How does a public broadcasting station plan its future when everything in the world of media is constantly changing? If you are KRCB you choose a path that involves the community. The first community member to join us in this endeavor was Dr. Saul Eisen, founder of the Masters in Organization Development program at Sonoma State University and a well-respected consultant in the field. He suggested that we sponsor a future search conference.
Saul Eisen, Facilitator of the KRCB Future Search Conference, Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, August 3, 4, 10, 11 of 2010
What exactly is a future search conference? Simply put, it is a planning process used to achieve shared goals and fast action within an organization. The design comes from theories and principles that have been tested around the world. Participants are selected so that different perspectives are part of the conversations (this is known as getting the "whole system" into the room). Twelve members of the community participated in the conference, four KRCB Board Members: the CEO, the COO of KRCB and 24 staff members. Sometimes participants sat at tables with those who had a similar jobs/fuctions either in the community or at KRCB. Other times the tables were mixed to maximize the benefit of having the different perspectives included in the conversation. One table of community members included people working in various forms of media production: print, video, and social media.
Pictured: (front & counterclockwise) Kay Clements, Radio Announcer; Dick Spotswood, Marin Independent Journal contributor; Jake Bayless, social media entrepreneur; Dan Villalva, Executive Director, Community Media Center of Santa Rosa; (not visible) Gretchen Giles, Editor, The Bohemian; Alan Fitch, Pacific Media Clearstream Production.
Another table of community members included people in the field of the arts, education, finance, and volunteering (Karin Demarest, Arts Educator & Consultant; Lou Zweier, Center for Distributed Learning, CSU; Mary Moore-Campagna, Volunteer for Radio 91 FM; Jim Bray, Asst. Director of the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County; Harry Rubins, KRCB Board Member and Financial Consultant). Participants committed to attending every session of the conference, meeting for sixteen hours over four days.
Each day's activities were planned and noted in a workbook provided to all participants. Day one included the construction of three timelines: the first one documented milestones in one's personal life; the second recorded milestones in the 26-year history of KRCB, and the last timeline chronicled important events at the regional and global level. This information provided a context for creating a desired future for KRCB.
In day two, participants helped create a "mind map" by identifying trends in the environment that have either a positive or negative effect on KRCB.
Later the group voted by dots on those trends they felt were the most significant and should be taken under consideration in the designing of a preferred future for the station.
Concluding day two, participants reflected on what they were proud of in their association with KRCB and those things that they were sorry about. Each item was written on a 5 by 8 card and shared with members at their table.
Pictured: (front & counterclockwise) Ginny Berson, National Federation of Community Broadcasters; Larry Stratton, COO & Chief Engineer at KRCB; Christine Penney, Accounting; Mariah Clinton, Auction Dept.; Bruce Robinson of North Bay News; Tom McDonald, Traffic.
Cards were then placed on a large sheet of green paper and grouped by themes. One member from each table read aloud each Proud and Sorry for the entire group to hear.
Cheryl Scholar, Community Engagement Director & Volunteer Manager
Planning can be hard work but it can also be fun. After identifying what KRCB could be in the future, participants at each table were asked to create an art project, a skit, or a presentation that conveyed their group’s vision of KRCB in the future. Props and art supplies had been brought in to inspire the group’s creativity.
Stan Marvin, Director of Broadcast Operations; Lizzie Hannon, morning host of KRCB Radio 91 FM.
On the last day, participants identified five focus areas for planning KRCB's desired future. Areas included: Technology, Audience Identification, Content Development, Funding/Resources, and Leadership and Strategy. Participants chose a focus area and as a group began to develop action plans. Our next step will be to bring back each focus group participant (participants may now join more than one focus group) in meetings facilitated by interns from the Master's Program in Organization Development. The task will be to refine the action plans so that they can be shared with others. People who were unable to attend the conference but would like to join us in the implementation phase will be able to choose the area of focus that reflects their interest and area of skill/expertise.
Pictured: (front to back) Gordon Stewart, Board Member; Robin Pressman, Radio Program Director; (behind Robin) Jake Bayless, social media; Karin Demarest, Arts Educator; Sean Knight, FM/TV Operations; Cathy Slack, Underwriting.
As soon as dates are set for the Action Plan/Implementation Meetings they will be announced here (participants will receive notification by e-mail. You may call Cheryl Scholar, Director of Community Engagement and Volunteer Management at KRCB at 707.584.2005.