On Building Resilience: Letter from the executive director

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Everybody’s doing it. Well, maybe not everybody. But Current is doing it … and it feels great!

What the heck am I talking about? Pivoting and partnering.

Current has joined forces with Greater Public, Public Media Journalists Association, Public Radio Program Directors and Local that Works founder Mark Fuerst on “Building Resilience,” a new webinar series. It focuses on how public media is stretching and strengthening during this pandemic and creates a virtual space to connect with peers facing the same predicaments.

I’m sure many of you miss your conference buddies, your colleagues and the office where you spent more of your waking hours than at home. For now, we’re Zoombies, and we must find purpose and camaraderie in online connections. We are building resilience.

Each of the organizations in this pop-up partnership could have launched their own webinar series. Leaders of these four groups bring deep knowledge of public broadcasting to the table. But solo flying is not as practical, effective or fun. Not that anyone is really having fun under house arrest, but our planning meetings have been productive and joyful. Together, we are stretching and strengthening our service to you.

In our first webinar May 6, “All Hands on Deck,” Debbie Hiott, GM of KUT in Austin, and Nico Leone, new CEO of KERA in Dallas, shared how they mobilized, rallied and redeployed their teams to ensure staff safety and continuity of broadcast service and to meet the information needs of their communities.

These station leaders told us their station’s story, from the start of the pandemic to now. They shared how this crisis transformed their management strategy, including remote work, ramped-up news operations, and automation. They talked about how they are communicating with employees, members and audiences. And they addressed the serious financial impacts their companies are already facing from the economic fallout of COVID-19. It was an hour of information and inspiration.

To tap into the zeitgeist of our shared new normal, Current and our partners plan to offer two Building Resilience webinars each month. We hope that’s enough to keep you engaged without overwhelming you with obligation. The next one, May 20, will spotlight small stations that are pushing way out of their comfort zones and shining as a result.

Where are we finding ideas for our webinar topics? From your submissions to Current’s growing database of pubmedia coronavirus initiatives and your emails letting us know what your station is doing.

In recent years, collaboration has been the mantra of the media business. With support from CPB, stations have been coming together to produce content many could not pull off as well alone. And stations have partnered with all sorts of organizations in their communities to gain authenticity and engage new and diverse audiences.

Collaboration is work, and partnerships work best when everyone has an equal voice and an equal stake, even though they may not have equal resources. Together, we are building resilience, and we invite you to join us on this journey.

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