SEPTEMBER 17-19, 2013 ----  Hyatt Regency ATLANTA
The Content Conversation Continues

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Tuesday, September 17 • 8:30am - 10:15am
Opening: Sue Gardner / Public Media Futures Forum

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Presented in Collaboration with Current & The USC Annenberg Centeron Communication Leadership and Policy

I.  Sue Gardner
will kick off our morning-long examination about how to maintain our public service values while facing an ever more competitive funding and distribution landscape.  Described as "Librarian to the World" and "Mother Teresa of the Internet," Gardner's goal is to give everyone in the world free and easy access to the information they need.  Her alarm at the evolution of the internet led to her decision to leave that post at the end of this year “with the purpose of amplifying the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet.” 

As a seasoned journalist, an astute business strategist, former producer of CBC's As It Happens, leader of CBC.ca and with television and print media experience, Gardner is uniquely qualified to kick off our examination of the quickly changing public radio content development and distribution business model. She embodies the impulses central to the American public radio system.

Voted "Media Game-Changer of 2009" by HuffPost readers and named the world's 70th most powerful woman in 2012 by Forbes, Sue Gardner will reflect on the evolution of media and the internet. 

II.  Forum: 

Nearly every week we hear that some new distribution channel will soon be delivering the very content that was once exclusively available on a public radio station. New technology is expanding audio options. As that happens, program producers are reaching beyond stations, directly to listeners for funding.

Clearly, the much anticipated “disruption” has arrived.  But the fundamental business models that built and sustained public radio have hardly changed. What some call opportunity feels more like an unsustainable burden to many stations, with expanding investments in web, social and mobile media – despite the fact that no one has identified any business model capable of paying for these new services.

Our morning-long session will “put the elephant in the room.” Something about the public radio economy needs to change.

Without exclusivity of content, maybe station carriage fees need to drop? Can stations prosper in a period of direct-to- producer donations—money which may be eroding station member revenues? How can we identify and grow the next generation of large-scale service opportunities that could expand audience, capacity, and revenue? We must seriously begin the conversation now, or outside forces will set the course for all of us.  We may not find solutions to such complex challenges in a few hours,but we can explore the many factors at play and the perspectives of various constituencies who have built the value and respect that public radio has earned.

This session was developed in collaboration with the Public Media Futures Forum, created by The School of Communication at American University and the USC/Annenberg Center for Communications Policy and Leadership, with support from the Wyncote Foundation and Current.

avatar for Mark Fuerst

Mark Fuerst

President & Founder, Innovation4Media
Mark Fuerst is president and founder of Innovation4Media (I4M), the first consulting firm to focus exclusively on digital service within public broadcasting. This move into emerging media followed ten successful years as general manager of WXPN, Philadelphia, where... Read More →

avatar for Sue Gardner

Sue Gardner

Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation and Forum
Sue Gardner is executive director of Wikimedia Foundation. Described as "Librarian to the World" and "Mother Teresa of the Internet", Gardner's goal is to give everyone in the world free and easy access to the information they need.  Her alarm at the evolution... Read More →

Tuesday September 17, 2013 8:30am - 10:15am EDT
Centennial Ballroom I & II

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