If there were an Academy Awards of mission statements or manifestos, Louisville Public Media’s introduction would take top honors in all categories for a public media company.
Luckily Todd Mundt blogged it at his own site, or I would have missed it.
For anyone that cares about the future of public media, this is required reading, even if you read nothing else this year. It sums up the challenges and the opportunities for local public media in one succinct document. It nails the methods (in broad strokes, of course) and attitudes required for a public service company that uses media to connect people to one another, to issues and information and so on.
Even the logo matches the mission — no small task.
Upon reading this intro, I immediately forwarded it to my fellow managers. Next it will go to our board, who will hopefully embrace it as part of a rather gut-wrenching strategic planning process. Fortunately this one-page explanation is based in media reality and explains how we can, indeed, serve our community in the evolving world.
- Who participated in writing this introduction?
- In a high-level summary, what steps were taken to reach this strategic point?
- How hard was it for the PRP to reach the LPM conclusion? Were there roadblocks?
- How do you feel about plagiarism? 😉
Perhaps I could coax Todd — or someone else — to help answer these questions? I’ll definitely try.
Just in case the introduction is ever taken down, I’ve included it below for safe keeping — after the jump.
In the mean time, congratulations to Louisville Public Media.
Welcome to Louisville Public Media
Beginning this month, Public Radio Partnership has a new name and a new vision.
By the action of our Board of Directors, we are now LOUISVILLE PUBLIC MEDIA. This name will appear in our on-air announcements, our printed materials, and on our front door.
What does our new name imply? Simply put, it reflects our determination to refashion and reshape our organization in the on-line, on-demand world of digital media and provide a new era of service to our community:
LOUISVILLE – In an era of media consolidation in which local outlets are rapidly downsizing or disappearing, we are reaffirming our primary commitment to serve the people of this region. We believe we will play an increasingly important role as “a trusted space” where Louisville can come together to talk about itself and plan its future. We want to connect citizens with each other to engage them more directly in solving the problems that face us all, and to enhance partnerships and build connections between those involved in making life better for everyone in our community.
PUBLIC — Although technologies are changing rapidly, the values which have always distinguished public radio will be carried forward – a commitment to quality, a commitment to creativity, and a commitment to multi-cultural diversity. We believe the public has a right to high-quality news and information programs and the best in cultural programs regardless of background or income. Although much of the media today appeals to the worst in us (through cynical manipulation and degrading or condescending content), we believe that media can and should be used to empower citizens and enhance the quality of our lives. Real democracy is not possible without an informed electorate and engaged citizens.
MEDIA – Radio, which has proven to be a very durable medium over the decades, will remain our core business. But we intend to provide our programming in the future over whatever new media technologies and methods emerge; in this sense, we will be media platform “agnostics.” The media landscape is changing at an unprecedented pace driven by a complete transformation of the relationship between people and information. The public radio audience will be looking for new kinds of information, new tools and services, and new ways to get things done. We are not threatened by this change. We see it as an opportunity to become even more relevant to the people we serve though intelligent risk-taking and experimentation.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967 with a clear mission “to inform, entertain, and educate the American people.” It was given a mandate to take public radio and television beyond the narrow strictures of traditional mainstream media, and public radio and television had great success in creating unique and valuable programs and stretching the boundaries of existing media. But the broadcast system is still essentially “one-way,” with programmers creating schedules for listening and choosing which programs and which issues to highlight.
The new media which are emerging promise a quite different approach to public service content, one in which members of the public play an active role in shaping media. The new public media are not “one-way streets;” they are, in fact, much more like a “conversation” in which citizens become active makers and users of media for and in public life.
Louisville Public Media believes that the new universe of digital social media tools can be used to enhance democratic life in our community. It is our intention to become a model for the rest of the country in the use of new media for public purposes. It is an ambitious goal, but we see no reason not to be innovators rather than followers in this field. As a first step we have completely overhauled our station and Louisville Public Media websites with the addition of real-time playlists for our musical selections and community forums to solicit feedback about content. Over the next few months, we will be talking to many of you in our community about becoming partners with us in other new projects. They may be totally new departures, or they may be extensions of already existing initiatives such as our Ohio River Valley environmental reporting project, or our efforts to improve coverage of the arts and humanities in Kentucky. Interactivity – enhancing the “conversation” between the stations and the audience – will be the key.
When WFPL, the first station in Louisville’s public radio triumvirate, was created in 1950 by the Louisville Free Public Library, the founders issued a statement defending their investment in the radio station by saying that “in the future, we believe that many people will get their information from sources other than books and magazines.” There were critics at the time who doubted the wisdom of spending money on the yet-untested medium of FM. But FM proved to be more than a flash in the pan and the station founders turned out to be prescient indeed. In that same spirit, Louisville Public Media believes it is entirely appropriate now (and entirely consistent with our past practice) to take the lead in bringing the next era of media to this community. It will be quite an adventure, and we hope that you will join us in making our vision a reality.
Louisville Public Media is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that provides three quality public radio stations for you: 89.3FM WFPL, 90.5FM WUOL and 91.9FM WFPK. The financial support of our community of listeners sustains and expands our programs. Whether you’re an individual tuning in on your radio receiver or listening outside the reach of our broadcast signal with our online audio streaming, you can be a part of sustaining the mission of public radio by becoming a member.