Network Proposal: Content Sharing via Audioport

Content Sharing: a Proposal to Collaborate with the Pacifica Network

Without a central, technologically-enabled way for stations to collaborate and share programming, the idea of a "network" remains somewhat abstract. Thinking along the lines of "build it and they will come," building a content-sharing tool seems like a good early step for network development.

There are already websites that audio producers use for distributing sound files, including Indymedia sites, Radio4All.net, Pacifica's Audioport.org site, Public Radio Exchange etc. In seeking a solution for the NW Community Radio Network, we're considering several factors:

  • should be as easy to use as any system stations are already using
  • should have low barriers to entry, financial or otherwise
  • should be non-resource-intensive to operate [i.e. doesn't require hiring a computer genius to maintain server]
  • should support a regional/network focus and encourage regional collaboration

PROPOSAL: to use the Pacifica Network's Audioport system as the primary content-sharing system for the NW Community Radio Network, allowing member stations to upload and download regional as well as national programming content, including public affairs programs, news segments, PSAS and shared regional promos.

LIKELY BENEFITS:

  • participating stations could upload and download content from other regional stations
  • stations would also have access to all Pacifica and Pacifica-distributed programs
  • stations' uploaded programs would also be available to stations nationwide
  • NWCRN would be given a workspace "area" of the Audioport system, where works-in-progress could be stored and shared among distant co-prducers

REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATING STATIONS (these details of the proposal are still being worked out):

  • participating stations would gain access to NWCRN 'section' of the Audioport by becoming members of the NW Community Radio Network. NWCRN members would automatically have some kind of status with relation to the Pacifica Network.
  • at the same time, stations would be invited/encouraged to become full-fledged Pacifica affiliates, giving them access to the entire Audioport system as well as other benefits, such as access to remote technical assistance, fundraising consultation etc.

POTENTIAL ISSUES AND QUESTIONS:
Some regional radio folks have expressed concerns about being "subsumed" by a large network like Pacifica, especially given the still-fresh memory of the centralized-power crisis which took place at Pacifica a few years ago.
[Rip Robbins (KSVR) notes: "Stations need not feel paranoid, because Pacifica can't steal into your station through your PC at night and take over your station (as if Pacifica was one evil hacker). The WorkSpace in Audioport is a sharing mechanism, just like any place you would FTP or store MP3 files, it's like a warehouse of sound files. The arrangement (I am on the Pacifica National Board as the Affiliate station representative and I work closely with Ursula this year) with Pacifica can never result in anyone being 'subsumed' as Pacifica is not moving into your offices. Anyway, with the democratically elected representatives from each Pacifica station to the Board, it would be impossible to duplicate what happened in the 95-2000 period at Pacifica."

It's also not unreasonable to ask, if stations have the opportunity to join a national network like Pacifica, what would the regional network add?

PROCESS:
When we approached Pacifica's affiliate coordinator Ursula Ruedenberg with the kernel of this collaborative idea, she responded with excitement, noting also that radio folks in other regions are also looking for ways to accomplish regional networking and might be interested in replicating any successes we achieve. Ursula discussed the proposal with Pacifica folks and reports that if we as a network decide this is a proposal worth pursuing, Pacifica is definitely interested.

Reclaim the Media and the handful of stations currently involved in working on this proposal aren't in a position to commit to this plan ourselves, without broadening the decision-making process to include many more stations. It is our hope that wider discussion of this proposal will take place at our Sept. conference.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey