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Media Uncovered

Author: Public Media Alliance

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From the Public Media Alliance, a podcast which uncovers and provides insights into the world of public interest media. We’ll be asking the biggest questions facing the industry: What are the threats facing trusted, independent media? How can public media remain relevant and best demonstrate their value in the digital age? How do we keep journalists safe? Every month, we’ll be tackling these issues, and speaking to prominent commentators and practitioners about what answers and solutions are out there.
24 Episodes
Why are so many American public media networks downsizing, and laying off staff? For this episode, we head to the US. In February 2023, NPR announced it was laying off 10-percent of its workforce – at least 100 people – facing a shortfall of $30 million. And in June 2024, it was announced that PBS would be making 24 people redundant. In the intervening months between those two announcements, there has been a litany of layoffs from regional networks, from GBH in Boston to Colorado Public Radio in Denver. What's causing these layoffs? And what impact will they have on the staff, on the content, and on the audiences?  Presenter: Harry Lock. Correspondents: Jamie Tahana and Charlotte Pion. Guests: Mary Cavallaro (SAG-AFTRA), Ken Doctor (Lookout Local), Patricia Harrison (CPB), Professor Nikki Usher (University of San Diego), Sofia Verza (Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom). Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson, Tom Brazier.  Sign up for our newsletter:
More than three billion people will go to the polls in more than 80 countries this year, and public service media will be on the frontline for many of them. But at a time when democracy finds itself on increasingly threatened ground, with rising authoritarianism, apathy, and mis- and dis-information, how does PSM plan to cover them?   In this latest episode of our podcast, Media Uncovered, we speak to GBC in Ghana, which is trying to reach as many remote communities as possible amid budget pressures, while creating mechanisms to maintain its accuracy; we’re in Brussels, looking at how various journalists and broadcasters are covering the European elections; and we ask PTS Taiwan if there’s any lessons from their experience in January.   Presenter: Jamie Tahana. Correspondents: Charlotte Pion & Harry Lock. Guests: Amin Alhassan (GBC), Valentina Vasileva (VOA), Pascal Albrechtskirchinger (ZDF), Joosep Värk (ERR), Prof. Ike Picone (VUB), Ching Ching Hai (RTI). Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson. SFX: TripleX
On 1 March, Argentina's new president, Javier Milei, stood up in Congress and announced the closure of Télam, the country's national news agency. Come Monday morning, Télam's headquarters were bordered up and guarded by police. No workers were allowed in. So why is Argentina's public media sector being targeted? What has led to the closure of the news agency putting 700 jobs at risk, as well as further threats to privatise the national TV and radio broadcasters as well?  In this episode, we explore the history of the public media sector across Latin American, and specifically in Argentina, as we analyse what has brought us to this moment now. And we examine what impact might the closure of public media mean for the country's broader news ecosystem.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Dr Rodrigo Gomez (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa), Tomás Eliaschev, (Télam & SiPreBA), Natali Schejtman (University of Torcuato Di Tella). Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still & Tom Brazier. SFX: Somos Télam & Pixabay. 
To celebrate World Radio Day 2024, our podcast examines this year's theme: "Radio: A century informing, educating and entertaining".  While radio has changed perhaps beyond all recognition since its inception, the three fundamental pillars of radio – and particularly public radio – remain as relevant and necessary today as ever. To explore this, we take a look at each pillar one by one, and speak to a different radio station about each one.  Tackling entertainment, we speak with ABC's youth radio station, Triple J, on how they continue to reach and entertain young audiences. We travel to northern Norway to speak to NRK Sápmi, on how their content seeks to educate audiences – new and existing. And we finish in Barbados, speaking to Starcom Network Inc, on how their portfolio of radio stations inform audiences in the modern, digital age. We also talked to three leaders of public radio associations about the future of radio networks, the challenges they face, and the opportunities available in different regions of the world.   Presenter: Harry Lock. Producer: Jamie Tahana. Guests: Kristian Porter (PMA), Edita Kudláčová (EBU), Sonia Gill (CBU), Anthony Greene (Stardom Network Inc), Johan Ailo Kalstad (NRK Sápmi), and Lachlan Macara (ABC).  Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson, Tom Brazier.  More World Radio Day content:      
With CBC/Radio-Canada publishing their first ever National Indigenous Strategy, we take a look at public media's role in serving, reflecting and representing Indigenous Peoples – both on and off screen.  We examine how public media historically have treated, reported on, and engaged with Indigenous communities. We look at current efforts by broadcasters including NITV, RNZ and NRK Sápmi to reach and connect with Indigenous audiences in meaningful and engaging ways.  And we explore CBC/Radio-Canada's new strategy – what difference will it actually make? And will audiences notice a difference? Presenter: Harry Lock. Producer: Jamie Tahana. Guests: Johan Ailo Kalstad (NRK Sápmi), Tanya Denning-Orman (SBS / NITV), Robert Doane (CBC/Radio-Canada), Mirta Lourenco (UNESCO), Catherine Tait (CBC/Radio-Canada). Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson, Tom Brazier.  Find out more about CBC/Radio-Canada's strategy >  With thanks to: NRK, SBS, RNZ, CBC/Radio-Canada for additional materials. 
What has the impact of the digital age been on public service media? What challenges has it thrown up? How have public media adapted? What opportunities does increasing digital connectivity throw up for public media entities?  In this one-on-one conversation with the Senior Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Nic Newman, we explore how the digital age gives public media access to young audiences, how it has presented financial challenges, and how it has impacted the entire media ecosystem.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Nic Newman (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism) Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still.  Links: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Digital News Report 2023: PMA Global Grants 2024:
Speaking to three public broadcasters from three continents, we explore how public service media provide language services, why they're so vital, and what difference they make, from the provision of critical lifesaving information, to the upholding of Indigenous cultures and languages. But language services face challenges – particularly when it comes to reaching the audiences, and getting the funding to provide the quality of service you need.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Stanley Similo (NBC); Vicky Eluq (RTM); Bakel Walden (SRG SSR).  Reporter: Desilon Daniels (PMA). Special thanks to Menesia Muinjo and Bianca Gowases of NBC for the vox pops.  Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still and Tom Brazier. 
Over the past couple of episodes, we’ve been examining the relationship between public media and social media. In this episode – the final episode of this mini series – we’re asking how can we regulate social media? How can we ensure a more balanced media ecosystem, where media organisations are financially viable, publicly visible and accessible, and where mis- and disinformation is controlled? Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Pascal Albrechtskirchinger (ZDF), Helen Jay (University of Westminster), Courtney C. Radsch, David Sutton (ABC). Reporter: Desilon Daniels (PMA).  Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still and Tom Brazier.  Special effects: Studio Kolomna, Microsammy and pixabay. 
In the last episode, we ended with a vision from the Director General of RTBF, Jean-Paul Philippot, where RTBF no longer needs to be on social media. In this episode, we dig deeper. Jean-Paul says to leave platforms, they first need to bring audiences to their own apps. So how can public broadcasters do that? We look to NRK and what we can learn from their experience moving away from third-party audio platforms.  And when there is such a gulf in size and spending power between PSM and tech platforms, how can you attract those audiences? Does the answer lie in user-generated content? We explore two initiatives trying to find the answer to this question, and provide a digital space which is filled with democratic debate rather than toxic abuse or mis- and disinformation.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Jean-Paul Philippot (RTBF), Cathinka Rondan (NRK), Catherine Tait (CBC/Radio-Canada), and Matthias Pfeffer (The Council for a European Public Space). Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson and Tom Brazier. Link to roundtable event:
Throughout the past two decades, social media networks have provided opportunities for public media to reach younger audiences and provide fresh content. It's been a necessary move, as younger audiences increasingly use these sites as a source of news. But recent headlines about two networks in particular – Twitter and TikTok – have shone a spotlight on public media’s relationship with social media. What do these issues tell us about what it means for public service media to be on social media? And when the mission and values that govern social media are so different to that of public media, can public service media survive on these platforms? Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Jean-Paul Philippot (RTBF), Christian Gillinger (Swedish Radio), Courtney C. Radsch, and Philippe Edmond and Anne-Sophie Letellier (CBC/Radio-Canada). Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson and Tom Brazier.
How can public service media manage and mitigate the cyber security threats which they now face? These threats – such as phishing, ransomware, or online abuse & harassment – are becoming ever more present and real. And they’re having an ever-greater impact on public service media – both at an organisational and an individual level. The seriousness of the threat has seen the cyber security team at CBC/Radio-Canada swell in size over just one decade. This podcast is a conversation with the people leading the Canadian broadcaster’s cyber security response, from how they deal with these threats, to where they see threats developing in the future.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Philippe Edmond and Anne-Sophie Letellier (CBC/Radio-Canada). Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson and Tom Brazier. 
Video on demand has been around for barely longer than a decade, and yet it’s now impossible to imagine public broadcasting without it… let alone the wider media landscape. Its impact has been huge.  In this episode, we look at public broadcasting in a streaming world. How has public service media changed in a changing market to remain competitive, relevant, and valued by their audience? How has the rise of those global streamers affected national public media? And how are public broadcasters rising to the challenge?  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Jari Lahti (Yle); Dr Alessandro D'Arma (University of Westminster); Wolfgang Kreißig (Die Medienanstalten); SunWook Choi (KBS). Music: Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson and Tom Brazier.  To sign up for PMA's newsletter, register here:
This is a special episode released to mark UNESCO World Radio Day. This year the theme is based around "Radio and Peace". In this episode, we examine the various ways in which radio is being used as a force for peace? From its utility able to reach audiences, other forms of media cannot access, to the way it establishes a special connection with its audience, radio possesses a unique power in being able to break down barriers, and establish social unity.  So where and how is this being done? We head to Colombia to speak to two people working for the 'emisoras de paz' (peace radio stations) created through the 2016 Peace Agreement, and also to the Central African Republic where an independent radio station is trying to establish peace.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Yesenia Polania & Juan Ricardo Pulido (RTVC); Brice Landry Ndangoui (Radio Ndeke Luka); and Jackie Dalton (Fondation Hirondelle). Translation: Glynis Robshaw. Voiceover: Libby Corrie. Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still, Tom Brazier. 
In the final episode in our miniseries on media freedom, we look at the Global Task Force for Public Media – a grouping of eight leaders of public service media organisations – and examine what role it can play in fighting for media freedom and journalist safety. It comes just after the head of SVT, Hanna Stjärne – a GTF member – was listed as an intended target by a convicted murderer and neo-Nazi.  The GTF was established in 2020, and is formed of the ABC, BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, France Télévisions, KBS, RNZ, SVT, and ZDF.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Hanna Stjärne (SVT), Catherine Tait (CBC/Radio-Canada), Paul Thompson (RNZ), David Anderson (ABC). Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still and Tom Brazier. 
Media freedom is under threat, as we explored in our previous episode. In this episode, we look at what's being done about it... We look at the techniques used by civil society groups to bolster media freedom in different countries. We speak to the President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada about their campaign to improve journalist safety against online harm. And we consider the strength of the Media Freedom Coalition – a government entity set up 3 years ago to improve media freedom.  Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Silvia Chocarro (Article 19), Martin Scott (UEA), Catherine Tait (CBC/Radio-Canada), & Jessica White (Freedom House). Music: Tom Brazier, Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson. 
What are the different threats to media freedom across the world? How are they manifesting and who's behind them? We speak to journalists & media professionals about the current global situation. Presenter: Harry Lock. Guests: Silvia Chocarro (Article 19) Judy King (BBC Monitoring), Marcela Turati, Jessica White (Freedom House). Music: Tom Brazier, Rachel Still, Lucas Thompson. 
As the BBC celebrates its 100th Anniversary in October, we look ahead to the future. Live from the Radiodays Asia conference, this episode examines how public media can and should work with tech to maintain accessibility. Presenter: Harry Lock. Host: Radiodays Asia. Guests: David Hua (SBS), Richard Sutherland (RNZ), & Sopit Wangvivatana (Thai PBS). Music: Rachel Still & Lucas Thompson.
How are public media organisations decarbonising, and becoming greener, more sustainable corporations? And how are they becoming resilient in the face of the climate crisis?  Presenter: Chloe Howcroft; Editor: Harry Lock; Guests: Léa Nogier, Tae Inui, Dr Jens Müller, and Mohamed Arif Islam; Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still & Tom Brazier. 
How does public media ensure it's connected with its audience, being trusted, providing value, and remaining relevant? This episode looks at how Swedish Radio is using technology to advance these goals. Presented: Harry Lock. Interviewees: Cilla Benkö (Swedish Radio), Chloe Howcroft (PMA), and Jenny Johnsson Roos (Swedish Radio). Music: Tom Brazier, Lucas Thompson & Rachel Still. 
An examination of three countries which show how changes in government can often mean drastic changes for public media organisations. Presented: Harry Lock. Guests: Carolina Barreto, Helena Milinkovic, and Terry Flew. Music: Lucas Thompson, Rachel Still, Tom Brazier.