Workshops at the ACM West Conference 2023
(Subject to Change)


The Role of Community Media in a Changing Media Landscape

PEG access and community media have existed for over 40 years. The mission was grounded in the idea of providing a noncommercial space for the expression of a diversity of viewpoints, local information, and the tools, training, and channels for sharing/distributing that information. Given massive changes in how the public consumes electronic media and the public’s access to media tools, is the role of PEG access and community media different than it was at the beginning? What should community media centers be doing to address change?

Discussion Facilitator: Sue Buske, The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA, and ACM-West Vice Chair and Chairperson, Alliance for Communication Democracy.

Panelists:  Richard Turner, Executive Director, Community Media Center of Carroll County, Westminster, MD;  Emily Parent, Palo Alto, CA;  Shelley Wolfe, Executive Director of Media and Production, Philadelphia Public School District, Philadelphia, PA


Community Media Centers Filling the Gap: Local News and Community-Centered Journalism

In communities across the country, Community Media Centers are filling the void caused by the continuing collapse of local news outlets (print and electronic) and the real-life ramifications of misinformation and disinformation that proliferate in the media sphere today.

Community media centers can support and foster quality local journalism and storytelling that features local people and organizations in a way that is rarely heard.  However, issues can arise. Who should tell these stories? Should they be told by those impacted or disinterested third parties?

This plenary session will start a conversation about what some CMCs are and others can be doing to fill the gap that has widened with the collapse of local news outlets and to navigate the complex questions that arise, both practical and philosophical.

Speakers:  Glenn Williams, General Manager, Boston Neighborhood Network, Boston, MA;  Jay April, President and CEO, Akakū, Maui, HI;  Matt Schuster, Executive Director, Public Media Network, Kalamazoo, MI



  1. Community Media Centers Filling the Gap

(Roundtable and Continuing Discussion)

This workshop will continue the discussion started during the Friday morning plenary session and will dive more deeply into the practical and philosophic issues that arise when CMCs enter the world of local news and community-centered journalism.

  • What staffing is necessary?
  • Where does the funding come from?
  • How is funding secured?
  • Are hard news and traditional journalism being undertaken or is coverage limited to soft news?
  • How do you build collaborations with local organizations, educational institutions, or other media outlets (e.g., radio stations) and “professional” journalists in the community?

These and many other both philosophic and practical issues will be discussed during this roundtable discussion.

Speakers:  Glenn Williams, General Manager, Boston Neighborhood Network, Boston, MA; Jay April, President and CEO, Akakū, Maui, HI;  Matt Schuster, Executive Director, Public Media Network, Kalamazoo, MI;  Hap Freund, Co-Founder of Santa Barbara Newsmakers, Santa Barbara, CA;  Josh Molina, Instructor, Santa Barbara City College and founder of the podcast, “Santa Barbara Talks,” Santa Barbara, CA


  1. Strategic Re-Envisioning of Community Media Centers

Today’s CMCs must operate at the convergence of changes in media and society driven by the pandemic and shifting revenue models.  How can we ensure that we offer relevant, vital, and engaging services for our communities while building a financially stable future? Our panelists will discuss strategies for identifying community needs that can result in the provision of vital services, and fostering relationships with mission-aligned organizations.  This workshop will examine these concepts and others and how some community media centers are shifting to a new model.

Workshop Leader and Speaker:  Matt Schuster, Executive Director, Public Media Network, Kalamazoo, MI

Speakers:  Shelley Wolfe, Executive Director of Media and Production, Philadelphia Public School District, Philadelphia, PA;  Chad Johnston, CEO, CreaTV, San José, CA


  1. Update on Legal, Legislative, and Policy Issues at the Federal and State Levels

Hear the latest update on what’s happening at the federal and state levels that will impact community media centers.  Learn about legislative activities in states like California, New York, Maine, and Massachusetts that may dramatically impact PEG access and community media.  What about the FCC and the need to appoint a fifth commissioner, and other actions impacting community media like the status of the Protecting Community Television Act in Congress?  Those in the know will be addressing these and other timely topics.

Workshop Leader and Speaker:  Mike Wassenaar, President and CEO, Alliance for Community Media, Washington, DC

Speakers:  Gail Karish, Partner, Best Best & Krieger, Los Angeles, CA;  Jeff Bayne, Partner, Spiegel & McDiarmid, Washington, DC;  Representative of the California Public Utilities Commission (invited)


  1. Building a Powerful Team for Your Community Media Center

Building and maintaining a well-functioning team is about getting and keeping talented people and crossing your fingers that they’ll work well together.  Creating a team culture and its workflow is paramount.  Addressing generational issues and generational change is critical to a well-functioning team.  Are we re-envisioning how we work together in addition to the work that we are doing?  Pay equity, employee health benefits, a flexible work environment, and more are key to creating a powerful team at your CMC.

Workshop Leader and Speaker:  Debra Rogers, Executive Director, Falmouth Community Television, Falmouth, MA

Speakers:  Deborah Vinsel, Executive Director, Thurston Community Media, Olympia, WA;  Karen George, Executive Director, Quad Cities Community TV, Anoka, MN


  1. Successful Marketing Strategies for a Community Media Center

Marketing has become so much more than posting flyers to a local bulletin board. With limited hours in the day, we struggle to navigate the endless avenues for outreach and community building — TikToks and Reels, email and text campaigns, Discord, and Slack. The pandemic has also introduced new barriers to getting the community back into the CMC.  In this panel, you’ll hear about the successes (and the hard lessons learned!) of community media centers that have transformed their approach to marketing by using new and traditional strategies.

Workshop Leader:  J Robertson, Executive Director, Ho’ike, Kaua’i, HI

Speakers:  Natalie Nigg, Marketing & Development Manager, CMAC, Fresno, CA;  Donna Girot, Executive Director, Access Sacramento, CA.  Additional Speaker TBA.


  1. Cool New Tools

Technology and new product development cycles move at lightning speed: audiences, content creators, marketing teams, and producers are always looking for the newest, coolest toys for workflows, design, and effects.  Learn about innovative software, equipment, and design tools being used at CMCs, like Akakūʻs use of the project management tool Trello and how CreaTV San José uses Canva (a free app for certified non-profits) for in-house marketing and graphic design needs.  See CMAC’s new community producer DSLR kits and get tips on how to train with these kinds of cameras.

Workshop Leader:  Kat Tracy, Akakū, Maui, HI

Speakers:  Dan O’Brien, Production Director, Akakū, Maui, HI;  Constance Button, Community Media Coordinator, CreaTV San José, CA;  Alex Soto, Community Media Coordinator, CMAC, Fresno, CA


  1. Community Radio and Podcasting

Video didn’t kill the radio star.  In fact, low-power and local community radio has had a place in the community media landscape for many years.  Then along comes the explosion of growth for the trend in podcasting.  This workshop will look at the differences and similarities in the platforms, and share ideas on how centers are implementing them while sharing challenges and successes.  A look at funding strategies will be included.

Workshop Leader:  Kat Tracy, Akakū, Maui, HI

Speakers:  Shann Oliver, Executive Director, KXSF San Francisco Community Radio, San Francisco, CA;  Kyle Lowe, Operations Manager, CMAC, Fresno, CA;  Jeff Shaw, Production Manager, Davis Media Access / KDRT, Davis, CA


  1. Going Beyond Cable Funding / Diversifying Funding Sources: Opportunities and Successes

In today’s world, Community Media Centers must identify and implement a variety of revenue streams to supplement decreasing cable company revenue. This workshop will explore a variety of non-cable funding opportunities and present success stories. This is not an immediate or one-size-fits-all endeavor.  We’ll explore what works and what doesn’t work and how that will vary between large and small CMCs — rural, urban or suburban. You’ll hear from CMCs with a wide range of budgets. Case studies will be presented that focus on the variety of ways in which each CMC has successfully generated non-cable revenue, and stayed true to its mission.

Workshop Leader:  Sue Buske, President, The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA

Speakers:  Chad Johnston, CEO, CreaTV San José, CA;  Bryan Harley, Executive Director, CMAC, Fresno, CA;  Melissa Toren, Executive Director, KCAT, Los Gatos, CA;  Roger McKeague, President and CEO, Ōlelo Community Media, Honolulu, HI


  1. Act Now: An Organizing Workshop Focusing on Changes to DIVCA

In 2022, the ACM West Region’s California members were meaningfully active in the state capital for the first time in many years. While we were not able to advance our bill out of the Assembly, we learned a lot and got our feet wet – for 2023. If at first, you don’t succeed, you try and try again. This workshop will be a working meeting for brainstorming, coordinating, and plugging in for the 2023 effort. We’ll go over the process, review what happened in 2022, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of our previous effort, and map the plan for 2023. You especially want to come if you were involved in 2022, want to be involved in 2023, or want to think about working in your state capital in another state. This will be a working session, not a panel discussion, so plan to come up with ideas and a desire to plug in and help!

Workshop Leaders and Speakers:  Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director, Media Alliance, San Francisco, CA;  Sue Buske, President, The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA; ACM West Region Vice Chair; and Chairperson of the Alliance for Communications Democracy


  1. Building Equity and Inclusion into Every Aspect of a Community Media Center

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is the growing and ever-changing field of helping organizations to enhance their abilities to serve community members who belong to traditionally marginalized groups, both as constituents and as workers.  How do you create feelings of safety, ensuring equitable space for all?  This workshop will provide reasons why DEI should be a top priority for community media centers and steps you can take to implement best practices at your center.

Workshop Leader:  Francesca Enzler, Community Media Specialist, CreaTV San José, CA

Speakers:  Donna Girot, Executive Director, Access Sacramento, CA;  James Joyce, Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, and founder of Coffee with a Black Guy, Santa Barbara, CA;  Additional speaker TBA.


  1. Building, Strengthening, and Maintaining an Effective Board of Directors

Over the past few years, several successful 30-plus-year-old access corporations have faced disruptive and destructive scenarios because of board issues that arose.  Sometimes boards are ineffective because board members only attend meetings occasionally at best.  In other cases, the board goes beyond its role of setting policy, promoting the organization, and assisting with building and maintaining financial stability and steps into day-to-day management.  This workshop will address key factors in building and maintaining an effective board.

Workshop Leader and Speaker: Keri Stokstad, Palo Alto, CA

Speakers:  Geoff Green, CEO, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA;  Cynder Sinclair, Founder and CEO, Nonprofit Kinect, Santa Barbara, CA;  Ken Toren, CEO, American Red Cross of Silicon Valley, KCAT Board, Los Gatos, CA


  1. Attracting and Engaging Youth in Community Media 

How can we ensure that we are responding to the media-making needs of youth creators at a time when the media technology landscape is rapidly changing? In this workshop, we will investigate the ways that community media centers are evolving to meet the needs of their youngest producers and build relevant programming to attract them and keep them engaged.

Workshop Leader and Speaker:  Emily Parent, Palo Alto, CA

Speakers:  Pedro Arenas, San José, CA;  Javan Jiles, Community Engagement Specialist, BAVC, San Francisco, CA


  1. Tips and Solutions for Hybrid Public Meetings

Hybrid meetings can offer greater opportunities for community participation and transparency, but there are many obstacles.  This working session will discuss audio/video challenges, data protection, and accessibility, and explore solutions for hybrid meetings.

Workshop Leader and Speaker:  Tony Ruggieri, Santa Barbara City TV Production Supervisor, Santa Barbara, CA

Speakers:  Rory O’Farrell, General Manager, Tahoe Truckee Media, Truckee, CA;  Brian Rose, Triton Technology, San Diego, CA;  Michael Eisenmenger, Executive Director, Community Media Center of Marin, San Rafael, CA (invited)


  1. Making Public Meetings, PEG Access Programming, and Channels More Accessible

This workshop will explore the wide range of accessibility issues that arise around community media programming and community media facilities. Among the topics to be discussed will be multiple languages, closed captioning, secondary audio programming, open captioning, and facility accessibility issues for studios and CMCs.

Workshop Leader and Speaker:  Ross Rowe, Director of Programming, Elk Grove, IL

Speakers:  Jack Chin, Manager, SFGov TV, San Francisco, CA (invited); Carlos Cerecedo, Court-Certified Interpreter, Santa Barbara, CA;  Scott Brosious, Communications Supervisor, City of Riverside, CA


15. A.I. = Access Intensified 

It’s 2023 and the world needs ACCESS more than ever. Learn how your work in PEG Access both informs and extends the reach of world-shifting A.I. technologies. We will address the connection between access to creative tools and distribution, access to civic information and full participation in local democracy, and assistive technologies used to provide accessibility.

With new A.I. tools and opportunities for PEG, we have a different lens for appreciating the work we’ve done for decades and its global impact. In this presentation, we will examine A.I. tools and how we can use them to be more efficient and effective at reaching the currently served and the currently unserved.

Workshop Leader and Speaker: Daniell Krawczyk, Municipal Captioning, Raleigh, NC