Ken Freedman on independent radio and new media

Written by on August 14, 2009

I spent about an hour today listening to this talk by Ken Freedman at the Open Education Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Ken Freedman is the Station Manager and Program Director of WFMU, the legendary freeform radio station from New Jersey, USA. Under his leadership, WFMU has become an international leader in combining radio with new web-based technologies and social media. WFMU is now the most heavily trafficked radio site on the internet. Freedman serves as a technology advisor to the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and also founded and oversees the Free Music Archive, an open source library of copyright-cleared music and audio that will combine the curatorial role of stations like WFMU with the community-generated ethos of the web.

Freedman has some interesting observations about contemporary, independent, non-commercial radio stations and how they have essentially been participating for a long time in the "gift economy" that is so prevalent online. He encouraged me to think about how we can retain some of the strengths of radio that have for the most part been lost in the headlong rush for commercialism: filtering, localism, and a curatorial approach to audio artifacts. I think Waiheke Radio is doing pretty well in a short time span on lots of these areas. It made me take a look at our growing archive of audio that we keep on Archive.org. If you haven’t taken a look, please do. 


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