We first met Chase when he was an MBA student at the University of Missouri (when public media was just a gleam in his eye). That was the spring of 2014 and we’re now lucky to have him join us as our assistant director.
So you survived a road trip from Columbia, MO to Washington, DC. What was that like?
My mother and I decided we could fit everything in my Honda Civic and a Tahoe she had rented, which basically meant that you couldn’t open up a door without loose things falling out. My brother and sister came along, and also my dog (who had to be in my lap at all times and be let out constantly for bathroom breaks!). Halfway through our trip we ran out of cash for tolls. We arrived on the 3rd of July, I entertained my family for the 4th of July festivities, and then I started at PMP on the 6th. Definitely an adventure!
What’s your background and how did you first hear about the PMP?
I had studied music when I was an undergrad at University of Alabama and realized music wasn’t going to be a career. I decided to pursue my MBA because I was working in the nonprofit world at the time. When I was at Mizzou, I became interested in other areas, included startups, and took this class in the spring of 2014 called “Entrepreneurship and New Media of the Future” where I met Kristin. I remember her discussing the project and the platform in general and it sounded so interesting to me. We were tasked with coming up with an alternative revenue model for the PMP and, as I worked on that project throughout the whole semester, I fell in love with public media and the PMP and started to realize this was something I wanted to be involved with long term. I got to go to the PBS Annual Conference later that year to present our idea and that’s where I really became hooked. I started doing freelance business development work for the PMP last September and now here I am.
What was your idea for an alternative revenue model for the PMP?
We decided to look at packaging public media’s content and selling it commercially to the tourism industry, specifically in Alaska. We worked with Alaska Public Media and started reaching out to cruise lines, tourism bureaus, and travel agents to pitch our idea. We let them know it was hypothetical, but asked if we offered them content via a subscription model, would they be interested in using it to enhance their user experience? They were overwhelmingly interested, which was reassuring to hear. We were on the right track!
Tell us about your role at the PMP.
As the assistant director, it’s my job to handle operations—whether that means managing our analytics project, drafting reports to CPB, or encouraging staff to adopt Trello. My role, essentially, is to keep us on one path and moving forward.
What do you bring to the PMP?
The rest of the PMP staff has been in public media for a while and so me coming in with an outside perspective helps us to re-affirm or question things. It’s this openness to questioning that’s been a huge asset. When I ask why something is done the way it is, often the answer is “because that’s the way it’s always been done.” And I have to ask, “But why?”
What are you most looking forward to in the next year? What’s ahead?
I really want us to get third parties pushing content and pulling content too. I want to expand the scope we have right now. I’m also excited to see new partnerships and collaborations happening—there are several in the works right now.
Mostly I’m just happy to be here. I think the PMP has a lot of potential. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that, didn’t believe that we could make a difference in public media. I’m excited to see where it goes.
Read more from Chase on his experience going to the 2014 PBS Annual Meeting here.