AIR and PRPD Open Doors to Indies at 2011 Public Radio Programming Conference

At AIR HQ, excitement is building as we prep for the Localore launch party, slated for September 22 in Baltimore.

The festivities will take place at the Public Radio Programming Conference, where independent producers will also find plenty of other reasons to celebrate. In collaboration with PRPD, AIR has provided CPB-funded New Voices scholarships to a cohort of promising makers (see last year's crew), arranged discounts for AIR members, and organized a lively series of panels, below. High-profile AIRsters are even opening and closing the event—RadioLab's Jad Abumrad kicks things off, and Jay Allison of Atlantic Public Media (among many other ventures) will close with the conference benediction.

The upshot? The entire range of public radio stations, makers, networks and researchers will be on hand in Baltimore to grapple with new content strategies. Join us:

AIR New Project Launch Reception with CPB
September 22, 5:30-7:30

Join CPB CEO Pat Harrison and AIR Executive Director Sue Schardt for details on a new CPB-funded venture tapping pubmedia's brightest independent talent to build R&D capacity at local stations to invent new transmedia models and reach more deeply into local communities. 


Change and Why It's So Hard with Jad Abumrad 

September 21, 9:00 a.m.

We need a younger audience, we need to start social networking, we need to fundraise differently, we need a more diverse audience, we need we need we need we need ... to ... CHANGE!  That's the basic theme in recent years:  CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE!  Or die.  All the while, most of the same shows stay on the air and get older and older, along with our audience, and not a whole lot that's new comes to take their place.  Why is this?  In classic Radiolab fashion, Jad Abumrad attacks this question from a variety of angles - psychology, economics, auto mechanics, the veterinary sciences, Marxist philosophy, computational linguistics, quantum chromodynamics, hydrotheology and, of course, his own  personal experience in creating a new show.

Getting to Yes (Perfect Pitch Session)

September 21, 11:00 a.m.

  • Moderator: Deborah George, Independent Editor/Presenter
  • Celeste Wesson – Senior Producer, Marketplace
  • Laura Bertrand -  Supervising Editor, Arts Unit, NPR 
  • David Krasnow -  Senior Editor, Studio 360

We migrate this popular, Third Coast International Audio Festival session to PRPD to, once again, pull back the veil on what makes a successful story pitch.  Listen in as brave-hearted producers try to sell their story ideas to our panel of program editors who help us understand the elements of a strong story pitch and offer other strategies for getting work picked up for broadcast.

Can Pubmedia Journos Step Up the Game?    

September 21, 2:00 p.m.        

  • Moderator:  Jessica Clark - Media Strategist, AIR 
  • Bill Buzenberg - Executive Director, Center for Public Integrity 
  • Katie Davis – Senior Producer of The Story, WUNC
  • Michael Marcotte - 2011 Knight Fellow, President, MVM Consulting

Many believe that public media has a unique opportunity to fill the gap in reporting left by shrinking commercial newsrooms.  Are stations and reporters really up to the task?  How might stations extend their capacity by working creatively with new platforms, independent producers, and other outlets?  These questions underlie recent benchmark studies: the AIR/ITVS Scan of Public Media's Independent Journalists and PRNDI's Census of Journalists in Public Radio and TV.  We'll hear from analysts tallying boots on the ground and innovators exploring new practices

Beyond Age, Color, Creed:  A New Public Media Conversation    

September 22, 11:00 a.m.

  • Moderator: Sue Schardt - Executive Director, AIR
  • Al Letson – Host, State of the Reunion 
  • Alyce Myatt - Director of Digital Media Arts, NEA
  • Bill Davis – President and CEO, Southern California Public Radio

What does it mean to be public media?  Some believe we should just continue what we're doing, and others believe we need to push further to serve broader and more diverse public.  Is there a third way that would allow us to do both?  How to accomplish it?  At a time when resources are tight, staff is at capacity doing day to day operations, how do we take on the (exciting and perplexing) challenge to turn the public media ship in a new direction.

Stations + Independent Producers Tying the Knot - or How to Get What You Want and Know What You're Getting

September 22, 2:00 p.m.                  

  • John Crigler - Garvey, Schubert, Barer
  • Davia Nelson - Producer,  Kitchen Sisters
  • Matt Meshery - Director of Digital Initiatives,  ITVS
  • Hawk Mendenhall – Assoc. GM/ Dir. of Broadcast and Content, KUT

In order for new invention to flourish and collaborations to thrive, a strong foundation is essential.  With assistance from Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, AIR has developed a model legal framework designed to guide innovative partnerships between independent producers and stations.  We'll look to that, and hear from those intimately familiar with such key issues framing the scope of a project, forming a mutual vision, fees and compensation, and how parties will divide or share intellectual property rights.

See the full conference program here.