Archiving Community Media online: CMDS report highlights best practices

posted on 05 April, 2016   (public)

Archiving Community Media online: CMDS Report highlights best practices

The Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) has issued a research report, authored by Joost van Beek with contributions from Kate Coyer, which explores some of the challenges, obstacles, opportunities and prospects for online Community Media archiving. It highlights best practices and lessons learned which can be used to help improve the ways programming is shared, exchanged, and archived online. 

The report is the result of research carried out in the framework of the CAPTCHA project which is a partnership of three Community Media organizations (Radio Corax, Germany; the Near Media Co-op, Ireland; Radio FRO, Austria) and the CMDS and ran from September 2013 to August 2015. It was supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union and aims to empower Community Media and programme makers to increase the online accessibility of their programmes.

Changing habits of media consumption should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat to the Community Media sector. Many community radio makers would like to see more people listen to and share their programmes. The future of radio lies online as well as on-air, and specifically in the form of on-demand media, even if the conceptualization of that change is mostly still framed in terms of podcasting. Still, for the majority of community broadcasters in Europe, online sharing and archiving is still in an embryonic stage. Almost all stations feature a live-stream of on-air content, but for many stations this is the full extent of their on-line audio content. Some upload audio primarily in the form of attachments to articles or news items. Many others are still at a basic podcasting level: they upload shows, integrally, for listening back to, and post them as chronological lists or series of blog posts, with minimal if any categorization. When asked why they share content online, each station interviewed said the main aim was to reach a broader audience. For Community Media, however, the desire to reach a broader audience is not an end by itself but a means.
The report enumerates several examples of individual steps that community broadcasters took, specific strategies pursued, and particular tools applied, which worked well in their particular case and are worth taking into consideration by any other station undertaking efforts to share and archive content online. Several less successful experiences are recounted as well which can serve as useful warnings.
*Founded in 2004 as the Center for Media and Communication Studies, CMDS is a center of research on media, communication, and information policy in Europe. Affiliated with the School of Public Policy at Central European University in Budapest, CMDS produces scholarly and practice-oriented research addressing academic, policy, and civil society needs.

Source: EPRA Secretariat