KALW Audio Academy Students Receive Great Training, Resulting in Great Stories
By Guest Blogger Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW
Right now, I just listened to Start-Up podcast #9, which features former Audio Academy member Lina Misitzis and a mistake she made on behalf of Gimlet Media regarding native advertising:
It’s an interesting time for creative audio makers, and many groups like Gimlet are looking at for-profit models. This episode illuminates some of the gray areas when dealing with audience expectations and monetization.
What can you say? Commercial media … with a conscience? Perhaps.
In our own non-commercial space, we had some fun, timely, and interactive shows in the last couple of weeks.
Current Academy members Colin Peden and Jack Detsch made profiles following up on our popular small business bureaucracies story. Jack’s got picked up by SFist and became its headline of the day:
It’s Hard to Sell Pretzels in SF
That resulted in a lot of hits for us and a lot of exposure for Jack. Whooot!
Former Audio Academy member Rhian Miller continued her work with us by producing an insightful story about a San Francisco public charter school called the Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island. It’s something of an oasis for troubled youth, and a very effective one at that:
Treasure Island High School Offers Oasis of Hope for Disconnected Youth
Academy fellow Jeremy Dalmas continued his high level of productivity by turning around his Marketplace story on Oakland’s Cat Town Cafe for us:
Audiograph Sound of the Week: Cat Town Cafe
It’s pretty adorable. And he’s got a very interesting and engaging look at virtual reality airing on Monday.
This last week, our staff took a couple of days for a work retreat at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse and Hostel. It was a terrific and productive time, and one of the items on our agenda was to evaluate and consider refinements to our Audio Academy. To that purpose, I solicited feedback from all 10 current members and found, among other things, the following information:
– they all really appreciate and respect their mentors
– they all wish they had more time available to do the work
– some want stricter deadlines and discipline on story assignments, while others are working hard to keep up while juggling other activities in their lives
I think the first and last point, especially, speak to one of the great strengths of our Audio Academy. The trainees get personal attention, and we can tailor the program to suit the needs and ambitions of each one. With this information we will individuate plans for the next five months. I’ve been meeting with every member since our retreat and talked with them and their mentors about how to optimize their experience.
This year’s Academy has been good so far. It’s going to be even better going forward.