like-minded organizations and high-profile individuals
  • Leverage CMC’s ongoing educational and community programs to secure additional exposure


Media mindshare for CMC has continued to increase since LCI began its work in 2014. Among the highlights, LCI:

  • Secured op-ed coverage with San Francisco Chronicle highlighting the intersection of music and tech; a concerted effort was made to identify the right angle, uncover relevant stories to leverage and ultimately draft a compelling piece explaining the correlation and its importance
    • Op-ed featured online and in print with photos and an audio clip of John Boggs’ work
  • Secured feature coverage for one of CMC’s most media worthy students, Remo del Tredici with:
    • San Francisco Chronicle: front-page teaser plus Datebook cover story, with photos
    • KCBS-AM (News-Talk San Francisco): multiple airings in Mike Sugerman’s “About the Bay” segment
    • KTVU-TV (FOX San Francisco): feature segment in Veteran’s Day special of “Bay Area People”; piece highlighted online and shown on-air three times
  • Secured coverage for CMC’s annual spring gala with San Francisco Chronicle
  • Secured feature coverage for the organization’s “CMC Sundays” series with KGO-AM (News-Talk San Francisco)
  • Secured multiple PSAs highlighting CMC and its faculty members, including:
    • Marcus Shelby on KTVU-TV during Black History Month
    • Betty and Shirley Wong on KTVU-TV during Asian Heritage Month
  • Secured coverage promoting CMC on multiple Bay Area public affairs shows, including:
    • “Bay Area Focus” on KPIX-TV (CBS San Francisco)
    • “10 Percent” on Comcast Hometown Network
    • “Upside” on Comcast Hometown Network
    • “Newsmakers” on Comcast Hometown Network
  • Secured coverage with multiple influential outlets across the Bay Area, including:
    • KQED Arts
    • San Francisco Examiner
    • WHERE San Francisco
    • SF/ARTS Monthly
    • Classical Candor
    • San Jose Mercury News48 Hills
    • The Culture Trip
    • The Post News Group
    • Mission Local
    • El Tecolote
  • Secured ad swaps with Merola Opera Program and Philharmonia Baroque
  • Secured calendar listings for multiple events and programs throughout the year
  • CMC provides classes to more than 2,400 students each year on 30 different instruments and in musical genres from Jazz and Blues to Western Classical to Latin and Middle Eastern music. More than 20,000 people enjoy musical performances at no or low cost each year in CMC’s concert hall and out in the community.

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