Pubradio talent pool compromised by 2009 losses, Schardt warns

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For public radio’s field of independent producers, 2009 was a year of both retrenchment and movement, writes Sue Schardt, executive director of the Association of Independents in Radio, in an AIRmuse feature story assessing the state of affairs from the perspective of indies. Network shows that had been platforms for the creativity of AIR members were canceled, but a new CPB-funded initiative to experiment with multi-platform production, Makers Quest 2.0, took flight and garnered support from both stations and networks. “The ability of public radio to retain and cultivate its talent pool remains compromised, and there is no clear resolution in sight,” Schardt writes. “This is a significant crisis, not only for AIR, but for stations, the networks, CPB, and all concerned about the viability of the industry going forward.” She sees opportunities ahead in the push by outside constituencies to restructure public broadcasting as public media, and by the growth of AIR’s membership to a historic 760 members, an increasing portion of which are young adults just beginning their careers. Schardt also shares four tenets that bolster her resolve to forge ahead, despite the setbacks, including this one: “Put energy towards the projects, the people, the organizations who create a positive charge, who ‘get’ your vision.”