A couple of quick words about the colleagues whose sites I’ve put in my initial blogroll. All local public radio stations have to manage change in these times. I especially admire and respect the work happening under the leadership of these people.
Iowa Public Radio has transformed themselves from somewhat-isolated stations on separate university campuses around the state into a statewide organization offering more programming in better-defined streams of content, over-the-air and on-line. “Connecting Iowa” is a good label for what they’re striving to do. Todd Mundt, who has been a leader in this project as their Director of Content, recently moved to Louisville Public Media and I look for great things from them in the future.
Dennis Haarsager manages the stations based at Washington State University, and is currently serving as the Chairman of the Board of NPR (the NPR board is mostly composed of managers of local stations, elected by their peers). Dennis is one of the most technically-astute managers in public radio. He also understands a lot about other kinds of public media — over-the air public television, and the on-line media world. He makes me think carefully about the work that we do, and how we do it, and I appreciate that.
I also hope that by reading Dennis’ words, you’ll see more about how NPR actually works. NPR is a very unusual kind of media company — in a lot of ways, it has tended to function more like a co-op than a typical national/international media organization. NPR and its member stations are now trying to adapt that structure to a media world where listeners frequently go straight to the network to get what they want to see/hear, rather than to their local station. We’re not really sure, as public radio people, how that’s going to work — technically, economically, or otherwise. Chris Anderson, the author of the book The Long Tail, recently wrote a very thought-provoking post on his blog about this issue… motivated I think by listening to KQED-FM’s recent pledge drive. Dennis tipped me to Chris’ post, and it’s indicative of the kinds of things you’ll find on his blog.
I’ll probably refer to these folks now and again as this blog evolves.