Jan 18, 2010

Audience study fails to think outside the box, Hill says

Public radio needs to completely re-engineer itself for the networked environment, writes Hearts of Space producer and host Stephen Hill, in a critique of public radio's Grow the Audience project final report. The recommendations "are mostly bland reiterations of the core values of the public media catechism . . . , cautiously extending a toe outside the box while continuing to view the world from inside it," he writes. "This approach cannot work, because innovation is not needed at the level of the public radio value system. Nor will modest, incremental online innovations be sufficient. What is needed is a new set of incentives and structural relationships between the major elements of the system and the audience that will enable and fuel an expanded set of digital services with their own logical business models" [Emphasis in original]. Hill, who produces radio programs and operates a subscription-based online music service, has been a leading advocate for creation of a comprehensive web service of pubcasting content. Hill's critique is adapted from a report he wrote for the Grow the Audience project last summer.

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