There was a public media barcamp held in Santa Cruz this weekend, and it was very interesting. The barcamp was organized by Quiddities, who is a local web development firm. KUSP (one of three local public radio stations) was well represented, as was the Santa Cruz Design Center. There were also folks from American Public Media, KQED (public media behemoth in San Francisco - radio, TV, etc.), and Peter and Kwai from Santa Cruz Community TV. (No staff from SCCTV, though.) Most of the participants were pubic media and social media activists and enthusiasts.
There was not a heavy technical or development presence, which made it distinctly different from most of the tech events I usually go to.
IMO, The overarching focus of the barcamp was identifying social media trends for public media, as a means of identifying useful features for the Radio Engage project.
Radio Engage is Knight Challenge funded (but is not a KDI project). They have chosen Drupal for Radio Engage, although there is a most notable lack of any needs assessment to lead to that determination . . . mostly it seemed a visceral reaction against Joomla (not a healthy development IMHO).
The barcamp itself was really enjoyable, although my head hurt from trying to wrap it around the incredibly broad spectrum of interests and enthusiasm for various social media threads and trends. A fantastic array of ideas was presented, and there were about 70 attendees. Check out the twitter stream #publicmediacamp or the PB wiki for more info.
From my perspective, it looks like Radio Engage is a marketing and documentation effort, not an effort towards software development.
In other words, there is a huge gap between the stations that have/can deploy social media tools/a CMS/Drupal + the Station module and the stations that haven't/can't. Radio Engage is an effort to bridge this gap.
Most of the programmers (the people putting programs on at public media stations) engaged at public media enterprises have yet to adopt the technologies and lifestyle choices inherent in using a CMS. So Radio Engage is a marketing effort to bridge the gap between Web 0/1 people and Web 2.0.
I'd be really surprised if Radio Engage does not end up using some variant of Station and/or the Open Media Project. I made a push for investigation and collaboration between Quiddities and Civic Pixel, since I think there is a natural affinity there between KUSP/Quiddities and DOM/Civic Pixel. I don’t really know the intricacies of either relationship, though . . . but I see a common pattern and a possible business model there which I think is awesome.
In my dream scenario, it would be really great to see Open Media handle the software development process, and Radio Engage handle the marketing and documentation. With a collaboration like that, I think everyone would win . . . the stations would get both marketing, deployment, and technical help, and I think the related companies would be inundated with requests for support and new deployments.
What I would hate to see would be a fork between Radio Engage and Open Media. I think there are far more similarities than differences, and I think both groups will need all of the resources that they can collectively assimilate.