2021 is expected to be a year of change. The National Federation of Community Broadcasters is responding to these challenging times with a bold initiative intended to make community media more a part of the national dialogue around trust, imagination, diversity and engagement.
This year, NFCB will host the 2021 Innovation Depot Series – virtual convenings based on some of the most important topics impacting public media. These events will be hosted throughout 2021 in lieu of an in-person gathering.
After many discussions, NFCB staff has grown a deep appreciation for the challenges facing community media organizations nationwide, particularly due to the impacts of COVID-19. While we are hopeful for the potential of a vaccine to save lives, we also recognize that its distribution and regional safety considerations are still unknown. Even if NFCB could organize a safe in-person conference, our staff understands many stations could be limited in their ability to participate. Just as important, the heart of our in-person gatherings – the many affinity groups, meetups and other gatherings that have historically made NFCB conferences so exciting – would be adversely affected.
2020 was a year of affirming NFCB’s decades-long commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The organization has always sought to keep its events the most affordable in public media. Many of 2021’s events will be provided at no cost.
NFCB expects to host events based on some of the following topics:
- Misinformation: With Joe Biden poised to take office and political battles still raging, NFCB will welcome you to a discussion on how community radio and public media can address the flood of conspiracy theories and polarization.
- Rebuilding the music and creative economy: Last year was disastrous for the creative economies of many cities. How are musicians and other cultural workers responding, and how can public media be a valued ally?
- The State of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Community and Public Media: Following up on NFCB’s popular panel in 2020 on DEI, our 2021 discussion appraises the state of these issues, and how organizations must be involved.
- Changing rural media narratives: Often cast as barren intellectual lands, rural communities have been trailblazers for decades in the realms of community radio and other forms of locally based media. This panel takes on some of the challenges rural media is facing, and the fight to be seen for its accomplishments and needs.
“In the media world, we’ve leaned into the idea that new tools are better than incumbents at fostering change, because we assume they’re not held back by inertia,” said NFCB’s Ernesto Aguilar. “However, as we are seeing with gulfs of trust and deep polarization, newcomers don’t always have the answers. Our upcoming series is rooted in community media’s greatest strengths – our power to create conversation, evoke feeling, and build community.”
For ongoing announcements on our 2021 events, please sign up for weekly updates at nfcb.org.