Monday, October 23, 2017


Station managers, programmers, independent producers and journalists are invited to join Switch On, Tune In:  Public Media’s New Local Frontier, a webinar, this Thursday (10/26) at 1:00pm ET.

Tom Webster from Edison Research will present benchmark data, participant feedback and suggestions for new ways to serve a variety of local communities. Webster will be joined by Sue Schardt, CEO of AIR with the assistance of Kate Krosschell and Ryan McGrath, and representatives from two stations who participated in the project: Michelle Maternowski, Digital Services Coordinator at WUWM, Milwaukee and Rachel Hubbard, Associate Director & General Manager at KOSU, Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The data arises from three studies that Edison Research did about AIR's Localore initiative. The research was conducted in the summer and fall of 2016. AIR's partners are Greater Public, ITVS, NFCB, and PRPD.

Localore is an AIR multi-stage project that began in 2010.  The third iteration of the production, Finding America, wrapped up in November 2016.   

The work focuses on building local content collaborations between independent producers, public radio and TV stations, and community collaborators. Fifteen production teams were embedded in neighborhoods not typically engaged with the public media station. Each team took a new approach to local storytelling multiple platforms – broadcast, digital, and in the physical space of the community.

Each of the three studies examined Localore from a different point of view. The in-tab respondents in each studied varied significantly:

(1.) Exit polling was done with attendees at the six live events. The respondents tended to be younger, indexed more female, and were ethnically more diverse than the typical public media consumer.

Events where exit polling was conducted were:

Every ZIP Philadelphia & the Village Storytelling Block Party in Philadelphia

Beyond Belief Viewing Party in Kansas City 

Secretly Y’all, Unmonumental and Untold RVA Present: Secret
Stories of Self- 
Determined Change in Richmond 

“Roane is Better Together”: A TruckBeat storytelling night in Harriman, TN, near Knoxville

Dímelo’s End of Year Celebration Party in Tucson 

Unprisoned BYO Live: “When the Young Feel Old” in New Orleans, 

(2.) A market study was done with a sample of residents in the 15 Localore markets. Respondents reflected the general demographics of each area.

(3.) An online survey was done with Community Collaborators in the 15 markets. The collaborators were the heaviest consumers of public media. They were markedly wealthier, and had attained significantly higher levels of education than respondents in the other two groups.

 Webster will have complete information. He will take questions and listen to new ideas.  Topics that are likely to be discussed include:

• Community collaborators tend to be public media savvy and are “switched on.” Engaging with these people is important. Also, station and independent producers should be encouraged to reach outside of the “influential” cohort to gather a fuller range stories and viewpoints.

• Events are a good way to broaden the composition of station audience.  Event attendees are younger and more female than the typical public media audience. Events focus the public's interest and they represent a larger slice of the community as a whole.

• People are tired of so much negative news. Respondents in all three groups say they want to hear fewer negative stories. They say they want to hear more positive news, particularly local news.  People are not looking for “fluff” stories. They want to hear about thinhs that are working well.

The Switch On, Tune In:  Public Media’s New Local Frontier webinar is free to all participants. Registration information is available at:

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