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What really makes this project effective is the use of new media technology. The project locations feature blogs, online radio training, and they even use the Public Radio Exchange distribution program (PRX).
Next Generation uses the social networks Facebook and PRX to connect with new producers, project alumni and new listeners. They believe Millennials will be the ones signing the donation checks to support public radio in the coming years, so they try hard to keep open contacts with as many young people as possible. Their philosophy is that in order to keep the attention of this generation it is key to speak in the same context that they do. That means staying up-to-date with the latest technologies, and figuring out how that applies to public radio.
Every year, more and more people listen to radio on the Web. What makes Web radio such a good idea for engaging Millennials is the ease of production. Terrestrial radio is still susceptible to major amounts of bureaucracy and regulations through the government and the FCC. Millennials who work in Web radio are freer to explore, make mistakes, learn and (most importantly) stay involved in radio. Because the structure is much more flexible and open, Millennials are allowed a stronger voice in Web radio.
SCADRadio.org is a completely student-run radio station at Savannah College of Art and Design. No administrator controls the content they broadcast, and there is no approval before content airs. Though it is completely student-controlled, it is financed by the college (the station has no advertising revenue or pledge drives). The full-time adviser to the station serves as a bridge to the administration, rather than a manager/controller. While the station does follow the FCC standards for a licensed, terrestrial radio station, everything is in the hands of the Millennial-aged students who run it. This produces a snowball effect: Millennials run the station, their friends listen, then the friends join, and those friends' friends join…and so on. By letting Millennials control the content, a credibility is created that older individuals can't achieve when interacting with Millennials.
The Public Radio Exchange
The Public Radio Exchange is an online platform meant to connect producers of radio work (news commentary, and drama mostly) with radio stations across the country. Member producers can upload their content, define and describe it, and then license it to radio stations across the country. Producers who upload work can also choose to charge for their work, and can even make a small return on their time producing. The income that producers receive is small ($0.50-$2 per minute of content licensed); it is mostly considered to be a bonus on top of getting one's voice heard across the country.
The Generation Project at PRX (generation.prx.org) is meant to actively engage students and Millennials in radio. This project tries to make sure that Millennial producers have the tools, training and outlets they need to get their voice heard. While it does not send equipment to individuals, it offers training and advice to students trying to learn the ins and outs of radio production. Furthermore, it recruits individuals for the Youth Editorial Board that listen to and review pieces produced by the younger generation. Those on the Youth Editorial Board also receive a small monthly stipend which is also meant to help producers who are new to the game.
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