PRPD19 Conference Agenda Detail Now Available

It's time to step up and get your registration handled. Registration is pacing 65% ahead of same time last year. The hotel room block closes on August 2 (unless it sells out first - likely because over 90% of the rooms are already gone!) The time for deliberations is over.

What's on the agenda, you ask? Take look and then get busy with your planning because the schedule is jacked.

Pre-Conference Workshop There's room for just a couple more participants, so sign up now if you want in.

  • The PD Workshop is a 2-1/2 day intensive that blends philosophy, strategy, skills building, and small groups to hone “hard” skills such as formatics, ratings, break structure, fundraising, brand-building, and emergency planning with essential people skills: creating an inclusive workplace culture of mutual respect, cross-department collaborations, conflict resolution, recognizing and coaching talent, and performance management. The PD Workshop is designed for new and intermediate level programmers, veteran leaders who need updating, and promotion-ready staff who work in the areas of operations, news, music, feature and documentary production and podcasting. Participants receive coaching through the following year from the Workshop’s co-leaders, and grads often remain in close contact throughout their careers, acting as sounding boards for each other's ideas.


Monday, August 26

Nielsen Audio 101 - RRC Workshop (9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
With more and more research becoming available yet no more time to manage it, make this the day you learn the basics and get up to speed on best practices for tracking your audience through these rapidly changing times. After all, data directs decisions. Dave Sullivan and Carl Nelson from the RRC will explain Nielsen Audio and audience research to cover the basics for both PPM and Diary markets. Sign up here.

RRC Suite (1 - 4 p.m.)
RRC staff will be available for PRPD attendees to drop in and ask more intermediate and advanced questions of RRC staff.

Now's the Time: Ten Things You Can Do to Foster Inclusion and Diversity - hosted by PRX and PRPD (3 - 4:30 p.m)

Newcomers Session (3 - 4 p.m.)
Designed especially for those new to the Content Conference to learn how to get the most of your experience, directly from the PRPD Board of Directors.

Welcome Happy Hour, hosted by WBUR (4:30 - 6 p.m.)

Opening Night Party (7 - 9 p.m.) - Join APM and MPR at Orchestra Hall Target Atrium & Cargil Commons for a warm welcome to the Twin Cities with food, drinks and entertainment.

Tuesday, August 27

Conference Welcome & Opening Keynote (9 - 10:30 a.m.)
Digital Transformation Isn't Digital After All with Nancy Lyons
Businesses want to keep up, innovate, and optimize. They want to be creative and efficient, they want to create more with less. They want digital transformation. But leveraging the immense changes and the vast opportunities that the digital era ushered in doesn’t start with digital at all. It’s about people: changing outdated mindsets, behaviors, and processes. In “Digital Transformation Isn’t Digital After All,” Nancy shares how organizations can tackle these changes. She’ll explore how to build a case for a people-first approach and drive real transformation to achieve a digital culture.

Networking Break (10:30 - 11 a.m.)

Breakout Sessions (11 - 12:30 p.m.)

  • Building a Local, Loyal Digital Audience: Case Studies. In 2018 WNYC, KPCC and WAMU purchased local news websites with the goal to engage with younger, digital-first audiences. The challenges include integrating cultures, establishing outcomes and metrics, differentiating brands and pursuing diversity. After a year and a half, how are these efforts faring? What lessons have we learned along the way and what are some strategies you can employ to engage that digital-first audience?
  • Music Licensing Challenges and Opportunities. We’ll review the current copyright landscape with an attorney from the US Copyright Office and talk about music licensing challenges and what the Music Modernization Act means for public media.
  • Truth and Transformation: Changing Racial Narratives in Media. A recent survey revealed that Minnesota journalists overwhelmingly believe local media are failing to accurately and fairly represent communities of color. In the case of Indigenous people and Asian Americans, media are ignoring them altogether. In this session, you’ll hear how a coalition of local media and community partners are responding to that challenge. First, you’ll learn what happened when a diverse group of 275 media professionals, educators and students came together to learn from and with community members whose voices or stories are often ignored, marginalized or misrepresented in the news media. More importantly, you’ll learn what impact these conversations had on newsroom leaders in attendance, the changes they are making as a result, and how you can create more accurate, complete and trustworthy narratives by challenging racial bias — for yourself, your work and your communities.
  • How to Talk to Talent: Voice Coaching for Producers and Managers. Sometimes its difficult to talk with on-air talent about things like presentation, style, energy, or nerves. We know how to identify what we need, but sometimes we can't articulate effectively when coaching talent. This session will help you better understand the relationship, will give you language to talk with your on-air staff and will allow you to get immediate results.

Lunch with APM - Inclusivity in Content: Diversifying Sources, Voices and Staff (12:30 - 2:15 p.m.)
Diversity and inclusion—everyone is talking about it, but what are we doing, both on-air and behind-the-scenes? These efforts are arguably the most important work of our time as we strive to reach new audiences and better reflect our changing communities. American Public Media and its partners at the BBC World Service, Marketplace and KPCC will help us continue the conversation. They will share pain-points, success stories, practical implications and complications.

Breakout Sessions (2:30 - 3:30 p.m.)

  • Building a Podcasting Division from the Ground Up. This session will focus on what it takes for stations to start a podcasting division. In addition to developing and producing podcasts, staff are required to understand music licensing, contracts with external podcast hosts, marketing the shows to get new subscribers, working with digital and art departments, organizing live events, working with underwriting, and cross promoting podcast content on all platforms.
  • Culture of Journalism: Editorial Integrity and Independence. Member stations’ newsrooms are increasingly the primary sources of news for their audiences. That means the stations’ reporters, producers and editors are being called upon more often to tackle news that could be sensitive for major donors or the organization that holds the station’s license. One of the most effective ways to protect a newsroom and codify its independence against outside influence is to craft an editorial integrity document. This can also include ethics guidelines for journalists and station staff to follow. Join PMJA’s Terry Gildea and NPR’s Mark Memmott from the Culture of Journalism team as they and others walk participants through the process of getting this effort off the ground at your station. And they’ll talk about how the process can be more important than the final document itself.
  • Classical Marketing & Content Partnerships. Following up on last year's popular and well-received presentation on classical audience insights, MPR Classical will share results on their efforts to date. They'll update their findings on audience insights, and give examples of some highly successful strategies that have driven ratings and digital engagement, created new content and helped Classical MPR find new, younger audiences by using an audience-centric approach.
  • 5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Station Sound Better Next Week. PDs and GMs are busier now than ever before, and sometimes that means you might run out of time to think about the basics. Take an hour during the conference to learn (or remind yourself) about 5 things that you can do starting Monday to make your station sound better. Along with well-established best practices, we'll talk about how you can be ahead of the curve on smart speaker listening, and hear real-world experiences from your PD colleagues.

Networking Break (3:30 - 4 p.m.)

If I Were President of All Public Radio (4 - 5:30 p.m.)
Imagine we woke up one day to find that ALL of public radio was one giant organization instead of a collection of independently run stations, networks, producers, distributors and businesses. If YOU were the President of the entire network, how would you approach the task? In this engaging, provocative session, we ask a group of courageous and inspired thinkers in our industry to tell us what they would do if they were "The President of Public Radio." In this TED style session, each speaker has been given 15 minutes to share their thoughts.

The Current Microshow, in partnership with Live From Here - Special PRPD Edition
Sponsored by New Belgium Brewing. Featuring Son Volt, Chastity Brown and Chris Thile. Fine Line Music Cafe (doors 7 p.m.)
Just blocks from PRPD HQ, join The Current, Live from Here and New Belgium Brewing for a very special edition of The Current's Microshow event series, featuring three extraordinary acts in a once-in-a-lifetime lineup. Chris Thile, host of Live from Here, performs a special solo acoustic set to start off the evening; Minnesota's own Chastity Brown beguiles with her soulful acoustic folk; and Jay Farrar and friends perform in a rare intimate space - just for the PRPD attendees and Twin Cities fans who sign up for a first-come, first-served experience. Get your entry badge when you check in at the registration desk.

Wednesday, August 28

Your Digital Stream: Your Station's Future (9 - 10:30 a.m.)
A station's digital infrastructure is a vital component in the audience service and sustainability strategy. Streams, smart speakers, apps, metadata, platform relationships, a product development strategy and the staff and budget to execute - all of these elements come together to make your station viable. Join us for a conversation about how to develop a streaming infrastructure that is as robust as your station's over-the-air broadcast system.

Networking Break (10:30 - 11 a.m.)

Breakout Sessions (11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)

  • Who Are We Making This For? A New Look at Audience for Podcast Strategy and More. Anyone can make a podcast, but not everyone understands their audience. In this interactive session, you will go beyond market research and audience analytics and walk away with a road map for content development that holds the listener at the center of your key decisions. The panel will share real-world stories about how their stations have served new audiences, retained talent and strengthened their content development process through their podcasts. This audience-centered, design thinking will allow you to map key stakeholders and talk to potential listeners.
  • The Philosophy of Music Scheduling. For most listeners, your station is only as good as the music they are hearing right now. As a programmer, your priority is to make sure every time someone tunes in they have a great listening experience. Scheduling software can help you improve the consistency of your sound, grow your audience and free up your host's time so they can focus on excellent presentation. From basic techniques like separation and rest to deeper concepts like sound or intensity, scheduling software keeps track of these things so you can focus on what you do best - sharing your insights with your listeners. No matter what music format you program, The W.I.Z.A.R.D. Jill Sorenson can answer your questions about music scheduling.
  • Live Events That Strengthen Public Radio. In a time of deafening online chatter and digital isolation, live events have become a powerful force for good. Attending live events makes people feel more connected to each other, the community, and the world around them. In this session, we'll explore a variety of different events, from policy discussions to live podcasts to music performances, that engage with passionate audiences and create positive impressions for your brand.
  • Ethics Can Be Fun….Really! In stations and newsrooms across the public radio landscape, challenging ethical decisions are being made every day and sometimes it’s difficult to know where to draw the line. Ethics can seem like a dry topic. But this session will be interactive, entertaining and fun, helping you navigating ethical issues at your station. We’ll be digging into real situations you’ve faced with our panel of ethics experts. If you have an example you’d like to share at this session, send an email with the subject line ETHICS to All names and stations will be changed to protect the innocent (or guilty).

Lunch with NPR (12:30 - 2:15 p.m.)

Cohort Meetings (2:30 - 3:30 p.m.)

  • News/Talk Group – Hosted by Ben Adler, Capital Public Radio and Arvid Hokanson, KUOW
  • Triple A Group – Hosted by Jim McGuinn, The Current
  • Classical Group – Hosted by Bill Lueth, KDFC/USC Radio Group
  • Jazz Group – Hosted by Michael Rathke, WRTI
  • Independent Producer's Meeting – Hosted by Daren Dortin, Ozark Highlands Radio

Networking Break (3:30 - 4:00 p.m.)

Concurrent Super Sessions (4:00 - 5:30 p.m.)

  • Election 2020: Coverage that Matters to our Audience. With the 2020 election beginning to take shape, now is the time to create a plan for how you will cover this historic event. In an environment where trust is low in public institutions, especially media, involving your audience in your coverage can encourage civic engagement and differentiate your work from all else. In this session, we’ll discuss how audience engagement creates content that is relevant, unique and meets the need of your audience — with concrete ideas and tactics for stations of all sizes and budgets.
  • The Sound of Public Radio Music. Music format stations from classical to americana are beloved and respected cultural institutions in their own communities and on the national stage. Public radio's celebration of music in all its forms is vitally important to American cultural life and now its time to showcase the impact we have on audiences, artists, the music industry and our own local ecosystems.

YP Meetup (5:30 - 6:30 p.m.)
Join your young professional colleagues at a mixer to socialize, network, and plan a YP takeover of public media! We'll meet at the hotel lobby bar. PRPD will provide drinks; just find Jessica Frantz to grab a drink ticket.

Fireside Chat, hosted by PRX (8 - 9:30 p.m.)

PRX party (9:30 - 11:30 p.m.)

Thursday, August 29

Run with APM (6:30 - 8:30 a.m.)

Public Radio Tech Survey 2019 (9 - 10 a.m.)

Just completing its 11th year, The Public Radio Tech Survey gathers data about the relationship our audiences have with technology. This data can help us plan, strategize and navigate the digital terrain so we can make the best decisions about how to deploy our operational resources. PRTS 2019 provides a comprehensive survey with over a decade of trackable data points that illustrates our listeners use of changing digital media trends.

Breakout Sessions (10:15 - 11:30 a.m.)

  • PRTS Investors Only Deep Dive. If you participated in this year's PRTS, join Fred Jacobs for a deeper dive into the data. Fred will share information specific to the stations and formats that were part of this year's tech survey.
  • Broadcast to Podcast: Expanding Audience Through Content You’re Already Creating. Having a popular radio program is critical to our success, but how do you modify that content to successfully reach audiences beyond broadcast? It’s not enough to simply repackage, but it doesn’t have to be complex. This session will explore best practices for moving broadcast to podcast. The panel of accomplished producers will talk about tips and tricks for adapting radio content for digital audiences.
  • Data Based Editorial Lessons from NPR One. Participants will leave this session with specific recommendations to improve the performance of their station’s content on digital and broadcast platforms based on data from their own NPR One Station Analytics dashboard. With the help of the NPR One Editorial team, you will learn to interpret engagement data to find your station’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, using NPR One’s data-based best practices as a guide, you can develop a list of action steps to bring back to your station. To fully participate in this workshop, stations should be actively participating in NPR One and regularly uploading newscast, story segments and podcasts to the platform. Stations that don’t participate in NPR One, but are interested in learning more, are welcome to join as well. If you’re interested in attending, email so we can have data specific to your station available. This doesn’t lock you into attending, and you are welcome to join without advance notice.
  • Research, Relevance and Racial Bias: The Case for Culturally Competent Newsrooms. A recent survey of Minnesota media professionals unearthed a disturbing disconnect. While a majority of journalists say it is necessary to understand racial bias in order to be effective in their jobs, most have never received unconscious bias or similar training. Yet despite this lack of training, the majority of Minnesota journalists feel confident in their ability to report on racial and cultural groups other than their own. This disconnect not only undermines accuracy and fairness in news coverage, it stokes harmful stereotypes and traumatizes people and communities whose narratives are routinely under-represented, misrepresented or absented from coverage. In this session, participants unpack this and other research findings from the 2019 Racial Narratives in Minnesota Media Survey and create the case – and roadmap -- for making cultural competency an essential qualification for anyone working in public media.

Accessibility, Inclusion and the Power of Music (11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.)
Gaelynn Lea gained national attention when she won NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2016. Her unique mix of haunting original songs and traditional fiddle tunes captivates audiences worldwide and so far she has appeared in 43 states and 7 countries. In addition to performing and recording, Gaelynn speaks passionately about disability rights, finding inner freedom, and accessibility in the arts. In recent years, she has used her music as a platform to advocate for people with disabilities and to promote positive social change. Host of "The Local Show" on the Current Andrea Swensson interviews Gaelynn Lea about her career, her music and how public radio changed her life, followed by a short performance.