Every meeting I go to that discusses the future of Public Radio and TV, has getting a foothold among the young as the Holy Grail. The implication is that somehow, a new kind of programming that uses the air will find this elusive market.
The core idea is that somehow the Grail will come to us. What if we went instead out to the Grail?
Go to Facebook and check the following out.
- Are there large networks that support public radio and TV? There are 2 that are in the thousands
- How big is your local regional network and how does it compare to your current membership? In St Louis there are more than 71,000.
- What kind of penetration does Facebook have in your community? In Charlottetown, pop 35,000, there are 13,000
Who is in Facebook? If you join your local network - you can use powerful search tools to understand the local market better. You can get a sense of the political color of the place - in St Louis 61% claim not to be closely affiliated with a strong view - feels like public radio/TV types to me.
How would Facebook stack up versus other networks such as MySpace? My bet is that they fit the profile - well educated and aware. Young but not all young.
What about YouTube?
I am working on how best to support the upcoming Ken Burns documentary on "The War" in September of this year. I looked at how Wisconsin has put on its very well produced pieces on stories of its vets. They are very polished - but you cannot see them easily, they load very slowly on Real, you cannot comment or talk about them, you cannot form a group around them and you cannot add your story to them.
They look polished but they have no group forming power.
Now go to YouTube and search for Bill Moyers - you will see that PBS and others are putting his work up regularly. Check out his recent interview with Jon Stewart. See the interaction and the group forming power of this. Now imagine if PBS used this channel to build community. What if your local PBS station and Radio station had a YouTube Channel?
Oh we would lose our brand you may reply. But I then ask - do you want a younger audience or not? A recent poll of the kids of staff in Public radio told us that almost none of their kids had a radio.
If you polled your kids and asked if they used Facebook and Youtube - what do you think the answer would be?
We talked last weekend about the need to build audience. We heard in Boston, that if you really want a jump in size of market - you have to find a new audience. Well folks, our new audience is there just waiting for us to have the courage to meet them on their terms