Virtual reality. Podcasting. Even public art shows.
There are all sorts of different ideas on what the future of community media may look like.
I've just returned from Minneapolis, which played host to this year's Alliance for Community Media annual conference. The gathering brings together hundreds of people from dozens of community media stations, from all across the country. It's a great way to trade ideas, build connections and see where the industry may be headed.
There were three days of workshops focused on everything from technology to youth programs to federal regulations. On Thursday, I attended an awards night honoring the top community-based videos from across the country. (More on that late in a later post.)
No one is really sure where community-based television will be in 5-10 years. Technology is moving quickly, and centers, including WCTV, are trying to adapt to make sure we're still thriving, even if cable television as we know it today changes drastically.
But for all of the concerns (Will funding dry up if people flock away from cable? Will viewers still tune in? Does our technology matter as much when a smart phone can do amazing stuff?), I'm optimistic.
Residents are still going to want to tune in for important government meetings. Voters are still going to want to hear from candidates ahead of Election Day. We'll still want major school and community events documented.
Yes, HOW those events are recorded and distributed may change. (As I noted last week, WCTV serves as a great platform for people who capture or produce great video on their own that is of interest to the community.) But WCTV will continue to seek out new ways that technology can connect our community.