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Current's The Pub

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Current's The Pub

Current's The Pub

Current

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Current's biweekly podcast about news and trends in public and nonprofit media.

Latest Episodes

As we sign off, lessons from someone who's been there

What do you do when the show you are hosting comes to an end? To find out, I talked this week with Lauren Ober, the former host of WAMU’s The Big Listen. The Washington, D.C., station announced in March that it would end “the broadcast about podcasts” after two years because it wasn’t picked up by enough stations. Ober just wrapped up the show in May. We talked about what she gained from the experience, how she’s using her newfound free time and what she’s planning next. I wanted to talk to Ober about her show ending because this show is ending. Current announced this week that it is ending production of The Pub. The podcast didn’t draw enough underwriting support to cover costs. And if you work in public media, you know that making something good takes resources and time. Though this is the last episode of The Pub, Current may well get back into the podcasting game in the future if we c

28 MIN2018 JUL 7
Comments
As we sign off, lessons from someone who's been there

How states are doling out dollars for public media

Ever wonder how much your state spends on public media? Do you know how much it spends per resident? And where does that money go? Current has got you covered with a new, comprehensive guide to state funding. It tracks and explains state funding in the 36 states where broadcasters receive direct funding from the state — that means a line item on the state budget. On this episode of The Pub, I talk with Current Digital Editor Mike Janssen about some of the major trends and takeaways. Also, a few thoughts on Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and what public media can learn from Fred Rogers. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me on Twitter; Current’s digital editor, Mike Janssen, is at mike@cur

16 MIN2018 JUN 20
Comments
How states are doling out dollars for public media

New WFAE podcast focuses on survivor of sexual assault

When Sarah Delia at WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., got the idea for what would become the new investigative podcast "She Says," she wasn’t sure what form the project would take, or even whether the person at the center of the story would be willin...

23 MIN2018 JUN 1
Comments
New WFAE podcast focuses on survivor of sexual assault

Balancing daily news demands with the pursuit of in-depth storytelling

Podcasts are a nearly perfect vehicle for narrative storytelling. The episodic nature, the way each chapter is delivered to the listener’s personal device, the inherent intimacy of audio, advertisers’ interests in reaching a connected audience over several episodes, and the human nature for hearing and sharing stories all make the platform ideal for delivering narratives. But narratives are hard to find in news. We may call everything we file a “story,” but it’s rare that a school board meeting or anything else that happens day in and day out will have the type of beginning-middle-end arc that makes for a greatstory. And when you’re tasked with reporting the news, but your heart — and the audience — wants narrative … what do you do? You can’t try to put an arc on a story that doesn’t have one — that would change the nature of the story. It’s narrative bias. But it’s unlikely you can just pass on covering stories that don’t have a rising action and resolution. This epi...

42 MIN2018 MAY 22
Comments
Balancing daily news demands with the pursuit of in-depth storytelling

Stations show off humor, baking skills in Public Radio Cake Week

If you work in public radio, you might just be on a sugar detox right now. And no, that’s not a comment on the stereotypically healthy diets of public media staffers. Public radio folks across the country recently took part in the 6th annual Public Radio Cake Week. The tradition started at Vermont Public Radio when several staffers’ birthdays fell around the same time in April. Rather than have one cake to celebrate, the station leaned into the sugar consumption and celebrated with a week of cake. As other member stations learned about the sugar binge, the event took on a competitive quality. Stations spend all week baking, with each day centered around themes like news story of the year, historic events depicted in cake, “this is not a cake,” station pride and public radio stereotypes. This year a record number of stations participated with cakes that were as visually impressive as they were hilarious and, one can assume, delicious. On this week’s episode of The Pub, we hear f...

24 MIN2018 APR 20
Comments
Stations show off humor, baking skills in Public Radio Cake Week

How pubcasters are teaming up to address Pennsylvania's opioid crisis

If a major issue is affecting your community, chances are its impact reaches beyond your town line. That’s especially true of the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, where the drug overdose rate is more than twice the national average. Earlier this year, Gov. Tom Wolf even issued a disaster declaration for Pennsylvania’s “heroin and opioid epidemic.” Public television stations there are responding by collaborating on focused coverage of the crisis. The stations are working together to produce a series they call “Battling Opioids.” The collaboration kicked off last month, and has already yielded cooperation from state agencies and won the support of Gov. Wolf. On The Pub, I talk with Kathleen Pavelko, president and CEO of WITF in Harrisburg; David Solomon, EP at WQED in Pittsburgh; and Tom Currá, president and CEO of WVIA in Pittston. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and...

21 MIN2018 APR 6
Comments
How pubcasters are teaming up to address Pennsylvania's opioid crisis

Classical station KMFA's musical 50th-birthday gift to itself

What are public media’s classical stations doing to innovate? For one station, the answer involves a throwback to an earlier broadcasting era. Back in the day, radio and TV stations all had jingles. But thet tradition has fallen out of fashion — few stations have their own dedicated theme. Up until last year, KMFA in Austin, Texas, didn’t either. On The Pub, KMFA Director of Broadcasting and Content Anthony McSpadden shares the story of how the station commissioned local composer Dan Welcher to write a theme to commemorate KMFA’s 50th anniversary. Other composers have written variations on the theme. It’s just one of the many ways KMFA is active in Austin’s vibrant music community. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me on Twitter; Current’s digital editor, Mike Janssen, i...

20 MIN2018 MAR 23
Comments
Classical station KMFA's musical 50th-birthday gift to itself

What's next for WNYC?

It was only a matter of time before public media had its own #MeToo moment. And it’s had more than one over the past six months, with hosts and senior leaders changing roles or no longer in their jobs following a range of accusations about harassment, bullying and inappropriate workplace behavior. Such allegations have a particular sting for public media’s listeners and employees. Newsrooms that hold public officials and other organizations to account for such behavior seem to be unable to effectively deal with the problem in their own shops. And even as they respond, some staffers say they’re too late. On this episode of The Pub, we look inside what one writer described as a culture of bullying and exploitation at WNYC in New York City. Boris Kachka’s article about the station was published by New York magazine. Kachka told me the station “was almost a punchline” as he spoke with WNYC staffers. “It was like, ‘I’ve never seen a worse culture than this, and I’ve worked at’...

20 MIN2018 MAR 9
Comments
What's next for WNYC?

Accuracy matters more than ever — so check your facts

You’ve done your interviews, written your script and filed your story. But did you do one last fact-check? No longer just for magazines or long-form projects, some public media newsrooms have begun to apply more robust fact-checking to their daily and feature work. Our audiences expect our stories to be accurate, and on top of that, they expect our journalists to hold newsmakers to account for falsehoods that come out in interviews. But how do we balance the need for rigorous fact-checking with the daily pressures of filling newscasts and covering our communities? WFPL News Director Erica Peterson shares what her newsroom has done to avoid errors big and small. What is your newsroom doing? Share your fact-checking tips (or horror stories) with me at annie.m.russell@gmail.com. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. We welcome your fe...

20 MIN2018 FEB 23
Comments
Accuracy matters more than ever — so check your facts

How new hosts hold onto audiences while being themselves

So your favorite podcast has a new host! Do you keep listening? We certainly hope so. I’m Annie Russell, the new host of The Pub. I’m an editor at WBEZ and a stand-up comedian. As I navigate this new role, I wondered how a new host goes about taking the reins of an established program. It looks like I’m not the only one facing that particular question. Researching this episode, I found that quite a few public media programs and podcasts have experienced a changing of the guard in the past year or so. Russell For new hosts: How do you fill your beloved predecessor’s shoes while still honoring the longtime audience? When you inevitably make changes, will they run for the hills? Nobody knows this challenge better than journalist Robert Costa. He’s a reporter for the Washington Post and took over as moderator last year for PBS’ weekly public affairs program Washington Week. Costa describes how he approached what could have been a tricky transition after the death of previous longt...

21 MIN2018 FEB 9
Comments
How new hosts hold onto audiences while being themselves

Latest Episodes

As we sign off, lessons from someone who's been there

What do you do when the show you are hosting comes to an end? To find out, I talked this week with Lauren Ober, the former host of WAMU’s The Big Listen. The Washington, D.C., station announced in March that it would end “the broadcast about podcasts” after two years because it wasn’t picked up by enough stations. Ober just wrapped up the show in May. We talked about what she gained from the experience, how she’s using her newfound free time and what she’s planning next. I wanted to talk to Ober about her show ending because this show is ending. Current announced this week that it is ending production of The Pub. The podcast didn’t draw enough underwriting support to cover costs. And if you work in public media, you know that making something good takes resources and time. Though this is the last episode of The Pub, Current may well get back into the podcasting game in the future if we c

28 MIN2018 JUL 7
Comments
As we sign off, lessons from someone who's been there

How states are doling out dollars for public media

Ever wonder how much your state spends on public media? Do you know how much it spends per resident? And where does that money go? Current has got you covered with a new, comprehensive guide to state funding. It tracks and explains state funding in the 36 states where broadcasters receive direct funding from the state — that means a line item on the state budget. On this episode of The Pub, I talk with Current Digital Editor Mike Janssen about some of the major trends and takeaways. Also, a few thoughts on Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and what public media can learn from Fred Rogers. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me on Twitter; Current’s digital editor, Mike Janssen, is at mike@cur

16 MIN2018 JUN 20
Comments
How states are doling out dollars for public media

New WFAE podcast focuses on survivor of sexual assault

When Sarah Delia at WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., got the idea for what would become the new investigative podcast "She Says," she wasn’t sure what form the project would take, or even whether the person at the center of the story would be willin...

23 MIN2018 JUN 1
Comments
New WFAE podcast focuses on survivor of sexual assault

Balancing daily news demands with the pursuit of in-depth storytelling

Podcasts are a nearly perfect vehicle for narrative storytelling. The episodic nature, the way each chapter is delivered to the listener’s personal device, the inherent intimacy of audio, advertisers’ interests in reaching a connected audience over several episodes, and the human nature for hearing and sharing stories all make the platform ideal for delivering narratives. But narratives are hard to find in news. We may call everything we file a “story,” but it’s rare that a school board meeting or anything else that happens day in and day out will have the type of beginning-middle-end arc that makes for a greatstory. And when you’re tasked with reporting the news, but your heart — and the audience — wants narrative … what do you do? You can’t try to put an arc on a story that doesn’t have one — that would change the nature of the story. It’s narrative bias. But it’s unlikely you can just pass on covering stories that don’t have a rising action and resolution. This epi...

42 MIN2018 MAY 22
Comments
Balancing daily news demands with the pursuit of in-depth storytelling

Stations show off humor, baking skills in Public Radio Cake Week

If you work in public radio, you might just be on a sugar detox right now. And no, that’s not a comment on the stereotypically healthy diets of public media staffers. Public radio folks across the country recently took part in the 6th annual Public Radio Cake Week. The tradition started at Vermont Public Radio when several staffers’ birthdays fell around the same time in April. Rather than have one cake to celebrate, the station leaned into the sugar consumption and celebrated with a week of cake. As other member stations learned about the sugar binge, the event took on a competitive quality. Stations spend all week baking, with each day centered around themes like news story of the year, historic events depicted in cake, “this is not a cake,” station pride and public radio stereotypes. This year a record number of stations participated with cakes that were as visually impressive as they were hilarious and, one can assume, delicious. On this week’s episode of The Pub, we hear f...

24 MIN2018 APR 20
Comments
Stations show off humor, baking skills in Public Radio Cake Week

How pubcasters are teaming up to address Pennsylvania's opioid crisis

If a major issue is affecting your community, chances are its impact reaches beyond your town line. That’s especially true of the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, where the drug overdose rate is more than twice the national average. Earlier this year, Gov. Tom Wolf even issued a disaster declaration for Pennsylvania’s “heroin and opioid epidemic.” Public television stations there are responding by collaborating on focused coverage of the crisis. The stations are working together to produce a series they call “Battling Opioids.” The collaboration kicked off last month, and has already yielded cooperation from state agencies and won the support of Gov. Wolf. On The Pub, I talk with Kathleen Pavelko, president and CEO of WITF in Harrisburg; David Solomon, EP at WQED in Pittsburgh; and Tom Currá, president and CEO of WVIA in Pittston. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and...

21 MIN2018 APR 6
Comments
How pubcasters are teaming up to address Pennsylvania's opioid crisis

Classical station KMFA's musical 50th-birthday gift to itself

What are public media’s classical stations doing to innovate? For one station, the answer involves a throwback to an earlier broadcasting era. Back in the day, radio and TV stations all had jingles. But thet tradition has fallen out of fashion — few stations have their own dedicated theme. Up until last year, KMFA in Austin, Texas, didn’t either. On The Pub, KMFA Director of Broadcasting and Content Anthony McSpadden shares the story of how the station commissioned local composer Dan Welcher to write a theme to commemorate KMFA’s 50th anniversary. Other composers have written variations on the theme. It’s just one of the many ways KMFA is active in Austin’s vibrant music community. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me on Twitter; Current’s digital editor, Mike Janssen, i...

20 MIN2018 MAR 23
Comments
Classical station KMFA's musical 50th-birthday gift to itself

What's next for WNYC?

It was only a matter of time before public media had its own #MeToo moment. And it’s had more than one over the past six months, with hosts and senior leaders changing roles or no longer in their jobs following a range of accusations about harassment, bullying and inappropriate workplace behavior. Such allegations have a particular sting for public media’s listeners and employees. Newsrooms that hold public officials and other organizations to account for such behavior seem to be unable to effectively deal with the problem in their own shops. And even as they respond, some staffers say they’re too late. On this episode of The Pub, we look inside what one writer described as a culture of bullying and exploitation at WNYC in New York City. Boris Kachka’s article about the station was published by New York magazine. Kachka told me the station “was almost a punchline” as he spoke with WNYC staffers. “It was like, ‘I’ve never seen a worse culture than this, and I’ve worked at’...

20 MIN2018 MAR 9
Comments
What's next for WNYC?

Accuracy matters more than ever — so check your facts

You’ve done your interviews, written your script and filed your story. But did you do one last fact-check? No longer just for magazines or long-form projects, some public media newsrooms have begun to apply more robust fact-checking to their daily and feature work. Our audiences expect our stories to be accurate, and on top of that, they expect our journalists to hold newsmakers to account for falsehoods that come out in interviews. But how do we balance the need for rigorous fact-checking with the daily pressures of filling newscasts and covering our communities? WFPL News Director Erica Peterson shares what her newsroom has done to avoid errors big and small. What is your newsroom doing? Share your fact-checking tips (or horror stories) with me at annie.m.russell@gmail.com. Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. We welcome your fe...

20 MIN2018 FEB 23
Comments
Accuracy matters more than ever — so check your facts

How new hosts hold onto audiences while being themselves

So your favorite podcast has a new host! Do you keep listening? We certainly hope so. I’m Annie Russell, the new host of The Pub. I’m an editor at WBEZ and a stand-up comedian. As I navigate this new role, I wondered how a new host goes about taking the reins of an established program. It looks like I’m not the only one facing that particular question. Researching this episode, I found that quite a few public media programs and podcasts have experienced a changing of the guard in the past year or so. Russell For new hosts: How do you fill your beloved predecessor’s shoes while still honoring the longtime audience? When you inevitably make changes, will they run for the hills? Nobody knows this challenge better than journalist Robert Costa. He’s a reporter for the Washington Post and took over as moderator last year for PBS’ weekly public affairs program Washington Week. Costa describes how he approached what could have been a tricky transition after the death of previous longt...

21 MIN2018 FEB 9
Comments
How new hosts hold onto audiences while being themselves
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