• Public Media Scan: Problem-solving

    Step one of solving a problem? Spotting a problem.

    Take the first item in this week's Scan, which tackles a very basic problem with podcasting: We don't know how many people are actually listening.

    Without that number (or without a consistent standard for what a "popular" podcast is), advertisers, underwriters and trendspotter can't accurately compare one show to another -- or begin to understand how the digital/mobile/time-shifting audience fits into the larger universe of media.

    Take a look, give it a think, enjoy:

    • Listeners ≠ Downloads. Pete Davies reminds everyone why podcast metrics are a mess right now. Who's sorting this out?

  • From the Archive: Too-intimate tape?

    From AIR's Archive logoEditor’s note: From time to time, we have all encountered powerful, well-produced radio works that leave us wondering: Am I grateful to have heard that program? Should that report have been broadcast? Even if the head says yes, the heart and gut may not. Are some pieces better left undone? These are a few of the questions asked by longtime producer Alex van Oss.

    This criticism of WNYC’s “The Execution Tapes” and Lu Olkowski’s “Grandpa,” and responses from Olkowski and Gary Covino, the co-producer of “The Execution Tapes,” was first published as “The Fine Art of the Wee Pause” in the March 2009 AIRblast. 

  • Public Media Scan: Four About Race

    The opening page of The Washington Post project, "The N Word"

    The Scan isn't usually themed -- or, rather, it isn't themed beyond "projects that suggest new directions in tech, public media, or storycraft."

    This week, however, a few thoughtful projects collided in conversations and online.

    The interactive game Parable of the Polygons drifted across my This.cm feed on Tuesday, courtesy of user Guillaume Pasquier. The same day, I was talking to Peter Clowney, the managing director of APM's National Content Development and Arts & Ideas Programming, about diversity in public media, and he mentioned "The N Word" from The Washington Post -- which I hadn't seen.

  • From the Archive: Nonprofit or Not?

    From AIR's Archive logoEditor's note: Will Everett's advice about starting a tax-exempt nonprofit organization first appeared as "Taking the 501(c)(3) Plunge" in the September 2008 AIRblast, the newsletter for independent producers and artists in public media. 

    Since then, the IRS perspective on media nonprofits has shifted several times (for full details, see the "further research" list below). This piece surfaced from the archive as a companion for Cynthia Graber's recent AIRblast centerpiece, "The Pragmatist's Guide to Podcasts and Money," which included a section on grant funding that is also addressed here. 

  • Public Media Scan: Learn to be happy

    The Happiness Index from The Guardian's new app

    Does it feel like adulthood is often about rediscovering things we knew, or were taught, as kids? That's the prevailing theme for this week's Public Media Scan.

    Happiness? The Guardian wants to teach you. How speakers work? Jacob O'Neal's on the case. And how digital stories get made? That's the idea behind Storybench, a new project from Northeastern University and Esquire magazine, edited by friend-of-the-Scan Aleszu Bajak.