I used to go to Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference in the 1990s, and would often get the idea sitting in the audience that a lot could be gained from having developers on stage while Apple people sat in the audience and listened. We would tell them what we wanted to do with their platform, so when they decided what features to add or bugs to fix they would know where their work would have the maximum value. There were a lot more of us than them, and we didn't draw salaries, so the economics would work better for their employer.
It never happened. The developers were meant to listen. I think a lot of opportunities are missed this way. Someday I'd like to see a platform vendor give this idea a try. I bet it would change the way their developer community thinks about them and vice versa.
The P in NPR is public, but what role does the public actually play in NPR? Our job is to send them money during pledge drives, and of course to listen, admire and applaud. But what if public media actually included the public, and the listening went both ways?
The other day I wrote how the NY Times was ignoring their readers after they ran a story that wildly misrepresented the truth about Hillary Clinton's emails. They never explained to the readers how this happened, or how they were making sure it wouldn't happen in the future. Instead they pointed the finger at the Clinton team, because the bad story they ran hurt them? What kind of sense does that make. Sure they owe Clinton an apology too, but their first responsibility is to their readers. Without trust of readers they have nothing, or so one might think.
That's why I think there should be a certain amount of real estate on the NYT website and in its RSS feeds for unedited public reaction to what appears in the Times. If they had to fear from responsible readers, people who really care for the quality of their product, they might self-police more effectively. Something has to change here.
All that is preamble for what Melody Kramer and her newly announced team are hoping to do with public radio. Now that distribution is an Internet thing, giving every "station" access to the world without the 24-hour-per-day limit of broadcast radio, any public radio station that picked up on the idea that they could give the stage to the people formerly known as the audience, in a way that had value to other listeners, and improved their product, could find it owned a much larger share of public attention than they could by sticking to the one-way tradition of broadcast.
Her idea is the same as the idea I had for the WWDC. Let's find out what happens when the public is doing the media, and the professionals listen. If anyone can pull it off, she can, because she has the respect of her industry and the courage to be radical. These are times that call for radical approaches. I'll be watching and helping as much as I can.