I am a sample of one, but I wanted to let you know what public media
membership looks like to me, a 57-year-old woman living in the NYC
area, who has been a subscriber to WNYC for a few years. I'm also
someone who loves going to Hacks and Hackers, helped start Code for
America Brigade in Hoboken, and is a writer who's been involved in
some form of digital connection for two decades. And I'm a big fat
Public media membership isn't fun.
And I love my local station. And I love lots of things about the
public radio I listen to.
But the last encounter I had with my station as a subscriber was,
sadly, to complain about a show that I thought had gone over the line
(it was a piece On the Media had done on the Rolling Stone/UVA
fallout. And yes, I emailed them about it and got crickets).
And yes, I reduced my monthly membership after, in part because of my
unhappiness over what I thought was irresponsible journalism
Particularly painful because before on-demand? This was a show I got
up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning to listen to.
And in part because I am throwing my money at individual podcasts
these days. And because I am trying to support more diverse media. And
NPR still isn't all that diverse. WNYC, much better.
That's another drain on the idea of membership.
But as you've been writing (so well, so intensely) about other ways
public radio members might contribute, I need to tell you, I think
part of what's missing...is fun. Not very quantifiable, I know. And
notice I don't use the word "delight," that odd Silicon Valley term.
Being a public media member doesn't feel fun. It feels like a
What has been fun lately:
Listening to Welcome to Night Vale (where I've donated, where I've
gone out of my way to see the creators in the flesh--you should have
seen the rabid fans at Bookcon).
Watching Black Girl Nerds on Periscope at Comic Con
Watching Black Girl Nerds live tweet tv shows and conduct a weekly
Shakespeare discussion..via Twitter
(I'm white, and I would definitely contribute to keep BGN going.)
Following actor playwright phenom Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter, where
he tells us about HAMILTON, a little show that could, that started at
a theater where I'm a member. I feel invested in the show's success,
and I feel proud of the institution that was its first home, and yes,
if they suggested another tier of participatory membership, I would
jump. Because I've already had fun, feeling plugged into a living,
So...however you do this, please make it fun.
I hope this makes some sense.