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Media Contact:  Erin Mishkin
Phone: 617-825-4400
E-mail: erin@airmedia.org

May 8, 2009


Eight Producers Bring DIY Culture to Traditional Pubradio Platforms

(BOSTON) -- They’re off and running. The inventive MQ2 producers — grantees of an initiative of the Association of Independents in Radio, Inc. (AIR) with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) — have launched their groundbreaking projects and will continue their development through August 2009. These producers are at the vanguard of the transition to future media. They embody public media's DIY — do-it-yourself — culture at its best, working with imaginative approaches to their craft and formats that blend traditional broadcast with new digital media.

AIR and the MQ2 producers have signed on leading broadcast outlets to incubate the MQ2 projects, including NPR; KPCC-FM/American Public Media, Los Angeles; KUOW-FM and Hollow Earth Radio, Seattle; Youth Radio, Berkeley; and PRI’s Studio 360 and WNYC Radio, New York City. Additional project partners include the Virginia Quarterly Review and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

CPB President and CEO Pat Harrison reflected on the promise of these producers to help lead the industry in the transition underway: “These innovative projects have the power to engage new and diverse audiences,” said Harrison. “We look forward to the results from these creative producers.”

Each MQ2 project, summarized below, takes a unique approach to put readily available media tools and practices to new use. Some of the projects deliberately push the boundaries of standard practice, while others exploit spreadable media, mobilizing citizens as hyperlocal storytellers and documentarians. The projects will be showcased at MQ2.org and playlisted on PRX. Updates on the projects will be logged at www.mq2.org, and plans are being developed for calculating the impact of the projects.

Open Sound New Orleans: By combining traditional and new media tools, including public radio broadcasts, sound-mapping and social networking, New Orleans producer Jacob Brancasi and his project partner, Heather Booth, establish a platform for the citizens of the city to share compelling audio and online content that vividly reflects the culture and people of New Orleans. The impact is local, but it is also intended to reach — via NPR national broadcasts — many who are part of the Katrina diaspora.

The Corner: Seattle MQ2 producer Jenny Asarnow uses a combination of cell phone, public installation, and neighborhood/citizen reporters to bring documentary to subject in new ways.

Pluglife: Anyi Howell’s project will assemble and display a new picture of Los Angeles by exposing broad, diverse subcommunities. Recruited as “plugs,” Los Angeles-area youth ages 18 to 24 are assigned to report and document online hyperlocal politics using cell phones, flip cameras, and audio recording.

CyberFrequencies: Los Angeles producer Queena Kim and her collaborator, Tanya Jo Miller, explore the Internet and technology from a cultural standpoint, examining how the Web and technology are transforming our society daily. Kim and Miller will harvest and re-present content readily available from across the internet with the goal of challenging public radio’s focus on proprietary content and offering new ways for the industry to exploit spreadable media.

Beyond the Odds: San Francisco producer Anita Johnson engages HIV-positive 18- to 24-year-olds who congregate online as bloggers and thought leaders. They convene discussions about the disease and its impact. The project’s home base is an online blog that will spotlight audio features and videos, and will drive discussions with an online community.

Mapping Main Street: Kara Oehler and her project partner, Ann Heppermann, challenge standard social perceptions at a time of great cultural transformation in the U.S. by profiling diverse Main Streets across the country. Content will be distributed to millions of listeners via NPR’s Weekend Edition, as well as via online video slideshows, user-generated visual and text content, and user/audience feedback.

In Verse (working title): Lu Olkowski produces from her Brooklyn “headquarters” to bring together poets, photographers, and traditional reporters to provide new insight into the economic crisis gripping America. The project material and features will spread virally via a customized iTunes application and broadcast nationally to hundreds of thousands of listeners via Studio 360’s network of 150 public radio stations.

Place + Memory: Shea Shackelford and his partner, Jennifer Deer, draw an online multimedia map of places that no longer exist — except in first-person recollections. Via a combination of viral media strategy and national broadcast on NPR, the project will create and build an audio/visual network of user- generated memories.

For more information, go to www.mq2.org or contact Erin Mishkin at 617-825-4400 or erin@airmedia.org.

AIR was established in 1988. Its extensive social and professional network of 770 producers and associates is at the center of unprecedented technology-driven change, rich with opportunity to define and redefine sound art and media — public media in particular. Central to AIR’s mission is providing support, training, and advocacy necessary for preparing thousands of audio creatives to lead the way to engaging more listeners, and to carry their inspiration to both traditional and emerging outlets.

Funding for MQ2.0 is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Robert E. Davoli and Eileen L. McDonagh Charitable Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

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