NETA Conference Kansas City

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Laura Adams Guy is a station relations professional working with program producers interested in airdates on PBS/Public Stations.  I provide guidance, information,  peace- of-mind and strategy to producers who have invested much of their lives and sometimes

NETA Conference Kansas City

Date Posted: 
2011-11-01 00:00

Blog Series:

After attending the NETA conference in Kansas City October 19-20, 2011, I came away with lots of great ideas and motivation on how to promote, produce and bring stories of diverse backgrounds and experiences to public television audiences. The conference was rich in ideas and inspiration to help people create and provide great content for public television viewers.  Some of the sessions that were offered include: “Leading through Change”; “Mobile DTV 2011/2012”; “PBS 2012 Primetime Content”; “Beyond WASP: Meeting the Needs of Your Minority Audience”; “Online Platforms in Local Productions” and “Opportunities for Public Television in the new Financial Reality”. 

There were great general sessions too including: “The American Graduate Initiative” which is designed to provide programming and outreach to keep kids on track for graduation and help decrease the high dropout numbers that have been reported throughout the country. I am glad they changed the name of this from the Dropout Initiative to the American Graduate Initiative. This is much more positive and makes it seem more possible to be successful. 

Another great general session presented Jason Seiken, Senior Vice President PBS Interactive, Product Development and Innovation as he discussed innovations from PBS Interactive. One of these is called PBS Prosper, which will allow PBS stations to connect with visitors to the PBS.org website in their local viewing areas; and a concept called Freemium which could offer an incentive level to viewers to become subscribers to local stations and Bento which offers station website assistance on three different levels.

I attended some great concurrent sessions including one titled: “Online Platforms in Local Productions”.  It featured Mike Brower from Kentucky Educational Television; Kathryn Scott from Vermont Public Television; Tim Zeko from WKAR and Franz Joachim from KNME. The panelists discussed ways to accentuate what stations offer to viewers on-air with online events. Kathryn discussed a successful campaign for community flood relief fundraising in Vermont after the monumental flooding from Hurricane Irene this year. WKAR produces local music programs called Backstage Pass and offers them on live streaming at the same time and also produces pieces for You Tube from cleared performance songs. Franz spoke of KNME legislature coverage and a headline service of the legislature from KNME which promotes a tag and conversation around #NMleg.  All the presenters emphasized that when a station takes the leap to social media, to be successful, they need to be fully engaged and ready to be responsive.

The other great, motivational concurrent session: Beyond the WASP: Meeting the Needs of Your Minority Audience featured Georgiana Lee from Vision Maker Media ; Robby Fahey from ITVS; Leslie Fields-Cruz from NBPC, Cristina Hanson from NCME and Franz Joachim from KNME.  Robby and Franz presented video from a project with an independent producer from LINCS called “Up Heartbreak Hill”. Both Robby and Franz described the benefits of working successfully with an independent producer, especially if there are clear deadlines and production quality discussions in place prior to production.  Leslie talked of a wonderful collaboration with the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in New York for “One Shot” productions working with students on Flip Cameras and showed a clip from “What’s Good DC!” produced and presented by public media fellows and the high schools. Cristina discussed how these types of projects are important and presented a wonderful power point on how to be successful with local projects and collaborations.

Some of the fun in Kansas City included an American Jazz Museum Experience on Wednesday night with a museum tour and displays of audio and video of jazz greats including: Charlie Parker; Ella Fitzgerald; Louis Armstrong; and Duke Ellington. There was a wonderful jazz performance in the historic Blue Room following the tour. The evening was presented by NET Television Community Engagement and Educational Outreach and the American Jazz Museum.

In the end I recommend that public television stations make it a priority to send a representative to the annual NETA conference to engage in the conversations and embrace the forward thinking and positive discussions that take place on directions in public television.