Pubcasting Battle: Unlikely Bedfellows
Down slightly, but not at all out, public broadcasters have now weathered the first of several budget debates that are guaranteed to rage through the second half of Obama's presidential term. The past few months have forced them into unprecedented levels of coordination in defining and defending their value to a range of stakeholders.
In order to maintain and possibly even grow funding, however, public broadcasters will need to continue to broaden their base of supporters. In this final week of this series tracking arguments for and against the sector, I take a look at a few unlikely proponents, and some proposals for reaching beyond the choir:
- Advice from the Master: NPR reports that GOP communications strategist Frank Luntz offered public broadcasters sage framing advice on the Diane Rehm Show:
There are five different types of people for you to reach out to. Rejecters, Disagreeables, Neutrals, Accepters and Embracers. Each one of those terms means something. You need to forget the Rejecters because there's nothing you can do to influence them. The truth is the Disagreeables won't help you. Your job, the most important role for someone who supports public broadcasting is to take the Embracers and energize them to speak up and do something and move the Accepters to become Embracers. And in terms of the best possible language, it is possible to communicate across politics and across ideology.
- Visualizing the Choir: As part of the #gopublic campaign, NPR has launched its I Heart NPR map via Facebook, which helps "embracers" to not only identify themselves, but find other local fans to network with.
- Reaching the Other 89 percent: At Current, a roundtable of public radio experts responds to the suggestion by Sue Schardt of AIR that NPR needs to reach beyond "super-serving the core." Says Paul Marszalak of consulting firm Media Mechanics, "From my perspective, 11 percent is a really big number. At the same time, one can’t help but feel that the system is underachieving. It’s like the brilliant kid who’s found a comfort zone is now mailing it in."
- Joining Forces? U.S. public broadcasters who feel beleagured might want to find common cause with peers in other countries facing similar critiques, such as Canada's CBC, which will soon go head-to-head with conservative Sun Media.
- A Conservative Case for Public Broadcasting: Over at the Huffington Post, self-proclaimed conservative Bill Shireman writes "We need genuine choice in media. Right now, public broadcasting offers one important choice."
- Speaking of Strange Bedfellows: Meanwhile, on the Suicide Girls blog, photos of sexy goth chicks on tanks ornament a critique of government spending priorities vis-a-vis NPR.
- Can't Please Everyone: But, no matter who weighs in in favor of public broadcasting, conservative critiques from "rejecters"—such as this piece from The Right Sphere—are sure to continue.
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