Friday, June 12, 2009

World Have Your Say.....My Groupie Moment

Broadcasting from Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland Oregon

The Portland audience taking it in and participating.

Ros moderating the show.

The show!

Ros & Me!

I dig OPB, NPR, PRI and all those other public radio organizations that bring us good programming, news and events from around the world. I find they offer different perspectives than we see here in the states and are generally are very interesting.
One show that I particularly LOVE Is World Have Your Say. Now, if your not familiar with WHYS, let me describe it to you. WHYS is a radio call in show that is broadcast around the world. The listeners email in all sorts of topic ideas and are the ones who pick the topic for the day. Whatever idea/current event/question submitted the most, or seems to be on everyones mind, wins out. After that, Ros Atkins and a host of other moderators engage callers, emailer, twitterers, bloggers, and audience participants in a discussion of the topic and encourage them to talk to each other. Believe it or not - a bulk of their commenters on the show are from Oregon! Interestingly, their listenership is skyrocketing in the US. Sweet.....! WHYS also has a blog that people post to about the topic and the comments don't stop at the end of the show. Check it out!

WHYS was in Portland this week for a news radio conference, YIPPY!! I didn't know they were coming (how did I miss that) until I heard them from Pioneer Square....I was actually working all the way across town and was right next to my next job. So what do I do? I drive all the way to downtown to catch the last 1/2 hour and then drive all the way back across town for my next job. Hey, sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. That was on Tuesday. The bonus for that day was that after the hour, they announced they would do another hour that was only being broadcast in I stayed for that! (no, I wasn't late to my next gig.) Check out Africa Have Your Say.

Seeing the show in real time was fascinating. It's like perfectly timed chaos. Ros pointing at who gets to speak next and fielding the callers and invited guests, assistants passing out emails/tweets/blogs to read on air. Other audience members announcing the email address/phone number for the show. Microphone people running around so comments can be heard. WOW!

On Tuesday I learned the would broadcast from a pancake house in The Dalles on Wednesday (I have hear them broadcast from a persons bedroom before), a hotel on Thursday, and back at Pioneer Square on Friday. I was so there on Friday!

Fridays crowd was bigger than Tuesday, and while on Tuesday people seemed to come and go more. Friday - the crowd stayed. In all about 100 people were standing and sitting around as we talked about "Do You Believe in Fate?" with each other and callers from the Philippines, England, Africa, etc. One bummer was that I didn't get a pair of headphones..I kept waiting for someone to leave so I could take theirs, but it didn't happen. They finally turned on a speaker so those without headphones could hear.

In the end, I got to meet Ros and tell him how much I love the show. We talked a bit about who listens to the show and how its amazing that even though in the states we have tons of media we can access, the listenership from the US in through the roof. According to him we are seriously bucking the trend! Many of the other listeners come from countries that have limited media coverage -Nigeria for example. The number of South African listeners has decreased since the fall of Apartheid, due to expanded media services. India is falling a bit because media is improving also. Those are just the general trends. WHYS still has a huge following around the globe. Ros was a pleasure to talk to and even let me take a photo with him. (Thanks JG for taking the pic!) Great guy! The whole WHYS team was great actually.

If you get a chance - listen to might like it!

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