Monday, June 25, 2007

Beyond Broadcast 2007

I've been remiss in blogging about the Beyond Broadcast conference back in late February.

First and foremost, kudos once again to Jake Shapiro and many others at PRX and the Berkman Center for pulling together an excellent conference.

Second, I noticed that the "problem" with the first BB conference was back in force with this year's. That is, there weren't many answers for a lot of really pressing questions. Everyone seems to know that there are significant needs for radio to diversify across additional media channels, but nobody really seems to know how to actually do it...or at least do it in a way that makes money. Even just enough money to break even, never mind turn a profit.

So these conference sessions are fascinating discussions...sometimes veering into bulls**t sessions (but that's okay)...but there's not a lot of the rubber meeting the road here. I suppose that's okay, gotta start somewhere and it's not a bad thing to have a really high-level discussion at the conference that can then spark more mid-level planning back at your station (or comparable media organization).

On a snarky note, there were some definite technical glitches during the conference, too...especially in getting a presenter's videoconference to work. I don't mention this to blame anyone, but more to call attention to how web media has traded flexibility for robustness; your average AM or FM radio is very simple, and has a very well-known and defined set of expectations assigned to it. Not surprising given how radio has been around for more than five decades. Duplicating this remarkable reliability in the web has been frustratingly difficult.

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