Conference Agenda

Monday, August 14

4:00pm – 5:00pm

Newcomers Session

Tuesday, August 15

8:30am – 9:00am

Conference Welcome

9:00am – 10:30am

Millennial Research Project

PRPD’s latest, system-wide knowledge project will have its first full-scale roll-out. We’ll learn what our next audience thinks about our brand our value in the mediascape, diversity and inclusion – and you’ll discover the role local shows play in bonding this critical audience to your station.

Fred Jacobs
Jacobs Media
10:30am – 11:00am

Networking Break

11:00am – 12:00pm

Creative Vision for Managers

Creativity and management? Together? Vision and management? Together? Yes.

Most managers are lucky to make it through a day that’s filled with balancing multiple initiatives, priorities, and problems. There seems like little time for (or benefit from) defining a creative vision for your work and your teams. But that’s completely backwards. The small amount of time it takes to articulate your vision (hint: you can do it during the time it takes to attend this session) will help you be a more effective leader of inspired, energized, and focused creative teams. In this session, Eric Nuzum shares techniques he has used at NPR and Audible to focus and motivate managers and teams to do their best work.

Eric Nuzum
Sr. Vice President Original Content
11:00am – 12:00pm

Can Video Save the Radio Star?

Today’s dynamic media environment gives any content provider the ability to easily offer video to your audience. To that end, CPB funded a project to develop models for video training, production and distribution for both stand-alone radio and TV stations and joint licensees. For stations emphasizing their news mission, video is a powerful tool to reach new audiences and build additional support. This session will provide offer practical ideas for stations that want to start or grow their video content. We’ll also talk about the challenges of sustaining this effort and building a new business model.


Alison Perkins
Project Coordinator, Video Production Unit
David Steves
EarthFix Local Journalism Center
Alison Scholly
Executive Director
Channel X
Jan Boyd
Director of Digital Strategy
11:00am – 12:00pm

Classical Spark's Best Practices for Station Promotion

Reality check: our music stations are just one of myriad options for music lovers today. This session offers concrete strategies to ensure your station is on the radar screen when people are in the mood for classical music. Topics include station positioning, branding clarity, and Ten Tips for effective on-air promotion to keep people listening and coming back for more. This session is produced in partnership with Classical Music Rising.

11:00am – 12:00pm

The Art of the Interview

The interview has never been about “asking good questions.” Today’s question is: how will you deliver a distinct, meaningful experience in a deeply divided mediascape that is glutted with interview-based content?  Everyone has biases.  Identity and background are inextricably linked to an interviewer’s quest and topic selection, booking prep, framing and call selection and has a major impact on what the audience receives - and perceives. The Millennial Research Project surfaced critical fault lines in our audience around these issues, so be prepared to expand your thinking and approach.

Luke Burbank
Live Wire
Piya Chattopadhyay
Host, Out in the Open
11:00am – 12:00pm

Emergency Preparedness

The day you need it is not the day to establish a station’s emergency plan. Dead obvious, right? But has your station established contingency plans for a variety of natural disasters, mass casualty incidents, active shooter situations, accidents and circumstances that may require your staff to evacuate your building? Learn from the people who have led teams through these situations - in small and large shops - how they developed, communicated and implemented their plans. Your community will remember if you were able to provide meaningful, continuous public service during an emergency. Be ready.


Helen Barrington
Sound Advice Consulting
Jeff Ramirez
Vice President for Radio
Naomi Starobin
Radio General Manager
Kristen Muller
Head of Content Innovation
Southern California Public Radio (SCPR-KPCC)
2:00pm – 3:00pm

Sound Like Your City: Secrets for Creating a Signature Local Sound and Attracting Younger, More Diverse Listeners

Consumers have more options than ever for consuming the content they want, when they want it, on the platform that’s most convenient. So what will make them loyal to their local public radio station? One answer: a sense of place. Learn how stations are injecting new energy and local flavor into their airwaves to create a sound that grows listening and loyalty.

2:00pm – 3:00pm

The Digital Impact

In 2016 Apple served up over 10 billion podcast episode downloads and streams, but the Top 100 list of podcasts on iTunes rarely includes anything with music or music performance. How does a music station distinguish itself in the age of podcasts and make classical music more impactful in people’s lives beyond broadcast offerings? This session looks at what’s sticky – and what’s not – in our rapidly shifting digital landscape. Which of our digital offerings and what new products might we consider to build audiences for classical music and loyalty to our stations? This session is produced in partnership with Classical Music Rising.

2:00pm – 3:00pm

Being Smart About IP

Ignorance is bliss until --- you receive a notice of infringement of copyright or trademark, a nasty cease and desist letter, or a summons to defend an unauthorized use of publicity rights. This panel identifies some of these potentially expensive disasters and outlines steps you can take to avoid them. The panel will discuss updates to  the notice and takedown requirements for your website,  filing deadlines with the Copyright Office,  the dangers of posting  photographs without permission, the value of trademarks ( yours and others),  and some of the dos and don’ts for using copyrighted music and posting programs on different  platforms. Join attorneys from the firm Garvey Schubert Barer for a lively discussion of some of the rewards and perils of intellectual property rights.

John Crigler
Melodie Virtue
Judy Endejan
2:00pm – 3:00pm

It Doesn't Have To Be Like This: Re-thinking Radio

What makes a good idea? How does innovation happen? BBC World Service Senior Commissioning Editor Steve Titherington gives some examples of what works, and what shouldn't have worked, and looks at the many and varied obstacles the media is determined to put in the way of a good idea and a successful production. Steve offers a look at what the old platforms, and radio is the oldest by far, can do to utilize fresh approaches through new thinking about audiences, journalists, formats, presenters and acceptable risk. And remember, it doesn't have to be like this!

Steve Titherington
Senior Commissioning Editor
BBC World Service
2:00pm – 3:00pm

The Value of Listening

StoryCorps teaches us that “listening is an act of love.” It’s also the most elemental unit of the public radio economy. Following more than a year of record increases in listening, stations are converting that listening into new revenue to fuel new content creation, including new content for future audiences. Let's talk about how growing listening sustains public radio, and allows stations to tell new and deeper stories to all kinds of audiences.

3:00pm – 3:30pm

Networking Break

3:30pm – 5:00pm

Reveal Your Community: The Campaign for Local Growth

The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX share their experiences launching Reveal to rally and organize local stations to mount long-form collaborative investigations, revolutionize their talent pipeline, get in front of hungry audiences and inspire courageous philanthropists who can fuel the work.

Wednesday, August 16

8:00am – 9:15am

The Digital Disruption of News & the Media

Join Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR's On Point, for an illuminating conversation with journalists turned technologists -- both thinking outside of the box on how to present and disseminate news to ever changing consumers, hungry for fast and smart information in the digital age.  It sounds a lot like public media. 


Tom Ashbrook
On Point
Jeremy Gilbert
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Washington Post
Matt Thompson
Deputy Editor
Allison Rockey
Director of Programming
8:00am – 4:15pm

Exhibits Open

9:30am – 10:30am

Public Radio and Fact Checking

Fact checking is playing a larger role than ever in political coverage thanks the rise of PolitiFact,, the Washington Post Fact Checker and others. What is the role of public radio and fact checking? Capital Public Radio launched PolitiFact California two years ago and is the only public media outlet with such a partnership. Why did they do it and why did Politifact want to partner with public radio? What are the challenges to launching a fact checking initiative, and how do you turn a digital/print concept into radio?

9:30am – 10:30am

Driven to Disruption

Driving will soon -- 2020, by some estimates -- become a passive experience, one where your hands and eyes are free to concentrate on something other than the road. What will that mean for public radio? Join us for an interactive workshop focused on exploring and assessing the opportunities and challenges autonomous vehicles present for an industry long associated with commuting.

Kristen Muller
Head of Content Innovation
Southern California Public Radio (SCPR-KPCC)
Umbreen Bhatti
KQED Innovation Lab
9:30am – 10:30am

Audience Intelligence - Digital Analytics and Metrics That Matter

How are digital users connecting with our content? What are the user journeys that we are responding to and trying to guide? How do we leverage the real-time data of the digital age to increase our relevance, value, impact, and sustainability? A growing number of stations are investing  in tools, systems, and personnel to better understand our audiences and better assess our own performance.  This session will report how public radio digital leaders are refining the multitude of metrics to which we have access, learning about advanced digital analytics, and working to inform and assess our evolving digital strategies.

9:30am – 10:30am

Algorithms, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Apple TV: What’s Next for Public Music Stations in a Digital World?

Digital platforms, mobile devices, and streaming services are all changing the way we discover and enjoy music. Hear industry leaders discuss the challenges and opportunities for public media music stations as we all navigate a path through this ever-changing terrain.

Roger LaMay
General Manager
Jennifer Ferro
Hawk Mendenhall
Associate Director of Broadcast and Content
9:30am – 10:30am

Increasing Community Engagement and Audience Growth. It's All About Listening.

For more than a dozen years, Friday mornings have been synonymous with StoryCorps on Morning Edition. Since its founding by Dave Isay in 2003, StoryCorps, the independent nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, has been collecting, sharing and preserving the stories of Americans. Its Mobile Tour has traveled the country for more than a decade, in visits to cities of all sizes that are carried out in partnership with local stations; permanent booths are now located in four cities.
It is hard to imagine a time when it was more important for Americans to share their stories and listen to each other—strengthen the connections between people—to weave
the fabric of our culture into the understanding that everyone’s story matters.
In this session we explore the ways in which stations and local communities can use the tools and platforms offered by StoryCorps to advance local service mission—how we can listen, share our humanity and preserve the stories of who we are. 


David Greene
Morning Edition
Robin Sparkman
Bec Feldaus Adams
Editorial Project Manager
Jeanette Woods
Coordinating Producer for Community Contributions
10:30am – 11:00am

Networking Break

11:00am – 12:00pm

Pubcast Engagement & Social Media - Lessons From the Outside

What can public media learn about effective engagement strategies and opportunities from commercial media outlets?  Broaden your engagement perspective in this dialog, featuring leading commercial media engagement strategists.


Jodi Gersh
Senior Director, Engagement Lab
Steve Lickteig
‎Executive Producer, Podcasts
Jessica Stahl
Executive Producer for Audio
The Washington Post
Lauren Katz
Senior Engagement Manager
Mary Nahorniak
Deputy Managing Editor of Digital
USA Today
11:00am – 12:00pm

Energize Content Promotion, Build Audiences, Donations and Sponsorships

Learn about how your public radio content can attract new audiences and encourage your audiences to tune in longer. MetaPub, a new service developed by the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS), designed for stations and producers synchronizes text, images and links with live broadcasts on smartphones, car dashboards, web sites and other mobile devices.  It can also enable listeners to donate while listening to your station using their smartphones and provide new opportunities for sponsorships.  The session, moderated by NPR Distribution, manager of the PRSS, will include national producers and station leaders who will discuss their involvement in the development and testing of the MetaPub service.

11:00am – 12:00pm

Big Shoes to Fill: How to Identify Talent for Public Media's Future

As a generation of public radio superstars steps away from the mic, how do we identify, attract, and elevate the talented new on-air personalities that will carry the industry into the future? And how in the world do we carry forward a generation of listeners who are sad to see their beloved NPR personalities move on? Hear from veterans of high-profile talent transitions on what works, what doesn’t, and how you can leverage your moment of transition to make your station stronger and more beloved.

11:00am – 12:00pm

The Role of News in Your Weekend Schedule

What’s the right tone of news content for my weekend schedule? What is the right scope of that programming for my audience? With an unrelenting news cycle, changes in weekend program options, and continuously evolving listening habits, stations are looking closely at weekend news content and carefully considering what best helps audiences stay up-to-date, better understand what’s happening and what’s coming, and hear more stories and reflections on this distinct political and cultural moment. This APM session is an open discussion that probes what we know about weekend audiences and what news content best engages them.

1:45pm – 2:45pm

Networking Break/PRPD Member Meeting

2:45pm – 4:00pm

Journalism in the Age of Trump

Leave the theory at the door – this conversation will mine the practice, ethics and responsibility of journalism. Al Letson will dig deep with New Yorker writers Kelefa Sanneh and Sarah Stillman about how journalism can best serve the public good by maintaining a strong stance in its relationship to institutional power. Bring your real world challenges to the Q&A and let’s make this a working session on how we can continue to lead with confidence, courage and authority.


Al Letson
Kelefa Sanneh
Staff Writer
The New Yorker
Sarah Stillman
Staff Writer
The New Yorker
4:15pm – 5:45pm

News/Talk Format Meeting

4:15pm – 5:45pm

Classical Format Meeting

4:15pm – 5:45pm

Triple A Format Meeting

4:15pm – 5:45pm

Jazz Format Meeting

Thursday, August 17

8:00am – 9:15am

PRX's Project Catapult

The public radio audience has demonstrated its strong attachment to on-demand audio. Local stations are figuring out how to leverage this opportunity. The seven stations in the CPB funded Project Catapult will walk you through their process and what they’ve learned about how to expand their remit and meaningfully engage in this space.

9:30am – 10:30am

It's About the Audience: Lessons From On-demand Platforms

Find out what stations discover when they dug into the NPR One data and use NPR One as part of their content strategy. Hint: it is all about serving audience. Over the last few months, a group of stations have been working with the NPR One team to dig into the approaches to local news and podcasts that work best.  We’ll share what we discovered together about approaches to stories and podcasts. Station participants will share the changes they made at their stations as a result of NPR One and their recommendations about how to create similar successes at your station. And we’ll open up a discussion with you about which lessons are more broadly applicable to other platforms.

Tamar Charney
Managing Editor
9:30am – 10:30am

Developing and Sustaining Local That Works

Defining "local" is easy. Defining "works"... much harder. What are the possible KPI, do we have agreement on the dashboard and who are the top performers? The Public Media Futures Forum is collaborating with Current to collect a library of "Local that Works" case studies and model projects.  Together, they are sponsoring a national competition to find and reward the best new ideas. This session will present some of the breakthrough cases they have identified. The presentation will allow for interaction with the programming leaders who made the staffing, production and financial decisions that shaped these success stories.


Mark Fuerst
Public Radio Futures Forum
9:30am – 10:30am

Voice Coaching for Clear, Compelling Storytelling

As storytellers, the voice is a powerful, expressive tool. With more and more print and TV reporters coming to radio – an increasing number of on-air talent needs help making that transition. So how can we help our hosts and reporters raise their performance game? Join NPR voice coach Jessica Hansen as she shares insights on breath control, vocal placement and delivery, which increase credibility, accessibility, and comprehension for the listener.

Jessica Hansen
9:30am – 10:30am

The 21st-Century Host Connection

Playing music on the radio alone isn’t enough to make people aware of and care about (and support) your station. This session looks at how a station’s personality is communicated through the music mix and messaging, and most importantly in the way our hosts interact with listeners. The host connection – in the booth and on social media – sets our stations apart from other classical music services, as daily friends, companions, entertainers and trusted guides. The session will include comparative air checks, and best announcer practices in today’s media environment. This session is produced in partnership with Classical Music Rising.

Bill Lueth
9:30am – 10:30am

Podcast to Radio, or Vice Versa? Exploring Potential & Realities

As podcasting continues to grow, and as stations experiment with the best ways to engage audiences on both radio and podcast platforms, this session explores what works about the podcasting to radio crossover, or vice versa. How is it a “both/and” strategy instead of an “either/or” strategy for reaching audiences? What are the realities and possibilities?

10:30am – 11:00am

Networking Break

11:00am – 12:00pm

Red State Report: What Larger Markets Need to Hear From Rural Stations

The recent election cycle has taught us that rural America should not -- and cannot -- be ignored. As public media organizations we have a special opportunity to bridge divides between rural communities and larger metro areas, but many stations are struggling with where to begin. We turn the tables in this session as we invite large-market stations to sit in the seats and listen closely to our rural station panel, as they help us understand the work of public broadcasting in non-urban, often politically conservative settings and outline their vision for the unique role public media can play in the current climate. They’ll share some concrete ideas for how urban and rural stations can do a better job supporting each other’s efforts. This session is produced in partnership with Greater Public, PRPD, NFCB, and AIR.

Kris Gruen
WGDR - Goddard College Community Radio
Mollie Kabler
Executive Director
Sally Kane
National Federation of Community Broadcasters
11:00am – 12:00pm

Event A.I.R. - The Audience, Impact and Revenue of Content Events

Public Radio stations continue to increase events for content that expand digital and broadcast experiences. However as a discipline, content events lack the benchmark analysis that provide best practices similar to the broadcast and digital platforms. Over the next year, the PRPD and Culture Casts will conduct a study with stations examining events through a metric of Audience, Impact and Revenue. Join us in this discussion and share your views to help inform this timely study. Results of a preliminary event survey study will also be part of this session.

Tony Bol
Culture Casts
11:00am – 12:00pm

The Trump Bump

11:00am – 12:00pm

How to Launch: The Successful Marketing Campaign for a New Program

Sooner or later, every station has a new initiative to promote. What does it take to make an impact with a new program? Join a conversation about how to keep attention on your core offerings, while also building attention and awareness for your new program or project.

2:00pm – 3:00pm

The Trouble With Reality (and Journalism)

There are facts, there is the truth and Virginia Prescott wants Brooke Gladstone to walk us through the minefield that we call journalism. Reality, as Gladstone argues in her latest book, has never been an objective position. There is nothing new happening today. There have always been bubbles and demagogues, people are inherently subjective and prey to stereotypes. Public media has proudly adhered to a journalistic tradition that has built one of the world’s most trusted news brands. How does this approach hold up and how do we build for a durable future. Prescott may not be able to get Gladstone to fully answer these questions, but we know it’s going to be a firecracker of a conversation and line up early, because the Q&A could go on for hours.

Virginia Prescott
Host, Word of Mouth
Brooke Gladstone
Host, On The Media