This post was co-written by Emily Saltz, Head of Content Strategy at Pop Up Archive, and first appeared on Medium.
In part one, we heard thoughts on shareability, metrics, and publishing and distribution. In part two, hear what audio industry leaders have to say about challenges with workflow, public radio stations, and membership models.
on workflow“Everybody uses ProTools and it’s bullshit — it’s a subpar product, and you have to shell out hundreds of dollars every year just to keep it functional…If you could put your master sessions into [a public repository] so anybody could download it in any form, that would be amazing.” -Nick van der Kolk, Love + Radio
“One big challenge is tackling metrics and measurement across the lumpy distribution path of podcasts.”
-Jake Shapiro, PRX
“We have all this hardware and software that creates and distributes broadcast, but we don’t have that for digital. We have a CMS, we use it to publish and stick a player in it. But those CMSes are optimized for people who are writing, so it handles text/images really well, but you have to sidecar the audio — that’s your player.
“Our focus for 2015 is to think about ways we can leverage the work being done to assemble broadcast content — so that while people are doing that they’re also assembling and preparing that content for digital delivery. There are metadata approaches and standards — how do we go about stitching that stuff together so it’s asset management, a CMS — and not a disconnected CMS, but rather one that’s married to the broadcast?” -Matt Green, WBEZ
_______________“It’s a question of portability vs. quality. I always find that when I’m working with a stringer — essentially, if someone off-site is bringing me tape — they can get rumpled when I ask for a .wav file.
They’re bigger files to be sure, especially if your interview is 2+ hours long, and syncers get grumpy when they have to wait for them to upload to an FTP or DropBox or something. But shitty audio is shitty audio, no matter how you sling it. So it’s really worth the time for them to sit and wait for that upload. I wish there was a way to move higher quality audio faster and more efficiently.” -Eliza Smith, Snap Judgment
On what public radio stations can — and can’t — do for themselves“We’re witnessing the dissolving of old, pretty thick walls between how public radio makes money and how commercial audio makes money.
“Like Gimlet’s ad/underwriting style. See, I don’t even know if I should call it an advertisement or underwriting anymore! But I’m excited about how techniques and know-how from for-profit media can benefit the revenue models of the non-profit media — while still letting everyone sleep soundly at night.” -Jenn Brandel, Curious Nation
_______________“We’re a small operation. We want to have things that don’t break and are pretty simple and focused, and want add one or two things that are really great. But when it comes to jazz, we want to hire some jazz musicians.” -Matt Green, WBEZ
“Some larger stations with big budgets are hiring 3rd party cookie trackers to serve banner ads to their listeners when they visit other sites, and probably collect a host of other data. While we tend to file that stuff under “creepy” here at WFMU, we would be really interested in tracking how users engage with content on our own site.” -Liz Berg, WFMU
On audience and membership models
“I think that we can ask the audience to do more than donate money. How do you donate time? How do you donate tagging resources?” -Melody Kramer, NPR
_______________“Splitting off from APM was huge [for On Being]. The SoundCloud player has been great for getting [the show] out there and growing the audience. It’s only because of our audience that we’ve survived, but our real growth edge is everything online — beyond public media. Live events have been a huge component recently for growing audience. -Trent Gilliss, On Being
_______________“How can we think about various ways in which people consume audio and easily add metadata to meet them where they are, like activity-based tagging?
“Most people who listen to audio don’t do so in a vacuum. They do it while they’re doing another activity.
“How do you say, ‘This is a piece you should listen to while jogging,’ ‘This is a piece you should listen to in the car with your kids because we’ve cut out all mentions of beheadings’ — how do you meet them in an activity-based way? Is the audience doing the tagging, or is it some combination of producer + audience? If it’s at the producer level, are you necessarily familiar with all the use cases for that audio?
“I think it’s more powerful when you include the audience in that — how can they be involved in tagging or adding metadata in different ways? If we have a preconceived notion of how people consume audio content, unless we have the data to back that up — it’ll be easier to meet people where they are if you let the audience say where they are.” -Melody Kramer, NPR
_______________“One thing I learned from working in terrestrial radio was about the shared experience you get with programmed broadcasts. There’s a community that you build around something like a local talk show that’s just so powerful. You see that power when it comes to the fund drive and how quickly the listener wants to extend their loyalty into a donation.
“When you release a podcast, that doesn’t happen as much. What if you had the ability to listen to on-demand audio at the same time as other people? If the on-demand audio shows were programmed in a way that people could listen to the same or similar things together a community could form around it much more than it does now. You see it with individual shows — obviously with Serial — but it could happen so much more. There’s no mechanism to do that with podcasts right now and I’d love to see that happen.” -Jim Colgan, former radio producer who now works on digital audio platforms
Anne (@annewootton) has worked with independent producers The Kitchen Sisters and national grant agencies to identify preservation and access opportunities for independent radio. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of California Berkeley in Information Management and Systems, where she focused in digital archives and the sociology of technology. She contributed to the creation of The Discipline of Organizing, a textbook in use at I Schools nationwide that unites perspectives about organizing from engineering, library science, and other fields. She is a 2012 SoundCloud Community Fellow and winner of the 2012 Knight News Challenge: Data. Before arriving in California, Anne lived in France, and managed a historic newspaper digitization project at Brown University.
Emily Saltz (@saltzshaker) is the Head of Content Strategy at Pop Up Archive, a “smart transcription” company that makes sound searchable. Previously, she got her hands dirty as a research assistant in the Phonetics and Psycholinguistics Labs at UC Santa Cruz. A public media fangirl, she once used This American Life to teach English to Russian students in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She is the tweeter and blogger in residence at Pop Up Archive, posting tidbits from its varied and ever-expanding collections. Contact her at [email protected]