Startup culture, that buzzworthy approach to work that involves collaboration, horizontal organization, and diverse skillsets, is fundamentally shifting the climate in public media. From AIR’s Finding America to National Public Radio’s many forays into multi-platform delivery, non-commercial media makers are seeing changes in the people, philosophy and nature of what we do. Producers need to know how to vision a project, leaders need to understand the chain that makes projects come together, and everyone needs to grasp fundraising and relationships to make an initiative work.
For community radio, startup culture is somewhat old hat. We’re used to doing more with less, but digital has pushed us to stretch.
This year, NFCB is introducing a new track to its 40th annual conference. Makers is a twist on the new environment that media is dealing with, yet community radio finds very familiar. Whereas this conference’s administration, operations, and content sessions bring you the innovative ideas and best practices that help you improve, Makers is aimed at helping you get that outstanding idea off the napkin and into the world.
Many of us know – and love or loathe – that traditional presentation. You know it. Presenters offer PowerPoints with smart notions, people ask questions at the end, then on to the next one. Makers is intended to get #NFCB16 attendees talking about the work they’re doing, or want to do and why they’re not. It’s aimed at being PowerPoint-less and interactive. You’re encouraged to bring your laptop, your questions, your project in progress or just the napkin it is written on.
Our Makers sessions include a video for your website brought by NFCB board member, public media professional and video pro-Marcellus Shepard, as well as a session on optimizing for mobile. Both are incredibly crucial. Many community radio stations find that the web and social media are important for outreach, so being ready to take advantage of those opportunities means the difference between new memberships or none.
Podcasting is all the rage in public media, but I can count on one hand the number of community radio stations doing it beyond giving feeds of their air signals. Makers features a session on podcasting launches, featuring Jenni Monet, a public media leader and NFCB board member sharing her experiences in building up to her own podcast, Nathan Moore, a general manager dealing with how to pivot his station to digital, and more. We’ll discuss how to build your station’s podcasting and how to monetize it too.
All that technology won’t mean much if your content is meh, though. Our field recording immersion at Makers will give you a glimpse of the gear, techniques, and atmospherics that will take your sound to the next level.
Makers will wrap with a tour of the ultimate in startup projects: Audience Engine. Audience Engine began as the backbone of WFMU’s web presence. It spun off into an open-source project that attracted reams of press and significant funding from tech and media heavy hitters. This is one of the first under-the-hood looks at Audience Engine, and it’s led by WFMU’s general manager and Audience Engine leader Ken Freedman. Lots of stations, big and small, have expressed interest in Audience Engine. Here’s your chance to check it out.