Thursday, March 15: 1:00 – 4:00 pm


Story Circles: Empowering Voices and Bridging Communities (limited to 20 attendees)

How can community media centers engage widely diverse residents in telling stories that forge bonds, build empathy, and lay the groundwork for local problem solving?

Story Circles are intimate gatherings where participants tell stories from their own experience, focusing on a common theme. As each person shares a story, a larger, richer and more complex narrative emerges. By the end, people see both real differences and commonalities in their stories. They feel heard, connected, and respected -- often across divides. The experience generates new perspectives and greater motivation to make change.

This participatory workshop covers how to design and lead Story Circles. We’ll start by engaging the group in a Story Circle to experience how it works. Then we’ll delve into the Story Circle process and logistics, from developing story prompts to facilitation strategies to event design. We’ll wrap up with a discussion of how you can use Story Circles in your community media work. You’ll leave with a list of resource guides and next steps.


Thursday, March 15: 1:00 – 4:00 pm


Expanding and Diversifying Funding


As a result of state franchising, local budget cuts, and the reality that community media funding from cable operators could be reduced or eliminated in the future, CMC’s are innovating to raise more and more of their funding. CMC’s are creating new and non-traditional media and business services.  Production services, development of new donors with diverse interests, and creating innovative strategic partnerships are just a few of the activities underway in CMC’s that are thinking strategically.  This in-depth training will help prepare you and your Board for the future with earned income models and messaging models, ways to think more entrepreneurially (without compromising core values) and build relationships to support the new realities in community media.


Thursday, March 15: 1:00 – 4:00 pm


Building and Maintaining Boards that Work


The Board of Directors should be a source of strength of an organization, by providing community connections, providing resources, and furthering the mission of the organization. Often a new nonprofit starts with an energetic mission-driven board, but that focus and energy gets lost after a few years and much of the work of the Board falls on the Executive Director/CEO.  How do you keep that original energy and drive as the organization moves to its next phase of development?  Whose job is it to recruit new board members, to raise funds, and to raise the profile of the organization among the “movers and shakers” in a community?  This interactive in-depth training is designed for both board members and the executive management of the community media centers.  It will address a broad range of topics designed to help community media centers reshape their Board, and look at the tools needed to develop a healthy and resilient Board of Directors.


Friday Morning Plenary Panel Topic: Last Bastions: Community Media Centers in the 21st Century

It’s 2018. While the FCC has freed commercial broadcasters from public interest obligations and obliterated cross-ownership rules, Community Media Centers (CMCs) find themselves simultaneously fighting for their futures, while serving as the last bastion of brick-and-mortar media in many communities. How did we get here, and more importantly, where are we going?

Today’s CMC staff and board must address a wide range of problems, from economic projections and technical shifts (such as cord cutting and migration to OTT), to legislative and policy battles in a post-franchise world, to teaching 21st Century media literacy and journalism skills in a country where the role of the Fourth Estate is greatly diminished. All, of course, on incredibly lean budgets!  

Come learn about some of these challenges and how we as a field are rising to meet them.


Saturday Morning Plenary Topic Idea: Hitting the “Reboot” Button on Your Community Media Center

To keep pace with the rapidly changing media world we occupy, we must be constantly evolving and redefining our work.

Learn how community media centers have re-imagined themselves to ensure sustainability and relevancy while staying true to the spirit of their missions.




Friday, March 16: 10:30 – Noon


The Hill, the FCC, and the Courts: Big Issues from 2017 and Bigger Issues for 2018

Our panel of experts will assess how 2017 affected policy and practice on key PEG access and communications issues affecting PEG, and will provide their views of what may be coming in 2018 - and how community media centers can prepare.


Friday, March 16: 2:00 - 3:30 pm


A Primer on Lobbying and Grass-Roots Organizing


Learn from the experts. This session will provide a primer on working with state and federal legislators and agencies, including:  (1) How to get and keep their attention on our issues; (2) Demystifying the Federal Communications Commission and the California Public Service Commission; (3) Understanding the rules of the road and how to effectively participate; and (4) How to organize an effective grassroots campaign.




Saturday, March 17: 10:30am - Noon


The Rise of the Trolls, Fake News, and Digital Literacy

How is your center dealing with the crisis of trust in modern media? What has driven the online conversation into the toxic soup it has become?  How can a Community Media Center (CMC) educate, inform and contribute positively to this crisis? Media literacy -- the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media -- has long been a core component of what CMC’s teach. During the past few years, that definition has expanded.  Viewers/consumers need to know how to spot fake news, how bots and trolls function on social media, and even how the very common use of editing software on photos and videos is altering our perception of what is.  How prepared is your center to address these topics?  Come hear from a few centers who are already doing this 21st Century media literacy work.


Saturday, March 17: 1:30 - 3:00 PM


Legal and Practical Issues Regarding the Uses of PEG Funding


Issues associated with how PEG funding provided as the result of local franchise negotiations or state franchising rules can be used are frequently the topic of discussion and debate. California’s state franchising rules include no black and white answers to the question of whether the use of PEG funds is limited to only capital and equipment purchases or can PEG funds be used for other PEG-related purposes.  These same issues sometimes arise in states and communities where the ability to negotiate local franchises exists.  Is there one definition of capital and equipment that is broadly acknowledged as “accurate”?  This workshop will address the legal and practical issues regarding uses of PEG funding.


Track 2: Operations, Partnership, and Community Building


Friday, March 16: 10:30 – Noon


Maximizing Your Community Media Center’s Efficiency and Workload Management Strategies


Community media centers typically have broad missions and small staffs. Without good workload management strategies in place, mission and goal creep is an all-too likely outcome.  From an organizational perspective, how do centers manage recurring big projects so they cause minimum disruption to everyday workflow?  From a production standpoint, the amount of distribution outlets -- each requiring its own format and workflow -- borders on untenable.  How do you meet content coverage goals, cross check them against fundraising, training, other capacity building goals, and allocate resources to effectively meet those goals?  Come hear from media centers that are engaged with this process.


Friday, March 16: 2:00 – 3:30 pm


Measuring Your Organization’s Impact


We've all heard this question a million times -- "How many people watch your channel?" Without these viewership numbers, how do you illustrate the value of your access center to the community, as well as existing and potential funding sources?  How has the media produced at your CMC been used above and beyond channel playbacks?  This workshop will show you how to showcase both soft and hard outcomes, such as recognized media training programs, strong community partnerships and utilization of online and video-on-demand statistics.


Saturday, March 17: 10:30am - Noon


Developing and Maintaining Partnerships


How can you use alliances to extend your media center’s capacity, broaden your reach, and develop creative content? How can partnerships (and even mergers) increase visibility and recognition in the community?  Learn how to build dynamic and mutually beneficial collaborations with the organizations and businesses within your community.  Get inspired with examples of CMC partnerships with library systems, youth programs, collaborative work/art spaces, etc., and how to nurture these partnership on a continuous and long-lasting basis. 


Saturday, March 17: 1:30 - 3:00 PM


Getting to Yes: HD Channels and EPG for PEG Access

In today’s world, delivery of programming content in HD that is accessible on the electronic program guide is a basic service that cable viewers expect to receive. Where are community access channels being delivered in HD?  Who has managed to get their community program listings included on the electronic program guide? How have they accomplished these feats?  This workshop will cover the broad range of issues associated with HD and EPG.

Track 3: Technology, Engineering, and Production Opportunities


Friday, March 16: 10:30 – Noon


Metadata and the Future of Your Video in an On-Line World


As video delivery shifts from television transmission to an online world, what changes do you need to make to your metadata? In this workshop, we’ll discuss the importance of metadata and keywords to enhance discoverability online, demonstrate how to increase the online usability of your program archives, and show how you can use YouTube and the Internet Archive to increase the impact of your work and reach new audiences.  Join us for a master class on archiving, metadata and how to improve the discoverability of you online video.


Friday, March 16: 2:00 – 3:30 pm


Mobile Production Opportunities (cell phone, IP, production vehicles)

Mobile productions are the backbone of most CMC’s. Whether you have a mobile production vehicle or are using your cellphone, this session will address the variety of ways that CMC’s and community producers are creating mobile and field productions.


Saturday, March 17: 10:30am - Noon


New and Successful Training Classes and Techniques for CMC’s


Some CMC’s are noticing a decline in the number of people signing up for production training classes. The type of training provided by CMC’s must evolve as the ways community member use media evolve.  At this workshop, staff from several CMC’s will share the new and innovative training classes and techniques that they have developed to meet community needs and demand.  Training on DSLR cameras and effectively using cellphone cameras, virtual sets, social media marketing and podcasting are just a few of the training classes and techniques that will be discussed in this session.


Saturday, March 17: 1:30-3:00 PM


Developing and Sustaining Community News Program


      It’s often easier to learn what’s happening in another country than what’s happening in your own community.  With newspapers cutting back on local coverage and the FCC’s elimination of the requirement that broadcasters maintain a local studio, there is a growing void that needs to be filled in our communities.  Community media centers are in a key position to step in and provide important information for citizens, community groups and neighborhoods.  Learn how several CMC’s are filling this void and doing it in a way that generates community support, empowers voices, and bridges communities.




Friday, March 15: 3:45 – 4:45 pm


LPFM & CMC’s Roundtable


A meet-up for CMC’s that currently or are about to operate a LPFM radio station. Share tips and information about equipment, funding, services, and engaging the community.


Technology Roundtable


An opportunity to discuss and brainstorm technology and tools challenges with experts and your colleagues. Share tips and information.


Closed Captioning: Explore Captioning Solutions From Expensive to DIY with Free Tools


Bring YOUR questions and our team of experienced access practitioners and consultants will discuss everything from the professional but expensive solutions, to the "DIY with Free Tools" approach, as well as the quickly-changing world of Artificial Intelligence captioning systems. Don't let fears over risks or costs shut down open access in your community when affordable solutions exist.