Subject: [Stubblefield] Remarks to Independent Radio Producers from AIR
To: WBAIStaffNotices@yahoogroups.com, WBAIProducers@yahoogroups.com,
*"There Is a Great Reshaping Going On"
*AIR Executive Director's Remarks to Producers at the
Virtual Annual Membership Meeting
Sue Schardt, Executive Director
*Boston: * Thanks to the members of the board of AIR for their support and
efforts over this last year. Sid Selvidge, Amy Mayer, Jim Russell, Karen
Lewellen, Robynn Takayama, our out-going Treasurer Joan Rabinowitz, and –
especially thanks to David Freedman for his commitment and leadership. As
David has mentioned, it has been a year of very hard work, and we work to
make improvements to the organization to best serve our 773 members, and
position ourselves as a willing partner to those throughout public radio and
Thanks especially to you all coming to this meeting tonight. With 773
members in 44 states and 11 countries, AIR has achieved historic numbers. We
have record high numbers of members at this meeting tonight, as well.
I want start by sharing my views about the state of the industry and
We know well about the impact the economy is having on stations, on the
networks. Over these last months, my focus has been on the impact on
producers… the "untold" story of the economic downturn. Here's what we
*There is a crisis in the public radio that must be urgently addressed --
the loss of the talent pool. *The cancellation of Weekend America, Day to
Day, and the loss of funding for Hearing Voices amounts to the loss of
$700,000 in acquisition fees to producers… just from those programs alone.
This creates a tremendous vacuum in an already fragile economy.
*We also know that we are at risk of squandering significant investments
that have been made to cultivate talent over the last 6-7 years. We have a
bright crop of producers working inside and outside of public radio that
have been fed and cultivated over nearly a decade. *These are the new crop
of up and comers, who have been mentored by many of you here; who have been
inspired by the work of our most venerated producers. Many have been groomed
at the Salt Institute, and Duke's Center for Documentary Studies. There is,
of course, the Third Coast Festival, which has germinated so much work and
There has been significant editorial and training investment at the networks
to cultivate more than a hundred producers. There have been significant
financial investments by CPB, and by stations that paid to carry the
cancelled programs. If we can't find a way to sustain our talent pool, we
risk squandering these investments.
*Then there are our veteran producers, those of you who know best what
boot-strapping and endurance means;* those who have created some of the most
brilliant, moving work we know; who have inspired so many of us, and so many
lis teners with your work. These producers among us have on-going
businesses to support, and are facing very tough times, with cutbacks from
traditional funders and clients, and with sources of support and new
business in a holding pattern. I know the future is very uncertain and at
times frightening for you, too.
*There are no simple or easy answers*. AIR has a broad and extremely
diverse constituency to serve. We are all – producers, stations, investors,
the networks – we are all facing difficulty.
*Here's the bottom line.* The threat to our talent pool comes at a time
when the industry is in most need of its most inspired and creative thinkers
and makers. This is where our opportunity lies.
*There is a great reshaping going on. *This represents great opportunity for
AIR, and – I believe – for all of you – producers – who are key to fueling
the creative engine of media making. This is a time of invention. It is a
"time of the maker" – you – who are essential to whatever the future holds.
*AIR is working as never before to influence and contribute to this
reshaping.* I believe we have the opportunity as never before to bring
producers onto equal footing with the networks and stations, as the "third
estate" that makes the industry tick.
*My commitment to you* is to do whatever I can to make sure this story of
this threat to the industry – these consequences of the loss of the talent
pool that I'm sharing with you tonight – are part of the bigger picture of
what is happening as a consequence of the shake-out in the economy.
*My commitment to you *is to work with you, with our board, staff and
partners to do everything we can to secure the talent pool that's at risk
right now. To work to make sure people understand that this reality is not
just AIR's concern. It is a concern shared by everyone in public radio and
beyond who have invested in talent. It is the concern of everyone who
recognizes that brilliant, inventive producers are critical to the survival
of this industry.
*We have opportunity, as never before, to forge a* new productivity, and new
relationships between producers, the stations, and the networks; to bring
great new diversity in the form of new producers who can lead us to places
we've never been…places we don't know about.
*New priorities are being set at every level. *There is great receptivity.
People are hungry for answers. We must – all of us – take advantage of this
time by leading with our ideas. They're eager for finding new ways of doing
*So the onus is on us to put ourselves forward… *each one of us… as a
bottomless font of new ideas. We must work to inspire others with our work.
We must focus relentlessly on the th ings that inspire us. These are the
things that will carry us forward.
Sue Schardt, Executive Director
* * * * * * *
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will not accept the change that's already
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