Posts Tagged Las Vegas
I was talking to Patty Cahill yesterday who is just joining the Board of CPB. We were talking about the future and of course about support and broadening the audience. Until now public radio and TV’s support was directly and exclusively tied to listeners and viewers. Tied to the connection to our on air content. For a generation, Radio and TV has tried to expand this audience without weakening the quality of what we produced. This approach does not seem to have worked. Our audience is still locked into the same metrics. Our attempts to reach other segments have not given us the results that we had hoped for.
Patty and I dug deeper into what may be happening to our support now that we are doing this project that focuses so much not only on content but on helping everyone. Might this be the more legitimate way of building a broader base of support? Have a look at KNPR’s situation here. My bet is that the secret is here. That the more we support all the public, the more that ALL the public will support us. That it is not all about “audience” or content.
As is always the case, the more we’ve communicated about our activities to our Board of Directors, Community Advisory Board and external groups such as the local Women in Communications chapter, the more positive feedback we get over and above the urgency of the topic. There is a profound resonance that what we are doing is what public media can do as no commercial media can: dedicating our resources to focused on air messaging, providing online resources and getting appropriate messages out to audiences who don’t listen to us. (In particular the Hispanic audience, African American and those demographics not associated with public radio use.)
This project answers the question “what do you mean exactly by community engagement”? we hear this from time to time from our board members. They are overwhelmingly supportive of the use of time and resources in this project and understand that this is not related to building audience for broadcast.
We have reported the specific email traffic in previous questions of the week and we have not received a lot of spontaneous recognition for our project from listeners about how they are using the information. Comments such as “please continue your coverage” are commonplace in regards listening.
However: Spring Arbitron numbers just came in for News 88.9 KNPR and looking at the regular Thursday coverage in 10am hour we can see a significant jump in audience year over year – 30% more listening to the 10am hour. We have covered and branded the foreclosure content in this hour every week since the start of April.
We recently received information from the Mexican Patriotic Committee, a non-profit organization that has been in our community for over 29 years. They wanted us to list a community event they are promoting. We have never received such a request from the Hispanic community. The board member who submitted the request said she respected the way Nevada Public Radio is doing outreach to the Hispanic community. She appreciated the fact we are trying to communicate with them about the foreclosure project.
This is an email I received from our local HUD office contact:
“I wanted to thank you again for all of your help. Since partnering with you & KNPR our call volume has increased dramatically. We have also seen an increase in our “walk in traffic”. I have spoken to people who have heard about our programs on your station. You have helped us reach people we may never have reached, were it not for this partnership. I look forward working with you all for a very long time. Thanks.”
Phyllis Hargrove, Operations Specialist U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Field Policy Management.
We partnered with our local volunteer center to hold a volunteer-a-thon as a way of helping the center receive much needed exposure. We also wanted to give people who had recently lost jobs or hours from their jobs an opportunity to do something meaningful for the community, to have a place to go to during the day, to learn new skills, to share their skills and make valuable contacts.
This is an email we received from the Volunteer Center:
“United Way of Southern Nevada’s Volunteer Center had the opportunity to partner with Nevada Public Radio during National Volunteer Week in April 2009. Our ‘bright idea’ was to partner our request for volunteers with Nevada Public Radio’s expertise with pledge drives and their breadth of loyal listeners. Imagine our surprise when 460 new volunteers signed up on our website and pledged 11,655 hours of service to the community over the next 12 months! These 460 volunteers were from a sector in the community that we might not ever have reached without this partnership. We are indebted to Nevada Public Radio and value our collaboration. It is our hope that this partnership endures for many years to come.”
Robin Kelley, Volunteer Center Director
Here is an important story brought to us by Flo at KNPR – Las Vegas is on the knife edge where the moral norms of the nation are in question.
Although the first wave of foreclosures was triggered by subprime loans resetting monthly payments beyond what people could afford, job losses and frustration among underwater homeowners will contribute to the next wave. Unless something can be found to stabilize the situation, it is feared that many will walk – if enough do – meeting our commitments will no longer be a moral norm for Americans.
“I think Las Vegas is one of the worst markets from the point that a lot of people are underwater,” said Luigi Zingales, a professor at the University of Chicago who conducted the study with two other professors. “If the forecast is correct, the situation is not good.”
What will determine the number of Las Vegans who will walk away is how they see the future, Zingales said. If they see the market rebounding, they will stay in their homes for now.
Prices have stabilized over the past two to three months, and sales have reached record highs.
“I think it depends on how people perceive the economy and if they see home prices rebound,” Zingales said. “They will hold off and not walk away. But it they don’t see things improving, they will lose hope, and there can be massive defaults.”
That would add to the inventory of homes on the market, depress home prices and potentially stifle an economic rebound. That would also create more financial woes for lenders.
The Mortgage Crisis is changing traditional assumptions–The White Middle Class is not immune as we see in this story about a high end suburb in Detroit. And Stations are truly reaching out to the entire public – making the system much closer to “public” than ever before.
Here is a quick report from Nevada Public Radio on what they are doing to reach everyone:
Here at Nevada Public Radio we love the idea of reaching out to people who are not necessarily listeners! We have been working closely with KCEP Power 88 (community radio station operated by the E.O.B). This station serves a very large African American audience that is quite different from the typical public radio audience – they play urban contemporary and gospel music most of the day! They participated in our town hall meeting, distributed flyers through local churches and are running all the public service messages in a coordinated way with us.
Recently we identified the google widget to translate our site into Spanish . . . and now we also have a number of other languages most represented in the demographic make up of Las Vegas.
We are working with El Tiempo Spanish language newspaper to find ways to go beyond using trade in the paper to drive people to the resources on the website. The editor and reporter of the paper are helping us understand the media serving the Hispanic audience. We know that VegasPBS has been working with Univision as well.
We are currently working with the Nevada Broadcaster’s Association to distribute PSAs in Spanish to stations serving the Hispanic audience that will reflect the current top line messages of our key partners in alerting listeners to 2-1-1 services, fraud, the many ways HUD can help ALL homeowners, the resources at our site and the new legislation in effect to give Nevadans a mediation session through Legal Aid of Southern Nevada. Again, these messages will be coordinated with our partners. The NBA distributes cd’s of PSA’s to stations and they are going to take on the role of assuring affidavits. Of course, commercial broadcasters have plenty of inventory at this time!
We are working with AARP to reach out to older Americans who are facing the reality of not having any time available to recoup their housing value loss. One valuable partner is NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America) and they serve those most likely to have been targets of predatory loan practice.
We also serve the hearing impaired community. We recorded our foreclosure workbook (distributed by the Nevada Foreclosure Taskforce) and made the audio available online. We also promote our foreclosure website on our Radio Reading Service. At our last town hall meeting on the mortgage crisis, we were told there might be hearing impaired attendees, so we provided American Sign language interpreters.
Here is how WAMU in Washington is reaching out:
Starting this Monday July 20th through Friday July 24, WAMU 88.5 will be featuring “Facing the Mortgage Crisis: The Community Outreach Week”. We’ve partnered with 5 local organizations who are providing a wide range of free services to our community, helping our fellow citizens deal with their financial and employment challenges.
Each day of the week will be dedicated to a single organization. Both live read promos (10 second drop ins with contact information) and recorded Outreach Minutes (these will air ten times during ROS) will inform our listeners about the “organization of the day’s” mission, volunteer and material needs, and programs offered to the public.
Our partners are aware of their dedicated day and will determine how many people who contact them are doing so because of our outreach. The organizations are Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, the Greater Washington Urban League, the Montgomery Housing Partnership, MANNA Inc., and Lydia’s House.
I don’t think we can or will ever go back to having such a narrow view of whom we serve.
Much of what your public radio or TV station can do in the mortgage crisis is to connect you to people who have the knowledge to help you keep your home.
But in some cases this will not be possible. We can connect you to help but your home may not be savable.
Some cities in America are in a new phase of the Mortgage Crisis – Las Vegas, Cleveland, Detroit – cities in California and Florida – where it may not be possible to save almost any home where foreclosure proceedings have begun.
In these cases, the issue is now how to help you when you may have lost your home and your job. How to help you when you have lost the foundation of your life. What kind of help can that be?
One answer is to give you hope.
What does that mean? It means helping you find out, in a realistic and tangible way how to rebuild your life.
I will talk more about this over the next few months. But right now I wanted to tell you about one of the things that is happening in Las Vegas – one of the worst hit cities.
One of the worst things that can happen to any of us is to have nothing meaningful to do.
Jobs are vital. Without one how do we pay the bills. Our work is central to giving us meaning. When we meet a person for the first time, we ask them “What do you do?” Our work defines us. So when we lose our job, who are we? Many people are losing their jobs. This is why many are losing their homes as well.
But in reality, many jobs are in themselves boring and meaningless. Many wish we could do something that we could get excited about. Some are finding that losing their job has strangely brought them back to life.
Here is a link to a NewsHour piece on how many are finding that not having their boring job has empowered people to get behind their passion.
Many can cope with losing their home so long as they can find shelter. But not having work is a kind of death.
We need to be able to get up in the morning and have some thing and some people to go to. If we have good work and we are with good people, we can also rebuild our networks. With a good network, we can also have a much better chance of getting paid work.
If this cannot be your old job, then many are finding that volunteering is a good first step. But of course the issue then is how do I find a good volunteer job?
What KNPR and many organizations in Las Vegas have done is to make it easy for people to volunteer to help organizations that are helping people in the community.
During National Volunteer Week, April 19-25, Nevada Public Radio partnered with the Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada to hold it’s first-ever Volunteer-A-Thon. April is the time when Nevada Public Radio holds its annual spring membership campaign. Instead of asking for members we asked listeners to give something perhaps more valuable – their time. The Volunteer-A-Thon culminated with an on-air drive for volunteers that was also an opportunity to recognize corporate partners who champion volunteerism and support employee volunteers.
Southern Nevadans answered the call to service during the Volunteer-A-Thon, with more than 460 people pledging more than 11,655 volunteer hours to local nonprofit organizations. During the Volunteer-A-Thon, 32 new nonprofit organizations also signed up with the Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada.
So instead of asking for money for the station – KNPR pushed its pledge week out a month – they asked for people to help each other and made it easy to choose what they wanted to do. The 11,000 hours are equivalent to over $200,000 worth of time.
KNPR did not do this on its own – but was helped in turn by not only the Volunteer Centre of Southern Nevada but by a number of corporations such as Zappos, Southwest Gas, Wells Fargo, & Harrahs.
Many good things are coming out of this action. Most important, the splintered community of Las Vegas is coming together. The volunteer organizations, themselves short of money, are getting help and are knitting as a group. For Profit organizations, are joining in. Most importantly, when all might seem lost, rather than not taking action, people are getting out, being with others and doing important work.
Maybe in the scheme of things, this is small right now. But maybe also it might be the beginning of some thing big. We see signs of this in other hard hit cities such as Detroit and Cleveland. You can get so far down that the only way out is up. The only people you can rely on is each other. This is the magic moment when the word “Community” starts to come to life.
“The Sleeper Awakes!”