Friday, July 21, 2017


Public radio and digital media folks will gather next month of the Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) annual Public Radio Content Conference at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington, DC. The conference is happening Monday, August 14th through Thursday, August 17th.

Here are helpful links for the Content Conference:

Complete conference information is here.

Conference registration is here. Note that today (Friday 7/21) is the final day for lower registration dates.

Marriott Marquis Hotel info is here.

As I’ve done in past years, today we are featuring conference panels and events we feel are particularly notable. But, these are just a few of the panels and events. Check out the full conference schedule here.

 Monday, August 14

6:30pm – 9:00pm • Opening Reception at The Newseum

WAMU, the number one radio station in Washington, DC, hosts attendees for the Content Conference’s Opening Reception. The Newseum is a fascinating place regardless of whether you are a news hound or not. The last time I was at the Newseum I saw a terrific exhibit about covering the Beatles first appearance in the US.

The Newseum is, in part, a gift to journalists by Al Neuharth, the longtime leader of Gannett Media and creator of USA Today. The story goes that Neuharth felt sheepish about criticism of USA Today –  “best investigative paragraph, etc." – and wanted to be known for something more circumstantial. That desire led the Newseum.

Stop by and congratulate JJ Yore and everyone at WAMU for their leadership in public media.

Tuesday, August 15

Fred Jacobs
9:00am – 10:30am • Millennial Research Project

Fred Jacobs from Jacobs Media presents results from the ninth Public Radio Tech Survey and new research about millennial-age folks media usage and perceptions.

 Highly recommended.

Eric Nuzum
11:00am – 12:00pm • Eric Nuzum Presents Creative Visions for Managers

Former NPR Programming VP Eric Nuzum comes back home to share knowledge he has gained from his current gig as Senior VP of Original Content at Audible. Nuzum is a one-of-kind self-starter who has created remarkable media content himself and inspired others to to same.

Nuzum excels at defining a creative vision for managers and creative teams. He will share techniques he has used at NPR and Audible to motivate managers and teams to do their best work. Highly recommended.

Wende Persons
11:00am – 12:00pm • Classical Spark's Best Practices for Station Promotion

Wende Persons and other folks from Classical Music Rising are doing a wonderful job analyzing and refreshing the presentation of Classical music on the radio. Stop by and hear about their latest initiatives.

At this session you will hear first-hand from Classical music content creators discussing strategies to keep stations visible and valuable to their listeners and communities. Topics include station positioning, branding clarity, and Ten Tips for effective on-air promotion to keep people listening and coming back for more.

2:00pm – 3:00pm • Sound Like Your City

“Local” is an important part of a stations value and brand. This session explores secrets for creating a “signature local sound and identity. We’ve learned that embracing and promoting the Sense of Place is vital increasing listeners perceived value of a station. At this session, content creators will provide tips and best practices to build loyalty an inject new urgency and relevance for stations.

2:00pm – 3:00pm • Increasing Digital Impact At Classical Stations

This is a must-attend session for Classical music folks and certain to be of interest to anyone involved with music on radio and companion platforms. Classical Music Rising and other panelists will look at what’s “sticky” for music listeners.  Because we live and work in a rapidly shifting digital landscape, this is an opportunity to learn more about digital techniques and content that are being used now to increase listening and engagement. Highly recommended.

3:30pm – 5:00pm • Reveal Your Community

Al Letson and others from the Center for Investigative Reporting and the folks from PRX share their experiences about launching Reveal as a national program and template for community engagement. Hear how Reveal has been successful in getting local stations to become involved with long-form collaborative investigations. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 16

Allison Rockey
8:00am – 9:15am • Digital Disruption of News & Media

Join Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR's On Point, and other journalists who have learned how to go beyond “normal” and use new technologies to present news and other content of multiple platforms. Other panelists include Jeremy Gibson, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Washington Post, Matt Thompson, Deputy Editor of, and Allison Rockey, Director of Programming for Vox.

9:30am – 10:30am • Driven to Disruption

Your vehicle is becoming a multimedia experience and sometime soon we will have self-driving vehicles. With all of this technology (and perhaps some free time) what will the changes mean for public media?

Kristen Muller from KPCC and Umbreen Bhatti from KQED’s Innovations Lab host an interactive workshop focused on the challenges of ] autonomous vehicles and other changes to the ways listeners commute.

Roger LaMay
9:30am – 10:30am • What Is Next for Public Music Stations Digital Platforms?

WXPN GM Roger LaMay hosts a panel about new trends in digital platforms, mobile devices, and streaming services. They will examine how algorithms, Spotify, YouTube and Apple TV, etc. are changing the way we discover and enjoy music. LaMay has assembled an all-star panel including Hawk Mendenhall from KUT and Jennifer Ferro from KCRW. Highly recommended.

11:00am – 12:00pm • Identifying Talent for Public Media’s Future

New voices and managers are the key to public radio’s continuing success.

Al Letson
2:45pm – 4:00pm • Journalism in the Age of Trump

Al Letson, host of Reveal, presents a panel discussing ethics and responsibility of journalism in the so-called Fake News era. 

Letson is joined by New Yorker writers Kelefa Sanneh and Sarah Stillman about how journalism can best serve the public by maintaining a strong stance for truthful reporting on institutional power.

4:15pm – 5:45pm • Format Groups Meetings

Folks from NPR News stations, Classical, Triple A and Jazz stations discuss the current state and future of their formats.

Thursday, August 17

8:00am – 9:15am • PRX's Project Catapult

This highly anticipated session discussed PRX’s work with stations to utilize on-demand audio. Representatives from seven stations participating in the CPB funded Project Catapult talk about their process and what they’ve learned that works with their listeners. Highly recommended.

Tamar Charney
9:30am – 10:30am • On-demand Platforms Are All About the Audience

Tamar Charney, Managing Editor of NPR One, shares recent examples about how stations are using NPR One as part of their content strategy. Highly recommended.

9:30am – 10:30am Podcast to Radio, or Vice Versa?

What comes first, the radio program or the podcast? Stations are hungry for new content and much of the system’s creativity is going to new podcasts. Is it possible to have a “both/and” strategy instead of an “either/or” strategy?

11:00am – 12:00pm • Audience, Impact and Revenue From Content Events

In the coming year, PRPD and Culture Casts will conduct a study of station events and these events affect Audience, Impact and Revenue.

One goal is to establish metrics to establish benchmarks to evaluate content that most cost-effectively expands digital and broadcast experiences.

2:00pm – 3:00pm • The Trouble With Reality (and Journalism)

Brooke Gladstone
Brooke Gladstone, co-host of WNYC’s On the Media and Virginia Prescott, host of Word of Mouth on New Hampshire Public Radio walk us through the minefield of journalism in the 21st Century. In some ways there is nothing new happening today – we still have demagogues and stereotypes – but the methods of reporting stories has changed. Does public radio’s tradition hold up and how can we build on it for the future. Highly recommended.

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