Public media in the U.S. were established not until 1970, and till 1988 there was a phase of experimentation. By about 1980 the public radio audience started to grow significantly. By 1998, the percentage of listening to nationally produced programmes grew from 49% to 62%. In 2000, half of all listening to public radio was generated by 53 programs; in 2005 by 19. Now, Schardt points out, public radio in the U.S. is in a phase of paradox: "The stations have been so successful and are so busy doing their 24/7 programmes that they hardly find the time to experiment with new forms and formats the future demands."
The MQ2 (Makers Quest 2.0) project aimed at diversifying public radio content, of new participatory ways of telling stories. Eight talented producers, five months, $ 40.000 each - in the end there were seven catching stories, told on innovative websites, in sound, text, photos, videos, interactive maps. There are five ingredients for successful media innovation, Schardt says:
- Entrepreneurial talent
- Building on a legacy (infrastructure, mission)
- The right assignment
- Tracking and expressing the impact