Video on KPBS' use of Google Maps

Those of us that follow public media already know the story of the San Diego wildfires last fall and how KPBS online staff rose to the occasion with a quick usage of Google Maps and Twitter to keep the public informed. It’s a great story.

Now Google, in a lightly self-promotional way, has posted a video starring the team from KPBS that made it all possible. It’s wonderful to see new media folks in the public media world getting some credit. And now you’ll be able to spot them at the next conference you attend!

For more from the KPBS team — and others that have used social media in disaster situations — be sure to listen to the Disaster Relief and Emergency Preparedness session from IMA 2008:

The wildfires in southern California, the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the bombing in London. Hear the experiences of our colleagues faced with these crises: what tools they used, how they deployed their staff; what collaborations helped them deliver effective service.

Moderator: Andy Carvin, NPR

Panelists: Leng Caloh, Senior Online Editor, KPBS; Peter Horrocks, Head of the Multi Media Newsroom, BBC; Julia Schrenkler, New Media Interactive Producer, Minnesota Public Radio


Download the original MP3 audio file here.

IMA 2008 Audio: Sat, Feb 23

Here are the conference sessions recorded on the last day of Public Media 08 in Los Angeles — February 23, 2008. All available audio files are listed. Missing sessions either were not recorded or encountered technical problems. You can get more information about the sessions and speakers at the IMA wiki or the IMA web site.

IMA 2008 Audio: Fri, Feb 22

Here are the conference sessions recorded on the second official day of Public Media 08 in Los Angeles — February 22, 2008. All available audio files are listed. Missing sessions either were not recorded or encountered technical problems. You can get more information about the sessions and speakers at the IMA wiki or the IMA web site.

IMA 2008 Audio: Thu, Feb 21

Here are the sessions recorded on the first full day of the Public Media 08 conference in Los Angeles on February 21, 2008. All available audio files are listed. Missing sessions either were not recorded or encountered technical problems. You can get more information about the sessions and speakers at the IMA wiki or the IMA web site.

If you have any corrections to share, please do! You can post them in the comments or contact me directly.

IMA 2008 Audio: Revenue Sessions

I attended the Tech sessions during the pre-conference, but I’m discovering I probably should have attended these instead. There’s a lot to learn below about building web traffic and making money online. I’m glad we’ve got them to share…

If you have any corrections to share, please do! You can post them in the comments or contact me directly.

IMA 2008 Audio: CEO Sessions (Day 2)

There were two days of CEO sessions but only the second day was forwarded to me for processing. I’m told one of the speeches from Day 1 was fantastic and was the most-requested audio from the show, so the loss of Day 1 is really unfortunate. Perhaps someone else has a recording to share?

If you have any corrections to share, please do! You can post them in the comments or contact me directly.

IMA 2008 conference audio posted

For those interested in downloading parts of last month’s Public Media 08 conference in Los Angeles, there’s a batch of audio now posted online on the IMA wiki. I’ll also post all the links in a little more organized and clean fashion here at this site, in follow-up posts.

Though I wasn’t planning on it, I ended up editing all the audio from the conference sessions as a volunteer, and yes, that’s me you hear at the start of each audio file.

One technical note… Big thanks go out to Doug Kaye and the Conversations Network team — their free Levelator program (Windows, Mac and Linux) makes batch audio processing for spoken-word events much, much easier. Highly recommended.

Doc Searls on the future of public media

Back in the midst of the IMA 2008 conference Doc Searls posted a brief, yet deep, article on what he sees for the future of public media (with an open source perspective).

For anyone looking to find a way forward for public media — whether inside legacy public broadcasting companies or in new freestanding nonprofit entities — this listing of core assumptions and tenets is critical to know and see.

My own favorite excerpts:

  • The market for public media will finally become… conversational and participatory.
  • There will be a new business model for public media, based on the ability of listeners and viewers to pay as much as they want, for whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want.
  • Membership will mean more than schwag and promotion payoffs. We will cease to conflate transaction with relationship, and start relating to listeners and viewers in ways that conform to the shape of their wants, need an habits as well as ours.
  • Cell phones will be the new radios and televisions.
  • Websites will become as inadequate as transmitters. That is, both will remain necessary but insufficient means for reaching listeners and viewers, and for relating to them.
  • Archives will be the ultimate killer kontent. … Bigger inventory, bigger income.
  • The end of analog terrestrial television will be a big mess and a wake-up call in more ways than we can name.
  • Brands and reputations will matter more than ever. …they will be enriched or impoverished by the degrees to which they participate in a marketplace sustained by real relationships, and not just by marketing that goes by that name.

But those are just my highlights. Be sure to read the entire article for the full effect.

Required Reading: FREE!

I was chatting with the boss this week when I made a shocking suggestion.

I told him that one or perhaps all of the audio (radio) programs we create today — and for which we charge hefty fees to “member” stations — be simply given away to any station that wanted it.

Immediately he shot back: “But someone has to pay for that content!”

I love these situations. I get to try out newfangled business or economics insights to suggest something that’s anathema to the old guard (people and/or ideas). Plus, it’s a little logical fallacy that’s fun to pick apart:

  • Me: Give it away for free.
  • Him: We can’t — someone has to pay for it.
  • Me: Who said no one would pay for it?

Indeed, someone must pay for the people and equipment (mostly people) required to produce award-winning content, regardless of medium or delivery system. The future isn’t all user-generated content (UGC).

The notion of free has come up a lot for me in the last year, as I’ve ruminated on the idea that PBS and NPR should give away all their content to incumbent pubcasting stations for free. (But someone has to pay for that content!) I’ll explore more of that idea in postings to come.

For now, I’d like to share some FREE readings that have been published within the last week concerning this notion of giving it away, seemingly willy-nilly. The notion of “free” has actually been a viable business option for decades, but in the digital media space the idea is gaining widespread traction very quickly.

Why free?

Because in the digital media world, where every user is one link away from any other user and everything can be digitally copied to perfection with little or no impediments, maintaining control is becoming impossible. Plus, as media content volume rises toward infinity (or certainly more than any one person can possibly consume), the value of content (in broad terms) falls toward zero.

So, here are my picks for the late February 2008 “free reader” if you want to get schooled in how and why giving it away makes sense in lots of situations:

Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business
Chris Anderson / Wired / 25 Feb 2008

Anderson was the author of the article and follow-on book called The Long Tail that’s been cited as much as any Web 2.0 meme can possibly be cited. It’s accepted as a given truth (a little too easily, I might add) at this point. Now he’s been exploring the notion of free as a part of viable business models and this is the opening article in what’s sure to be both a series of thought pieces and, eventually a book. This is basically the seminal article of “free” at this point. There’s even a little intro video included with the article, featuring Anderson himself.

Chris Anderson Takes Up The Free Banner
Mike Masnick / Techdirt / 25 Feb 2008

That ‘Free’ Stuff Is Catching On…
Mike Masnick / Techdirt /26 Feb 2008

Masnick is a wizard at both succintcly explaining tech-focused business developments and eviscerating ideas that make no sense. In these two cases, he points out the Anderson article, adds some other links, and in the first article points out the mistake in Anderson’s logic — the notion that the “free” model turns economic principles on their heads. He rightly points out that, no, in fact no laws of economics are broken. Well worth your two clicks so you don’t get sucked into believing FREE is bigger than it is.

Free is the Future
Lee LeFever / Common Craft / 26 Feb 2008

Step aside from the free hyperbole for a moment and read this piece. In this case, the guy that owns and operates the Common Craft custom video development service explains all the ways in which his business — a money-making venture, to be sure — has benefited by using free technologies and services from other businesses. Indeed, his two-person shop is wildly successful today precisely due to the impacts those free services had on their ability to get the word out and share their work. It’s a great piece because Lefever takes you step by step through the ways in which “free” made their profitable business possible.

Free Is A Great Way To Make Money
Fred Wilson / A VC / 25 Feb 2008

This post is mostly a link over to the Anderson article — with one exception. Wilson points to one of his own posts from July 2005 (!) that discusses the notion of free in business models.

Better Than Free
Kevin Kelly / The Technium / 31 Jan 2008

  • Immediacy
  • Personalization
  • Interpretation
  • Authenticity
  • Accessibility
  • Embodiment
  • Patronage
  • Findability

Sick of discovering how you have to give it all away? Wondering how you’ll actually make money? Well here’s the antidote to the free movement — here’s what can’t be given away, what really carries lasting value. This article probably had more buzz at the IMA conference than perhaps any other because it lays down a conceptual map for the services that public media can provide that are fundamentally undisruptable (yes, I just made that word up).

The IMA impasse

I’m finally back home from the IMA 2008 conference (2,300 miles later). I’m tired, I’m Twittered out, and I’m facing both a mound of catch-up work as well as one of the busiest weeks of the year. But I wanted to capture my impressions from the conference, much as Todd Mundt and Tim Eby have done.

Overall, it was a good conference as usual. Interesting projects were profiled from all over the system, but nothing was truly game-changing at a macro level. There were exhortations that we need to do more, reserve more of our budgets, boost traffic and so on. Palpable fear ran through the conference about TV, partially due to DTV in 2009, partially sparked by the universally-hated NY Times article. Radio, while considered at risk eventually, is firing on all cylinders for the moment and doesn’t yet show fear.

But here are, in my opinion, the truly interesting items, borne from meta-issues swirling around the conference but not directly addressed:

  1. The IMA and Mark Fuerst (one of the IMA’s originators and the de facto CEO for many years) have changed the nature of their relationship. They now have a formal (or more formal) contractual relationship, and will pursue full 501(c)(3) status for the organization. The implications of this change are unclear to me, but it might signal a real sea change in how IMA operates and what goals it pursues. The way it was presented left me with lingering concerns, given Fuerst’s strong advocacy for online service. If he’s not pushing as hard in the future as he has in the past, what becomes of IMA?
  2. Fuerst ended the conference with comments that were strongly (and accurately) critical of the system’s lack of development in the online space, pointing out one stat showing that in 2005 the PubTV system invested just 0.66% of spending in online work. Naturally, this paucity of investment has resulted in pathetic web traffic systemwide. Fuerst seemed almost angry in his closing comments. Rightly so, but it was the first time I’d experienced a conclusion that was negative in tone.
  3. The IMA members meeting and one of the sessions focused on the questions, “Can we / should we bring more nonprofit public service media entities into the IMA fold?” Reactions were positive to the idea, though I don’t think anyone could imagine what this would mean to the IMA in the long run. The most obvious nonprofit pure-play web entity that might partner with IMA was Wikipedia, represented at the conference by their Executive Director, the former interactive manager for

In my (current) view, IMA appears to be at an impasse. We seem to have reached a point where integrated media advocacy has given out, where recommendations and demonstrations fail to move our organizations to meaningful action.

To date, IMA has been effective at putting the online services question on the table within public broadcasting and has done so eloquently and repeatedly. But for all the work completed, no significant sea change has yet arrived. Meanwhile, the house of public TV is on fire, we’re losing audience to a fracturing media world across the board and new players (like Wikipedia and others) have stolen “our” web traffic and possibly our raison d’etre.

I’ve been to IMA for the past four years straight. I’ve been excited by the projects and keep feeling like there’s so much opportunity in front of us. But in those four years, not much has changed in my shop nor in the system at large.

I’m left wondering… what now?