The pre-conference session, which went well overall, illustrated something that I should have expected but didn't. Public Radio and TV are, at best, distant relatives within the public broadcasting family.
Here's the best image: last night at dinner, I looked around the room and with 50 station and network executives, arranged at large round tables, all of the tables were "segregated." At every table, the TV-identified folks stayed together and the radio people stayed with their colleagues.
It was a small thing, but, to me, symptomatic of how difficult it will be to bring these two groups together for any concerted online strategy.
Much of the reason is social: TV (or radio) execs spend years cultivating realtionships with other TV execs. They work together on issues of common concern. They form friendships at conferences, on various organization boards. They know one another and share a common experience.
Most of us simply find comfort in the presence of people we know and feel ill at ease with "strangers."
All of this, I think, gives additional weight to the view that radio and TV should probably evolve their online strategies separately and meet up somewhere further down the line.
Is that the right approach? I see a few issues that weigh against it: First, aggregation of resources will be a factor in developing a more powerful online presence. TV and radio each have substantial online investments. Their combined online investment (something like $20 million per year) would provide a very strong foundation for an effective effort that could become self-sustaining. Second, we have a lot of joint licensees, and many of those JLs are real players, including WGBH, KQED, OPB, KPBS, and others. To the best of my knowledge, they don't want separate radio/TV web strategies--if they can find a combined presence that makes sense.
Will those issues count for more than what we might call a difference of culture? Don't know.
I'm sure that this will come up, nore in private conversations than in public debate, here in Seattle.
Talk to you soon, MF