What do the Public Radio Exchange, WGBH in Boston and the Nine Network in St. Louis have in common? All have recently made significant investments in brick-and-mortar facilities for public engagement.
In Boston, workers are putting finishing touches on the Newsfeed Cafe, a coffee shop on the ground floor of the Boston Public Library that will feature a WGBH radio/television studio in the corner. Outside, thousands of people streaming by on busy Boylston Street will see WGBH personalities broadcasting at street level through walls of plate glass.
A few miles away, in Boston’s North Allston neighborhood, PRX has just opened the Podcast Garage, a do-it-yourself audio production studio that experienced pros and novices alike can rent by the hour at minimal cost. It will also be a hub for training programs and other community outreach.
In St. Louis, the Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio are about to celebrate the second anniversary of their Public Media Commons facility. What used to be a gated parking lot between their respective buildings is now a futuristic, open-air event space where they can project films and other artworks across huge building faces.
On this week’s episode of The Pub, we talk about why public media organizations would want to reach people in person instead of over the air — so much so that they’d build a facility in which to do it. Plus, I offer a metaphor about what public media can learn about community engagement from religion . . . by forcing my audience to sing together.
WGBH COO Ben Godley, PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman and Nine Network SVP of Engagement and Content Amy Shaw are my guests in this WGBH-hosted live recording at the Boston Public Library, held in conjunction with the 2016 Public Media Development and Marketing Conference.
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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.