Redefining public media for the future

Public media is made up of hundreds of storefronts in communities large and small, each of which has a unique window into America, its people and their stories. These storefronts — local public TV and radio stations — have built public media’s greatest asset: our unique relationships with listeners and viewers, local businesses and governments, and anchor institutions in the arts, philanthropy, education and social welfare. Yet at Public Radio Capital we increasingly hear from public media executives facing competitive and financial challenges that threaten their stations’ economic foundations and thus their effectiveness. Let’s face it: The public media business model isn’t changing. It has already changed in dramatic ways.

New alliance in Mile High City

The latest merger agreement from Denver combines three different breeds of public media — flagship pubTV station Rocky Mountain PBS, community-licensed jazz broadcaster KUVO-FM and investigative digital news outlet I-News Network — in a consolidation that aims to build strength through diversity.

Merger with CIR brings shift in focus for S.F.’s Bay Citizen

Two years after its launch as a new online news organization covering the San Francisco region, the Bay Citizen is reconsidering its mission and editorial focus under new management. As of May 1, it merged operations with the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting, one of the granddaddies of the nonprofit news world, and ended its editorial partnership with the New York Times. The combined newsroom now marshals a staff of 70 and an annual budget of $11 million for news reporting from the San Francisco Bay Area. But differences between the news organizations’ editorial priorities and funding structures point to many challenges ahead, according to journalists from both the Bay Citizen and CIR. The Bay Citizen, which was founded and launched in 2010 by the late San Francisco philanthropist Warren Hellman, focused on timely news about Bay Area communities and tried to compete with other local news outlets to break stories.