I thought today’s Public Media Camp was a success, on the whole. At least 60 participants came to NextSpace in downtown Santa Cruz on the first of two days of visioning and planning about web content for public media organizations. Most participants were from the Santa Cruz area; many were from the San Francisco Bay Area, including folks from KQED and KALW; and I was especially happy to see people from NPR’s Public Interactive division, and from American Public Media.
Great thanks to all the event sponsors: the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NextSpace, Sunkist Naturals, Lifestyle Culinary, Armanasco Public Relations (special tip of the cap to Tom Honig), Drew Miller Insurance Services, B. Ruby Rich, and above all to our colleagues at Quiddities that put it all together.
Significant take-aways for me included these:
- KUSP’s on-line ambitions are greater, and closer to realization, than most public radio organizations of similar size;
Many KUSP people, and many other Santa Cruzans, want to use on-line public media to strengthen our community;
KUSP’s fire coverage this past spring and summer had a sizable influence on people’s perception of the station and its potential as a media organization operating on-line;
I saw a number of content producers working on news and information that have fairly concrete ambitions for how they want to serve audiences on-line, but not as many content producers focused on music are as far along;
Ideas abound about ways to generate financial support for public media from on-line users, but (at least with this group) I saw very little agreement about which ideas were most likely to succeed, and few of these ideas have actually been tested;
In a related story, few people if any thought the main ways public radio has raised money from people over the years — pledge drives and direct mail — will work effectively for on-line audiences;
And the last two points combined could mean real trouble for public broadcasters in the near future.
The Santa Cruz Public Radio Camp may spawn similar BarCamps elsewhere in the U.S. in the coming months, which will be a welcome development, as this seems like a productive way to advance planning for public media’s on-line services to viewers and listeners.
The event will continue tomorrow.