Vivian Schiller may no longer be president of NPR, but that isn’t stopping her from making news with her views on public radio. “You are now competing in the big leagues and are no longer the scrappy underdog,” she said, addressing her remarks to former colleagues during a speech at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center Wednesday (April 20). “You must become your own disruptors. If you don’t aggressively reach out to new audiences on new platforms, someone else will. There is no such thing as lasting media loyalty, especially in this age of media promiscuity.” She also said public radio needs to “let go of the nostalgia” of the craft. Schiller created a buzz within public broadcasting with similar remarks last year — that “radio towers are going away within 10 years, and Internet radio will take its place” — at her June 2 appearance at D8, the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital conference (Current, June 7, 2010).
As one who has tried to pitch some new program ideas to the gate keepers of public radio I can say that it would be hard to find a more risk adverse and timid medium than public radio. The new ideas will indeed go to podcast because there is no room for them in public radio. Sour grapes? Not really. Go ahead pubcasters, keep defending your turf with the same tired old programs in the same time slots but in a shorter time than you think you may find your audience has gone elsewhere.