NPR Generation Listen
Audrey's relationship with National Public Radio began in 2012 in the snowy mountains of Squaw Valley, CA at a conference for entrepreneurs that she co-lead and organized while at Summit, called Summit Basecamp.
This lead to the building of the first-ever NPR millennial advisory board with Danielle Deabler and other peer leaders.
Known as NPR Generation Listen, the board of advisors has collectively helped NPR usher in a new era of community building and listenership, bringing millennials back to a brand that pioneered substantive journalism that’s for and by the people.
BUILDING A MODEL FOR THE MASSES
THE LISTENING PARTY MODEL
NPR Generation Listen's board of advisors was faced with one consistent question, “How do you build the foundation for long-term engagement with younger listeners, who have a sincere connection to the content NPR creates?”
The solution: Get them offline and in a circle.
NPR was in need of an inexpensive, low-production model for gatherings that listeners and non-listeners could easily recreate, with frequency.
Based on her experience road-testing premiere models for intimate conversations at Summit, Audrey knew that convening a small group of friends, with seating in the round, listening to a piece of NPR content, and facilitating post-event discussion over snacks and drinks would create a social and muscle-memory experience that community-starved young people wouldn’t soon forget.
Today, this is a model that listeners and member stations around the country successfully use to gather and listen. Using the model, NPR witnessed over 200 self-organized groups host their own listening parties to commemorate the first episode of the hit podcast Invisibilia.
In addition, NPR Generation later partnered with The Case Foundation, and turned Audrey's listening party formula into a digital tool kit.
"THE LISTENING TOUR" - A CROSS-COUNTRY NPR SERIES
Early on in the infancy of NPR Generation Listen one thing became apparent: In order to reach younger audiences, NPR needed to get out and touch people.
We needed to get into their living rooms and their backyards to find out why the current listeners were bought in and what the new faces wanted to talk about and who they wanted to meet.
Audrey had faith that this homegrown community building would in turn create a model that produced small democratically organized groups of listeners who could host small gatherings at their leisure around radio; little did she know that in 2015 this dream would come to life.
In 2015, Joanna Pawlowska, Hadas Di and Audrey set out to take NPR on the road.
Armed with an iPhone, an amp and a trusty minivan, the team drove 3,000 miles and visited nine cities throughout the American south, convening community salon conversations with young people from around the nation and carrying out member station education and engagement programming.
30 days. Three women. One van. Minds changed, hearts transformed.
Meaningful Live Experiences
Joining the journey through digital storytelling
While creating offline experiences was core to the tour intention, another key element was merchandising the experience for online audience around the country to follow along.
Through Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, viewers felt like they had their own seat in the van, city to city, moment to moment.
This intentional focus on social storytelling also led to lasting connections with locals in each city and every mile marker in between.
Tour stops included:
- Marfa Public Radio (Texas)
- WWNO New Orleans (Louisiana)
- Oxford NPR Listeners (Mississippi)
- WBHM Birmingham (Alabama)
- WJCT Jacksonville (Florida)
- WUWF Pensacola (Florida)
- NPR Mic Check (Atlanta)
- WFDD Wake Forest (North Carolina)
- NPR Music “Songs We Love” Show (Washington D.C.)
Connecting curious minds
"THE LISTENING TOUR" CREDITS:
- Hosts: Audrey Buchanan and Joanna Pawlowska
- Creative Direction: Audrey Buchanan
- Videography & Photography: Hadas
- Social Media Storytelling: Audrey Buchanan (Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr)
- Production: Joanna Pawlowska, Audrey Buchanan, Danielle Deabler, Hadas
THE "LIVING ROOMS WITH FRIENDS" SERIES
The Listening Tour generated so much organic user interest that Audrey was able to build out an even more intimate series, bringing NPR into the living rooms of six young people around the country who wanted to use NPR content to spark dialogue in their community.
MIKE DE LA ROCHA
Artist & Organizer
As part of our Living Rooms With Friends series, we feature listeners hosting their own listening parties in intimate spaces across the country. Meet our host: @mrmikedelarocha. Mike got a crew of friends and strangers together to listen to NPR Invisibilia and talk about the categories that we get put in, and sometimes put others in.
Visual Artist & Storyteller
As part of our Living Rooms With Friends series, we feature listeners hosting their own listening parties in intimate spaces across the country. Meet our host: @anunaka. Anaka is a multimedia ethnographer, artist and student. She got a crew of friends and strangers together to discuss FEAR - and created a custom audio collage from NPR shows and clips to spark some raw, honest conversation.
Songwriter & Producer
As part of our Living Rooms With Friends series, we feature listeners hosting their own listening parties in intimate spaces across the country. Meet our host: @jamesfauntleroyii. James is an award-winning songwriter and producer. James convened a group of friends and strangers at the University of Philosophical Research to examine intersections of spirit, energy and creatvity.
Dancer & Choreographer
As part of our Living Rooms With Friends series, we feature listeners hosting their own listening parties in intimate spaces across the country. Meet our host: @dietzie. Sierrah is a dancer, performance artist and choreographer based in New Orleans. Perfectly-timed with the influx of visitors and friends in town for Jazz Fest, Sierrah brought to life this conversation on the art of movement and realities of the creative process as an artist.
BLAKE COOPER GRIFFIN
Actor & Activist
As part of our Living Rooms With Friends series, we feature listeners hosting their own listening parties in intimate spaces across the country. Meet our host: @blakecoopergriffin. Blake brought together friends in Los Angeles to explore the causes and impacts of bullying, as well as potential ways to address the "culture of meanness" that pervades schools, social media and Hollywood sets.
"LIVING ROOMS WITH FRIENDS" SERIES CREDITS
- Creative Direction: Audrey Buchanan
- Co-Direction, Host Curation, Video Production, Photography: Hadas Di
- Production: Brittany Rice, Danielle Deabler
- Videography: Chrissy Larsen, Orion Owens, David Morrison
- Social Media: Audrey Buchanan, Hope Leigh Rollins
"How Tech & Media Impact Civic Engagement" with NPR, KCRW and Global Shapers
In partnership with NPR Generation Listen, KCRW and World Economic Forum’s Los Angeles Global Shapers Hub, Audrey was called upon to facilitate a salon conversation at NPR’s west coast headquarters on the impact of technology and media on millennial civic engagement. Speakers included designer Ethan Lipsitz, art curator Maceo Paisley, I AM THAT GIRL’s Emily Greener and KCRW’s Monika Scott.
EVENT & VIDEO CREDITS:
- Host & Creative Director: Audrey Buchanan
- Director of Photography & Editor: Jack Mitrani
- Producers: Danielle Deabler, Amanda Slavin, Cara Bubes
- Artwork: Christopher Fuller
NPR Interviews at Summit Conferences
Bringing some of the world's top journalists together with directors, activists and civil rights leaders, Audrey forged and nurtured an instrumental partnership between NPR and the millennial-minded business conference series, Summit.
- Former NPR CEO Gary Knell interviewed by Idit Harel Caperton about his Sesame Street roots, and public radio present
- NPR’s Michele Norris interviews scion of creativity, Academy Award-nominated Director Gus Van Sant (best known for his film, Good Will Hunting)
Summit Powder Mountain
- NPR’s Guy Raz conducts the first live interview with Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell, following the culmination of the KONY 2012 campaign
- NPR’s Guy Raz interviews former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous for a conversation on race in America just two days after the Trayvon Martin verdict is released to the public