national public radio
Big news this weekend from the mothership. National Public Radio gets in the social media game with their launch of the NPR Community, a public media framework that ties all digital content posted on the NPR website - both from insiders and member station producers (Disclosure: I am the latter) - to the good people who actually consume it on their computers, mobile devices, and other emerging gadgets.
I'll be joining the community of NPR/member station employees, listeners, and visitors to the NPR Music Site for the online cabal. According to Dick Meyer, Editorial Director at NPR Digital Media, "Many big news operations have had open comments and other "social media" functions for quite awhile. Some of you are grizzled veterans of Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and online news commenting; for some this will be new."
He added, "NPR has been cautious because we want to do it right; we want the comments and the conversations to be useful, friendly and civil; we want NPR employees to participate and talk about their work. We needed the right tools and the right philosophy to come together. Now it has." Read the full announcement.
It's another victory lap for John Dewey's assertions on the role of journalism in a democratic society and another perp walk for Walter Lippman's treatise. Or an uneasy alliance of the two competing philosophies. To me, it's Dewey's "Great Society" turned "Great Community" for public radio's content makers and users. Supported by taxpayers like you. Cool. Meyer adds, "We are not launching the project to get more "hits" that will make more money. We are doing it because it is the respectful thing to do for the NPR community."
True, but the service will bring more traffic to NPR's website, and consequently, more underwriting sponsorship. Station managers grappling with overtaxed work forces, limited resources, and budget shortfalls of their own will view this with the requisite admiration, envy, and possibly some concern. Will the largesse, an unintended consequence or otherwise, trickle down to stations? And while everyone in public radio has their eye on growing the audience, NPR Digital and other capitalized public media institutions (including a handful of stations) are making the concept of an audience disappear. It's being replaced with citizens and collaborators and users in a participatory online environment. People who naturally consume information, love to share it, comment on it, and engage with it. Not to mention the occasional conservative hecklers and critics of public media. It's an interesting experiment, and finding a solution to the fiscal equation is like finding the next prime number. But organizations like NPR are risking revenue for innovation. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I'll be hanging out in my bleacher seat on the NPR Community, connecting to the music lover who visits some of the content I contribute (including the WBGO/NPR Music Concert Series, Live at the Village Vanguard). I'm joining because it's my bit part in the whole liberal (and I use that word in its true definition) utopian process. After all, what's a great society or great community without some great music?
LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD
WBGO, VILLAGE VANGUARD AND NPR MUSIC JOIN FORCES FOR NEW MULTI-MEDIA LIVE BROADCAST SERIES
MONTHLY SERIES FEATURING TOP ARTISTS FROM PREMIER JAZZ VENUE
BEGINS JUNE 11; FIRST CONCERT WITH GUILLERMO KLEIN Y LOS GUACHOS
WBGO/Jazz88.3FM in Newark, NJ and NPR Music will webcast and broadcast a concert series from the legendary New York City jazz club, The Village Vanguard. The Live at The Village Vanguard series begins next week and will offer monthly concerts for live, free streaming at WBGO.org. Concerts in the series will also be broadcast live NPR Music at www.NPR.org/music.
The Village Vanguard is arguably the Mecca of jazz performance venues. Well into its seventh decade, the Vanguard is revered around the world for its rich history, its continued commitment to jazz, and its near-perfect acoustics. Next spring, WBGO/Jazz 88.3 FM celebrates its 30th anniversary as the premiere jazz broadcaster in the country. Last fall, National Public Radio (NPR) launched the highly anticipated NPR Music site - a free, comprehensive music discovery destination, featuring content from NPR and 12 NPR Member public radio stations, which include WBGO. Now, this trio of music producers and presenters have come together to create a jazz experience that melds new media, technology, and of course - jazz.
Live at the Village Vanguard is a newly launched monthly series from WBGO, The Village Vanguard and NPR that presents jazz programming in a completely fresh way, using multi-platform media to heighten the jazz experience. “WBGO is a public media institution. We are natural communicators, and our mission is jazz. Social media platforms give us the opportunity to build on our foundation, to find and create new fans, and to reach out to people with a real-time connection to music made in the moment,” says WBGO Special Projects Producer, Josh Jackson.
Music and social media is the core of this project along with the fundamental notion shared by all involved that jazz is not an exclusive genre on the margin of the vast and expanding media trends and experiences. Beyond your typical live broadcast radio experience, the concerts will be hosted by Jackson, who will be blogging and web-chatting during the performances, in real time from inside the club, on the WBGO Blog: Jazz & Beyond (WBGO.org/blog). The WBGO broadcast team will create exclusive content to connect personally with the public, such as an online photo gallery created live during the concerts that visitors can check out using Flickr, an online photo management and sharing application gallery.
Live at The Village Vanguard begins on June 11 with Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos, the Argentine pianist and composer and his 11-piece band. On June 18, WBGO, NPR and the Vanguard present a live show with innovative jazz drummer Brian Blade, in performance with the Fellowship Band. Other scheduled concerts are the Uri Caine Trio on July 1; the Kenny Barron Quintet on August 27; Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano on September 3; the Bill Charlap Trio on October 8; the Ravi Coltrane Quartet on November 19; and the Cedar Walton Quartet on December 17.
Jazz content currently accounts for 15 percent of the music on the NPR music site, and NPR believes this is an exciting way to reintroduce the genre to its overall audience. Live at The Village Vanguard is the first jazz concert series to be live webcast by NPR Music and the latest addition to the site’s popular “Concerts” section, which features hundreds of regional and national web concerts and adds more than 15 new performances each month. The series continues NPR Music’s long tradition of presenting live performance jazz on air and online.
The Village Vanguard continues to blaze the trail when it comes to live performance. Vanguard owner Lorraine Gordon did not hesitate when she was approached with the idea of a broadcast collaboration. "It’s an honor and a pleasure to work with WBGO. [W]BGO is a part of the structure of jazz today and the scene…very necessary."
Live at the Village Vanguard Schedule
Join us at the Village Vanguard, or from your living room for any of the following dates:
Wed. June 11th – Guillermo Klein Y Los Guachos
Wed. June 18th – Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band
Tues. July 1st – Uri Caine Trio
Wed. August 27th – Kenny Barron Quintet
Wed. September 3rd – Paul Motian/Bill Frisell/Joe Lovano
Wed. October 8th – Bill Charlap Trio
Wed. November 19th – Ravi Coltrane Quartet
Wed. December 17th – Cedar Walton Quartet
• Live Meebo chat room: www.wbgo.org/villagevanguard
• Live blogging: www.wbgo.org/blog