Posts Tagged FTMC
CPB have put our project on the front page of their site – Here is the link to the letter that Jack Galmiche sent on your behalf to Pat Harrison. In a quiet way, I think that we are making history. Proving to others and to ourselves how we can become a powerful agency for good in our communities.
What about us? What about our economic future as stations? I can see that we, by working on this project, may be learning how to answer that question. We may be discovering our new business model that will offer us our own sustainable future.
Jeff Jarvis has fired the opening shot in what I think will be the most productive discussion so far in the media wars.
But I think Owens hit on it when he wrote this: “I realized I needed to flip the expense/revenue picture upside down. Instead of thinking about how to generate more cash, I needed to figure out how to create a news operation that could exist profitably based on a reasonable expectation for local online revenue.”
Everyone that I have talked to recently in senior pub media roles worries that they cannot find the gross from their web operations that they need to replace their 1.0 gross.
I think they are right – it seems clear now that the web revenues cannot be grown fast enough. So the costs are out of synch. Many are reluctantly finding themselves in the same kind of death spiral that the newspapers are in. So what to do?
I don’t think the Holy Grail is an attempt only to grow web based revenue. I think it is to use a new business model. The good news is that enough of this new model is now here. Our challenge is to “see” it and having “seen” it to build upon it.
So let’s “see” where we are now – “see” what is emerging and “see” what can be done to implement it. Please follow me after the Jump:
All stations have web sites – but these are mostly a collection of “banners” and schedule notices. They are not what we all know we have to move to – a place where we interact with our audience.
As we work to find our way in this project, some are finding that they have inadvertently created this new relationship by setting up a focused piece of web real estate – the site for the project. here is how Michigan Radio and Detroit Public TV have seen things on their site:
Michigan Radio & Detroit Public TV’s mortgage crisis website, FacingTheMortgageCrisis.org, has had 4291 visits. On July 16 when Michigan Radio had a call-in show the site had its busiest single day with 473 unique visitors that day. We’ve had about 25 listener comments on our web and social networking sites devoted to the project.
We’ve had a huge range of comments. We’ve heard from a number of people who have had health issues that are causing them to miss house payments or end up in foreclosure. We’ve heard from quite a few individuals who have lost jobs and are trying to be proactive because they know they are not going to be able to keep making their mortgage payments, but are finding that lenders are not willing to work with them in a meaningful way. We’ve used these two types of comments as the basis of on-air radio interviews.
We’ve heard from people looking for help for themselves and for friends. We’ve also heard from credit unions and government officials who contact us to help get the word out about their services. My favorite comment is the following one that was posted MichiganRadio.org after a story about scams aired…
“Thanks to this article and listening to it on the radio, my husband and I cancelled the appointment we had with Federal Loan Modification 20 minutes before the “counselor” was to show up at our house. Thank you very much.”
But, we’ve also heard from a small number of Michigan Radio listeners who think we are spending too much time on this story or aren’t reporting on how the situation is the fault of uninformed consumers or that we should be spending this much time on other stories. (Tamar Charney)
Solving the issue of how to make the web work for us is central to our future – more on this topic over time as more emerges.
The Ripple Effect is worse than I thought – it’s not just that property is blighted but it encourages others to default who did not have to – it weakens our moral will
In the current edition of The Economist magazine, the article: Can pay, won’t pay with subtitle “It is easier to dump a home loan if a friend has done so too” discusses the paper Moral and Social Constraints to Strategic Default on Mortgages.
Here are the results:
- 26% of the existing defaults are strategic.
- No household would default if the equity shortfall is less than 10% of the value of the house.
- 17% of households would default, even if they can afford to pay their mortgage, when the equity shortfall reaches 50% of the value of their house.
Anger about bail-outs of banks or carmakers does not weaken the moral barrier to default. But people who live in neighbourhoods where home repossessions are frequent are more likely to welsh on loans. Homeowners who know someone who has defaulted strategically are 82% more likely to say they would do so, too. The likelihood of strategic default rises more quickly once the rate of local home foreclosures reaches a critical level. That hints at a vicious cycle of foreclosures that both depress home prices and weaken the social and economic barriers to further defaults. To break the cycle, policymakers need to address the problem of negative equity, not just unaffordable interest payments.
Jonathan Miller is one of the best people writing about the Mortgage Market right now – this is from his blog – worth a regular read.
What happens when a station gives voice to a member of the public? When Planet Money told us about the Littof’s – who were blogging about losing their home and everything – PM gave the Littofs a National voice.
So what happened? Wondering what they would do now they were truly free – with nothing – they got this email as a direct consequence of their blog being promoted by Planet Money:
The morning we finally drove away from our house, I received an e-mail from a LITTOF reader that could not have arrived at a more perfect time. We were minutes away from saying goodbye to our house, our home and setting out into the great UNKNOWN when I opened my e-mail and found this:
Forgive this rather long shot e-mail from out of the blue. Would you possibly be interested in a caretaking job?
I came across your blog a few weeks ago, just as we were closing on the purchase of our future home-an old farm house in the San Juan Islands, Washington state. However, we currently live overseas and won’t be moving there until August/September 2011. We are about to place an ad in Caretaker Gazette, to look for someone to live there rent –free for two years and take care of routine maintenance like keeping the lawn mowed and the gutters cleaned. Also to organize and oversee any professional repairs, that we would pay for. The house is unfurnished so you would need some basics.
I understand from your blog that you already have plan to move back to the Midwest with family, but if you are still fairly open about what’s next, perhaps that could be a visit home and then move forward as caretakers. If you are at all interested let me know and I can provide more information and details.
The San Juan Islands? Holy crap.
It really is true. As soon as you let go of one thing another possibility opens up. We had finally let go of this house and not a moment later, this amazing opportunity presented itself. Right away we were excited about it. As you know, we’ve been exploring all kinds of rent-free living situations. From being a lighthouse keeper to working on an organic farm. I recently joined the Caretaker’s Gazette and have been perusing caretaking opportunites around the world. And here this one just fell into our lap! As we drove cross-country we started talking more and more about it. And more seriously.
From Lincoln, Nebraska to Humboldt, Iowa Bob read anything he could find on his iPhone about the island while I drove. We discovered that it has 50% less rain than Seattle and apparently more sunny days than Tucson, Arizona. The more we learned, the more appealing it became. I wrote back and said we were interested in learning more and they replied with pictures. Gorgeous. Quaint. Perfect.
Morning Edition, May 15, 2009 · New figures out this week show that foreclosure filings are up 32 percent from a year ago. Our Planet Money team found that some people in the mortgage industry are saying something remarkable: As many as half of these foreclosures don’t need to happen. (NPR)
At the heart of the matter is therefore the bureaucracy of the lenders. Many just cannot be bothered. Even though the losses are greater through foreclosure – it is bureaucratically easier for them to foreclose and so they do.
How do you cope with this? I think we have to use the power of story to make this a national issue.
As an individual, this is very hard – Here is a blog of the Littof family that I found on Planet Money. They had a short sale that would have given the bank a much better return. But as you will see in this story, they found it very hard to prevent the bank from just pushing the button. Why? Because I think for the people at the bank, there was less to do by foreclosing – Foreclosing is very easy from a paperwork point of view. So you get stalled.
So that was our goal. Avoid Foreclosure. And we did. It got close there for a minute or two. But we did it. Thanks to our Realtors and our persistence. It takes a lot of persistence. If you’re facing foreclosure, fight it. How? Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Ask questions. Call your Governor, your Representative, write letters. Anything you can think of. Just stay in action. And stay committed. That’s our advice.
As local specialists it is also hard. In Cleveland there is a group of lawyers who specialize in this type of case – where the house is able to be saved but where the bank doesn’t care. Here is a remarkable piece of evidence of this bureaucratic push back as we listen in to the lawyers at work (Ideastream)
I think that we have found a leverage point here. A fix will be to make foreclosure harder bureaucratically for the lender.
How to do that?
Maybe to introduce a major penalty if it can be proved that the lender did not exercise its best efforts to do the best for its shareholders and the borrower?
Whatever – Before anything gets done – a lot more people in power have to know that this is a problem and a problem that can be solved by regulators. To do that, we need more stories like this – if we get a national range of stories like this – we will be able to influence what is going on.
Everyone hoped that by now there would be signs that things are getting better – all this talk of “Green Shoots”
But it looks as if they are getting worse. Here WJCT link to a piece by NPR ATC that makes it clear that the major financial institutions have set aside the voluntary pull back from foreclosure asked by by the Obama administration.
On Thursday, RealtyTrac released a report that showed home foreclosures nationally have risen 15 percent for the first half of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. RealtyTrac’s figures suggest Texas’ foreclosure levels have dipped almost 15 percent compared with the same period last year.
RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio said the record levels of foreclosures come “in spite of the industry-wide moratorium earlier this year, along with local, state and national legislative action and increased levels of loan modification activity….” and are being driven by unemployment and a high number borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.
“Stemming the tide of foreclosures is a critical component to stabilizing the housing market, so it is imperative that the lending industry and the government work in tandem to find new approaches to address this issue.”
All the more reason for us in Pub Media to stay focused on this work