community media

Show me your publics, and I’ll show you mine

Reading the title chapter of Michael Warner’s 2002 collection of essays Publics and Counterpublics, I am struck by how the book resonates with my work with the Transmission Project. It has helped me think through and beyond the rhetoric I encounter every day.

Communications

Organization: 
119 Gallery
VISTA Name: 
Mira Allen
Program Start: 
7/2008
Program End: 
7/2009
Project Description: 

119 Gallery seeks an individual to lead the expansion and development of the organization’s marketing, outreach and community building activities so we can reach and serve a larger population. Utilizing multiple communication venues, we will develop a solid strategic communications plan to inform our community members of offerings and engage them in programming. The Gallery’s robust programs of events, education, and exhibits draw a steady crowd of artists, community members, and young people. It has a number of systems (both operational and technical) in place to handle the strategic communications of the organization, but they are fragmented and lack focus. The CTC VISTA member would design and create a cohesive system that will more effectively leverage the organizations skills and capacities to engage and educate our community members.

· Assess organization’s current outreach, marketing and communication activities with strategic communications in mind

· Assess organization’s current communication infrastructure (web, email, social networks, print, mail, press)

· Gather member input into strategic communication needs

· Establish networking and outreach and shared communications with collaborating organizations.

· Research and recommend new processes for integrating and redesiging in a more efficient and strategic manner the organization’s outreach, marketing and communications activities with an eye toward greater community impact and involvement

· Design and implement this new strategic communications plan

· Create a set of evaluation metrics and benchmarks that will enable the organization to track is progress

· Train interns, volunteers and staff in the effective use of and maintainence of the new communications system

· Provide additional strategic input and staffing support for all gallery programmatic areas, including Identifying and meeting with community organizations that share our mission and constituency.

Project Outcome: 

Mira has succeeded in organizing our overall marketing. She is working with a volunteer from the the Jericho Road Foundation to establish a comprhensive marketing plan. She is a member of the 199 Gallery Board’s Marketing Subcommittee. She maintains Facebook and Myspace pages, posting notices and invites as appropriate. She edits and emails a bimonthly newsletter using Constant Contact. She has participated in the design and development of several fund raising events including the Jazz Brunch, and Dinner & A Movie. She organized the annual membership renewal campaign, Show Us The Love. She has updated the gallery database. She assists in recruiting and managing volunteers.

The database was a mess, Mira fixed it! She created the newsletter from scratch and in addition has established a good working relationship with the local newspaper, the Lowell SUN.

Mira helped us with press release, created a social networking site which has over 500 fans, worked on our monthly newsletter and multiple fundraisers.

In addition, Mira joined several community projects, sent out a marketing survey to Gallery members, and, over Labor Day weekend, participated in the Bumpkin Island Artists Encampment over Labor Day Weekend. She also coordinated the Jazz Brunch, our annual fundraiser.

We did not get the completed manual for future training, but as a result of Mira’s work, we have much more visibility and are growing in terms of members and programming.

Impact Quote: 

Mira was devoted even outside the job, she harnessed many relationships for the gallery that otherwise would not have been here. As a result we got more people interested in our gallery and diverse programming.”
- Y Sok Woodward, supervisor

KNON Community Radio

Location:
Dallas, TX

KNON is a non-profit, listener-supported radio station, deriving its main source of income from on-air pledge drives and from underwriting or sponsorships by local small businesses.

KNON went on air on August 6, 1983 with 10,000 watts of power. In March 1990, KNON raised it’s power to 55,000 watts. The signal covers a radius of approximately 60 miles from Cedar Hill. it extends from Mckinney, Hillsboro, Corsicana and from Ft. Worth to Greenville.

KNON is on the air 24 hours, seven days a week, with the most diverse programming in Texas. The volunteer disc jockeys play their own music or conduct talk shows during specifically targeted programs. The program variety can be seen on our schedule.

Each music format has its own unique demography, but the one thing that the entire KNON audience shares is that they listen to KNON, rather that use it for background noise.

KONZ Internet Radio Developer

VISTA Name: 
Megan Andrews
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will develop and implement an online community radio station for the Manhattan, Kansas area called KONZ Internet Radio. The VISTA will help with fundraising, public awareness and education about the online station and what it can offer, oversee equipment purchases as well as beginning the process of recruiting and training volunteers to staff the station. The Corps member will create the foundation for future sustainability by helping provide the energy and the necessary day-to-day work.

Project Outcome: 

Megan’s job was to help create Konza Internet radio. When she started, the plan was to create an on-air radio station. Shortly after she started, it became apparent that we were not going to be able to raise the funds needed to purchase the equipment for the station. The Board of Directors decided to pursue an internet-based radio service as a way to keep the idea alive. Megan was able to quickly shift gears and use her skills to develop the service we are now using. As the result of Megan’s activities, UFM has a functioning, on-demand radio service that is being utilized by the community, the region and the world. We worked hard to develop a streaming station with a regular program schedule. We found that the streaming service did not work well with the talk format we were using. we also found than more people were downloading the programs rather than listening to them through the stream. Consequently, we have moved to an all on-demand radio service with downloads available in a variety of program areas. There are two areas that remain to be done to ensure sustainability. 1) we need to continue to recruit program hosts who can take the responsibility for adding regular content to the website. We are negotiating with two significant program areas that will expand offerings of interest not only our local residents, but our military families that may be deployed elsewhere in the world. 2) As our program content expands, we need to increase our marketing and community awareness. we also need to expand our website to include a comprehensive community calendar that will draw people to our website.

Outreach Coordinator

Organization: 
WERU-FM Community Radio
VISTA Name: 
Meaghan Lasala
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will serve in a vital outreach and engagement role that is necessary to boost community engagement work in our new broadcast service area. The Corps member will also serve as a liaison between the radio station and the community during this critical time of community engagement.

Project Outcome: 

Meaghan was responsible for Outreach & Community Engagement in the Greater Bangor area (which WERU just started serving with a new radio signal). She:
- Coordinated four listener focus groups
- Coordinated three major events
- Attended several community events on behalf of WERU
- Networked with several area nonprofit organizations and businesses
- Trained two high school teachers in radio program production so that they can instruct their students in the same.
- Produced several community interest short features for broadcast
- Coordinated and hosted a monthly panel discussion and call-in program about various issues and goings-on in Greater Bangor.
- Is creating a report and manual of all her activities so that they may be replicated and sustained after her term at WERU has ended.

While one may think that if your radio broadcast signal reaches a community then you are part of that community, but this is not necessarily true. The changes for our organization as a result of our Corps member’s work are primarily with regards to having a greater connection with the Greater Bangor area. Our network of partners and contacts has been expanded greatly. We are better known by institutions such as the University of Maine New Media Studies Department, the Maine Discovery Museum (children’s museum) and the United Way. We have a relationship with the Bangor Area Chamber of Commerce and are better known by a variety of locally-owned businesses. We are seen as an organization that is physically present in the area by virtue of our holding events and attending other organizations’ events. Listener/members in the area have a greater sense of belonging to the radio station “family,” in part due to a new public affairs programming about the Bangor community created by our Corps member. To sustain these positive changes we need to prioritize the relationships, events, etc. that she has done and assign those activities to members of our staff and volunteers. We may not be able to absorb all the work that she was doing but hopefully will be able to continue doing the activities that we found to be most useful.

All of the objectives of our Corps members were largely accomplished, though a major challenge was that our new radio broadcast transmitter to serve the area didn’t come on line until six months after we had anticipated. Had that happened on schedule the depth of our member’s work would have been more profound and require less work by the organization to grow and sustain.

WERU-FM Community Radio

Location:
East Orland, ME

to provide a community-based, noncommercial radio service for the people living in the areas covered by the station’s signal; to broadcast programs designed to serve the needs of those not currently served by other broadcast media; to be a voice of many voices offering a wide variety of people an opportunity to share their experiences, concerns, and perspectives with their neighbors over the WERU airwaves.

GreenBlueGray Project Developer

Organization: 
Reclaim the Media
VISTA Name: 
Amber Cortes
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
7/2011
Project Description: 

Our VISTA will help to launch a new hybrid radio/web media project serving high-quality news and features to community radio audiences in the Seattle area. The VISTA will help design and support a project workflow for recruiting news and information providers, organizing news producers, and preparing content for publication. The VISTA will help recruit and coordinate volunteer radio and media producers from regional community radio stations to host and produce programming. The associate will help create and maintain relationships with partnering media outlets, help maintain a project website, and help deepen network relationships among innovate grassroots, community and ethnic media outlets in the Northwest

The VISTA will also work with the project manager and RTM to conduct outreach to participating news outlets looking for weekly/daily news to feature, to maintain the project website, and the conduct community outreach to help promote the project.

Transmission Project/Digital Arts Service Corps

Location:
Boston, MA

The Transmission Project amplifies the power of public media and technology.

Our vision is a robust and diverse media ecology enabling a world built upon the full participation of society.

For nearly ten years, we have worked to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations that use media and technology to strengthen communities. The Transmission Project fulfills its mission by supporting a diverse network of partner organizations that provide services to benefit communities nationwide.

Our primary initiative is the Digital Arts Service Corps. The Transmission Project builds the strength and community impact of partner organizations such as low-power radio stations, media arts centers, rural broadband initiatives, and media reform policy advocates by supporting specific capacity-building projects through the recruitment and placement of a full-time, on-site AmeriCorps*vista member.

Somerville Community Access Television

Location:
Somerville, MA

Somerville Community Access Television is a leading public access media center that enables a vibrant and diverse community to express its creativity, explain its ideas, share its cultures, and foster the individual’s right to freedom of speech. SCAT supports and creates community-driven media through education, production resources, and distribution on cable television and the Web.

Project: Think Different / Amplifyme

Location:
Boston, MA

Amplifyme is a nonprofit organization that engages people in positive change through the use of media arts. We use pop culture to inspire people to think differently about their power to create change in their lives and the lives of others through civic engagement.

Amplifyme programs provide opportunities for engagement in positive change through the media arts. Our programs focus in four key areas—Media, Music, Video and the Electronic Community. More and more, these methods of communication influence people, both young and old. Unfortunately, not all of these messages are positive. amplifyme’s programs empower participants to create positive messages to reach a broad audience to foster civic engagement.

These programs begin with youth involvement, but are also appropriate for individuals further along in their professional development and who want to participate as a vehicle for change in the media.

- youth media institute Empowers young people with the tools and resources to become future leaders in the media industry.

- empowerment music program Works with musicians to produce socially empowering commercially viable music messages.

- movement pictures video program Works with video artists to create and amplify socially responsible video messages in film and television.

- electronic community media program Serves as an online hub for all of amplifyme’s signature programs, as well as an interactive site for socially responsible music, video, and online community building.

Transmission Project