It’s The Community, Stupid!

The old broadcasting model does not really cut it anymore

In two weeks we’re starting our 2008 round of Travel Channel Academy sessions.

We’re going to train and empower more than 1,ooo people with cameras and laptops and send them out around the world to start storytelling.

But once they have the skills, (and they certainly have the motivation), where can they go to share their stories? And where can they go to talk to each other?

Broadcasting is about sending one signal, the same signal, to millions of people at the same time. There is no natural human inclination to sit and listen to Katie Couric – that is simply what the technology allowed. A broadcasting tower that forced pictures and sound into the air to be received by millions of dumb and passive receivers and then watched..


But now we have the web.

Now we have a technology which allows people to talk to each other.

To share their stories and experiences with each other, all the time.

This is NOT broadcasting.

This is not even narrowcasting.

This is something else.

This is a community.

It is the difference between making a speech to a crowd and going to the marketplace or a party to talk to friends. No one wants to go to a party to listen to one loudmouth (no matter how interesting) make a speech. It gets boring. People want to talk to each other, and listen, and respond.

THAT is what the web is all about.

Broadcasters have spent 50 years working in one way – creating content for broadcast – a one way street. You sit and listen. I will create the stuff for you to watch. It’s the ‘shut up and take it’ school of content. Which was fine, so long as the technology was dumb and passive.

But it isn’t dumb and passive any more.

It talks back.

Broadcasters are a in unique position to seize the initiative here, because for the moment, they have the attention of the audience. But only for the moment. If they don’t seize that moment and start the conversation, the audience is going to drift away.

Because the product no longer measures up… not to what the technology can do… it no longer measures up to what the technology will do.

So back to The Travel Channel Academy.

The graduates are starting to talk to each other. Like water seeking its own level, they will find a way to create that community. And they have – a place to share their stories and talk to each other.

It’s on Facebook. It’s here.

If you want to take a look at the future, take a look.


4 responses to “It’s The Community, Stupid!

  1. Hi Michael. Agree with all you say. I’m hoping there’s a further evolution coming to online video which will break the connection, the constant fall back, to being poor man’s (broadcast-style) TV.
    I refer to this in a little detail here and welcome your thoughts.

  2. “Train and empower” them?

    I’d probably choose different words than those.

    And be more accurate too!

  3. Community, interactivity, user generated content, contextual advertising, audio AND video, streaming AND on-demand content…to survive, radio must go beyond the traditional boundaries of the audio broadcast model. 21st century radio is anew species. Of all media, radio is in the best position to take advantage of the new media environment. The loyalty and emotion bond that exists between radio stations and their listeners does NOT exist with TV viewers or Newspapers readers.

  4. Pingback: iqradio » Blog Archive » If you want to take a look at the future, take a look

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