‘The Pub’ #38: Robin Amer, winner of WNYC’s Podcast Accelerator competition

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Robin Amer ©Alissa Pagels

Amer (Photo: Alissa Pagels)

If you want to know how to impress the likes of WNYC, pay attention to how Robin Amer did it. Out of a global pool of 370 applicants, she won WNYC’s Podcast Accelerator competition last week and will now have the opportunity to pilot her show idea, The City.

Actually, there were two winners, as the judges couldn’t settle on just one. Kathy Tu and Tobin Low will get to pilot their show Gaydio, which is “exactly what it sounds like,” Low said.

Amer describes her show as being like HBO’s dramatic series The Wire, but true. Both shows seem targeted at a younger-than-normal public media audience.

“Most of the listeners to this podcast will roll their eyes if they have to read another stupid think piece about millennials and probably don’t self-identify as such,” Amer told me on The Pub.

“But here’s what we know about that generation: That generation is the most-diverse and the most well-educated generation in American history, so the content that we need to produce for them has to reflect that.”

Amer also said millennials, such as herself, expect “some blending of journalism and entertainment.” It would seem the WNYC judges agree.

This week on The Pub, Amer talks about her big plans. Also:

  • Evan Smith, c.e.o. and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, dishes his nonprofit’s secrets to raising money with live events (from a panel at the 2015 Online News Association conference moderated by Kai Ryssdal).
  • Sabrina Roach talks about her job, which is quite possibly the most interesting and unusual in public media: a “doer” at Brown Paper Tickets. The ticketing company pays her to do nothing other than work to make public media stronger.

I’m looking for your stories about negative audience feedback you’ve received — anything that sticks in your mind I’d love to include in the show. Record yourself talking about what happened and how it made you feel, and be sure to quote from the feedback itself. Send that audio to adam@current.org along with a link to whatever content provoked the complaint, if it’s available.

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We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at adam@current.org or @aragusea on Twitter; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at mike@current.org; and you can contact Current generally at news@current.org or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.

If you’d like to offer a comment to be used in the program, please send on-mic tape (recorded in a studio, with a kit, a smartphone, anything) to adam@current.org either as an attachment or through Google Drive. Please keep it short!

Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

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  • Mark Pugner

    Millenials are not the most educated generation ever, they are the most indoctrinated by a progressive education establishment. These people like to think that they are difficult to manipulate, but they don’t actually have critical thinking skills.

    • Adam Ragusea

      I, an educated millennial, seem to be thinking quite critically about you at the moment.

      • Mark Pugner

        Are you really though?

        • Adam Ragusea

          Thanks to you for your equally generous reply. Remember to not use a comma between the two nouns in a compound object.

          • Mark Pugner

            Thanks for the tip.

            On another topic, it’s not surprising the woman and the gay podcast won the contest. The WNYC panel is prejudiced in favor of minority groups.

          • Adam Ragusea

            And making an effort to better reflect the diversity of the audience is a bad thing because?

          • Mark Pugner

            I didn’t say it was a bad thing, I just noted that the judges were probably all prejudiced and biased. I wonder how far a conservative or libertarian host or producer, with a good idea, would advance in this contest?

            Conservatives and progressives often misunderstand each other because they look at the world through a different vision.

          • Adam Ragusea

            Making programming decisions to advance broader institutional goals is not prejudice or bias. It’s strategy.

            Who says a conservative host or producer didn’t advance in that contest? I don’t recall any of the finalists saying anything about their personal political leanings, though I’ll grant you that if I had to guess, my guess would probably look like yours.

            As I’ve written about extensively, I agree that public media needs to be a lot more proactive about hiring talent from the right, but people on the right need to meet public media halfway and throw their hats in the ring more often.

          • MarkJeffries

            But if Fox News pays better than public radio…

          • Aaron Read

            True story: a couple years ago I was at a house party on Cape Cod, attended largely by Manhattanites who ranged from “fairly successful” to “rich-but-not-filthy rich”. I was in a knot of folks chatting, and one woman was being noticeably evasive about what she did for a living. At one point it was mentioned that I worked for an NPR station and out of the corner of my eye, I happened to notice the blood drain out of her face.

            Later I learned that she was a high-level producer on one of Fox News’s biggest “name” shows (I won’t identify it lest I risk ID’ing the person in question, who was actually very pleasant to hang out with). While she actually kinda liked the work itself, she hated herself for working at Fox News. Problem was the gig paid so well she couldn’t easily leave…a real problem when you live in a place like NYC where COL is insanely high.

            So that’s worth keeping in mind: what public radio doesn’t pay in dollars, they do pay in smug superiority. :)