Will NPR’s podcasts birth a new business model for public radio?

Last summer, the folks running National Public Radio started to get a clear message from their listeners and member stations: Give us podcasts! They received e-mail requests from listeners for months, and the term “podcast” was one of the most searched terms on NPR.org. The public spoke, and NPR listened, launching podcasts on Aug. 31. [more]

Communications + Community = ???

Here is a piece I wrote in the July 2005 issue of inFOCUS

So what does it mean to use the tools of mass
communication (television, radio, and the Internet) within
a community context? What happens when the commercial
push of profit and advertising are not the dictators of
what gets shown? Is community television (or radio)
different than public television (or radio)? How does the
vast openness of the Internet get focused and used so it
serves a common good and not just individual pleasure?
As I enter new work, both at LTC and at the UMass-Lowell,
these are the questions that keep bubbling up in my mind.

Places like LTC are unique. There are very few spaces
in our current landscape where powerful resources are put
into the hands of the average citizen. These resources
are given freely. The use is with no-strings attached. The
only requests are to share and respect the rights and safety
of others. Unlike commercial television (or even public
television), the information and content produced must
serve no other master than the expressive mind of the
creator. Dollars and political agendas do not determine
what gets cablecast. Rather a system of shared use
amongst a range of individual interests prevails. An
electronic commons is the gift we have been given.
Amazing to think that a system where significant funding
comes from a private interest (the cable company) and
sanctioned by the public (the local government), community
television is beholden to neither but exists to serve and
be used by you, the community. It is yours to use as you
see fit and with the hope that you will use it well.

As LTC’s interests in online communities begin to gel
around projects like the DigitalBicycle, it is important for
us to think through how these technologies will serve the
community here and elsewhere. Will local communities
have the ability to determine how these systems will be
used? Is a culture of sharing what is produced rewarded
Will commercialism be resisted? Are all welcome to participate?
These are the questions we must ask to ensure that community
is preserved.

And what a dream it would be if all of our community
information and communication resources were put toward that
ideal of creating an information and communication commons.
If we as a community demanded more from our media than
entertainment as means to sell us more stuff. A community
communication system would enrich us. It would reflect who we
are as a community. It would allow us to discuss and share
important stories. It would tell us where we have been and
where we are going. It would be accountable to us (not the
politicians, not the corporations, not the advertisers) . us, the
community.

Community Media – Future Roles

I keep misplacing this brief overview of roles that I sent to the ACM list over a year ago. Thought I should post it here to I won’t loose it again.

CURRENT RESOURCES
I completely agree with you about your assessment on the need for studio space that is easier to use as well as a valuable asset that should not be given up. Also agree that LIVE programming becomes one of the things we have to offer that will continue to draw producers out of their homes. I also see the trend in staff produced initiatives that Chuck highlights. We should always be the folks who provide access to skills, equipment and systems outside the means / abilities of the average citizen (at this time it includes leveraging the skills of computer programmers, much like the early days of video engineering). We should also be prepared for the coming age of distributed distribution (via P2P and IP-enable systems) and the delivery of content by telcos and other infrastructure providers. Nothing that folks on this list aren’t already well aware of.In my mind, I see the field filling the following roles in the future:

EDUCATORS / KNOWLEDGE BROKERS
clearly this is a strong part of our tradition and as long as we stay ahead of the curve and continue to offer up knowledge at affordable or low-cost levels, we will have an important role to play. From my own experience, deepening and professionalizing our education programs needs to happen in many places.

COMMUNITY CONTENT GUIDES / AUDIENCE BROKER As we enter a world of increasing overabundance of content dished up via the Internet, how will anyone know where to find relevant content and information? We can be come the local guides / editors and recommendors of what’s out there. Building off strong local trust and reputation is key to fulfilling this role.

CONVENORS / CATALYSTS / ADVOCATES
Like other great public institutions (i.e. government, schools,
libraries), community communication centers have the ability to bring together folks who normally wouldn’t come together. Our broadconstituencies tied to a tradition of protecting free speech, and our understanding of technology developments and policies position us well to play an important role that few can fill. Challenge is how to we grow and strengthen this ability.

CULTURAL FACILITATORS / PRESERVATIONISTS
As more and more of our history and experiences get caught on media, electrified and digitized, we can play a leadership role in securing that this history is saved. We can also ensure that stories and knowledge that might disappear, get captured.

COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION (not just community media) With new forms and methods for sharing content and communicating with others, we should also be developing and promoting new “social” uses of communication technologies. These include everything from blogs, to discussion forums, to websites, to interactive community spaces (check out http://www.civicspacelabs.org and http://www.goskokie.org).This is a bit of the future I see. I’m glad you started this thread. Looking forward to more contributions from the list.

morph: Media, Technology & Repression – Any Questions?

morph: Media, Technology & Repression – Any Questions?: “At The Media Center we try to focus on enabling a better-informed society, and to seek trends, insights and opportunities hidden within the remarkable chaos we’re witnessing at the intersection of media, technology and society. Technology is enabling a level of individual empowerment that’s unprecedented in human history – a capacity not only to access the world’s information but to create, share and apply it, what we call We Media.

The power to connect cuts across all sectors of society, not just media companies or institutions in the traditional sense. My language, my reference points, maybe even the name of my organization, probably do an injustice to the sweeping changes empowering individuals, businesses, non-profits and governments to communicate directly with each other, to be media rather than use it.

Technorati Tags: wemedia

I am an irrational optimist, my hope springs eternal – I believe our collective futures will depend on our ability to share information and ideas like never before – certainly faster and in greater volume, and far exceeding the capabilities or impact of traditional journalism, traditional marketing, traditional anything based on control of information. The communications technologies and ideas we see emerging will enable an unprecedented scale of sharing.

But to what end? Where is all this sharing and collaboration leading us?” [more]

Rhizome.org: Info–About Us

Rhizome.org: Info–About Us: “Rhizome.org is an online platform for the global new media art community. Our programs support the creation, presentation, discussion and preservation of contemporary art that uses new technologies in significant ways. We foster innovation and inclusiveness in everything we do.”

Cell phone podcasting?

Mobilcast from Melodeo is being touted as the first solution marrying podcasting to cell phones. Apparently the company never heard of SmartFeed or Skookum (the artist formerly known as iPodderSP). Regardless, this is the ghost of podcasting yet to come. As soon as the price comes down on phones like the Nokia N91 with multi-GB hard drives, the distinction between cell phone and iPod will become blurred. Posted by Jake

Rocketboom’s Powerful Lift-Off

These are the early days of video blogging. Most of the postings on the Web are rough and tedious — little more than home movies. But the success of Rocketboom and a few sites like it underscore the potential of video blogs. Cheaper video recorders mean just about anyone can make videos, while the spread of speedy Net service means almost anybody can watch clips posted online. The result? The Internet is coming alive with a mix of video, from the polished parody of Rocketboom to the raw interviews of reporters. As these videos flow into the living room, they will reshape what we think of as television. “TV will be transformed,” says Mitchell Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corp. (IBM ) and now an investor in Participatory Culture, an online video startup. “People will look at it as historically quaint that you had to watch something that others chose for you.”