The bustle of the Democratic National Convention may be gone but the memory of how we brought our unique brand of “People Powered Media” to the party will live on as a high watermark for PhillyCAM. Never in our brief history have we produced more live programming, dispatched more community reporters and welcomed more prestigious guests to our studios. From hosting two nationally syndicated television programs to producing our own daily live shows on cable and radio we rose to the occasion. I was so proud of all the PhillyCAM producers who provided coverage from our studios and the streets! We exemplified how community media can make an impact by providing alternative points of view of major events. Here are just a few of the week’s highlights.
Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program that airs on over 1300 TV and radio stations providing access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S. corporate-sponsored media. For 5 days they produced a special 2-hour live news program, “Breaking with Convention” from PhillyCAM with our members as crew. Arriving at 6:00 am we would pass DN producers who had been up all night editing news stories for that morning’s show. Each morning was filled with anticipation as we learned who would be coming into the studio to be interviewed by hosts Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Guests included Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein debating former head of the NAACP Ben Jealous, academics Michael Eric Dyson and Eddie Glaude took on race, Hillary Clinton and the legacy of Obama's Presidency, and actor Danny Glover hung out with members in the Commons taking questions about anything and everything. Amy Goodman even Skyped with Wiki Leaks Editor in Chief, Julian Assange. It was an education watching the DN team prepare for each live show, fact checking, refining the script, tweaking the lighting and camera angles. Jihad Ali remarked how he saw the results of his PhillyCAM training as he and other crew members Ruby Beckett, Don Butler, Jennifer Burton, Pete Celona, Connie Comm, Jose Hernandez, Andre Spruill, Anis Taylor and Kysha Woods were able to work side by side with the DN team.
As the Democracy Now crew was wrapping up, Charles Postell would be arriving to prep the Express Studio for the daily Live Lunch from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. He was joined by Andrew Carn, Letitia Crippen, Keturah Caesar, Metrini Geopani, Amanda Johnson, Lamaire Johnson, Chinchilla Jonesia, Jarrett Myles, Ernest Owens, Janayah Pollard, Charles Postell, Tim Millaway, Thanimas Scott, Daryl L. Booker, Lauren Settles, and Shyneice Shalay. All snappily dressed in red white and blue, the hosts spoke with delegates, discussed gun laws, and opined on events of the previous night’s convention speeches. PhillyCAM’s Youth Media Crew also got into the action with a show featuring their field reports on the Youth Action Assembly, Mighty Writers and a play called the Voices of Voting. Check out all the Live Lunch shows on PhillyCAM On Demand.
Thanks to our colleagues at Free Speech TV we were excited to welcome host Elon James White, This Week in Blackness founder, and his team for 4 days of shooting TWiB Prime, covering the latest in news, race, politics and pop-culture. Crew Jennifer Burton, Keturah Caesar, Dewain Clark, Jose Hernandez, Jarrett Miles, Sherry Patterson, William Pyramid, and Donald Terry.
In the midst of all the DNC hub bub, we were thrilled to be asked by our friends at the Media Mobilizing Project to host a panel discussion on digital inclusion with featured speaker Mignon Clyburn, a commissioner with the Federal Communication Commission, Over 100 folks gathered in our newly renovated Community Room to learn, debate, and discuss the causes of the digital divide in big cities like Philly - and to sketch out solutions. The panel moderated by Technically Philly's Juliana Reyes included Bobby Henon, Majority Leader of the Philadelphia City Council, Helen Gym, councilwoman at Philadelphia City Council, Rebecca Rhynhart, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Philadelphia, Antoine Haywood, Director of Membership and Outreach at PhillyCAM and Siobhan Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Following the discussion the Commissioner toured PhillyCAM and took particular interest in our new LPFM radio studio! So much so she tweeted out a photo!
We completed construction on our new radio studio the Saturday before the DNC just in time to debut our first newscasts every night at 6:30 during the DNC. Our radio consultant Vanessa Maria Graber worked with Ben Abrams, Megan Bucknum, Paul Cherashore, Patrick Duff, Ari Goodman, Anne Hoffman, Chinchila Jonesia, Dennis Link, Ana Martina Rivas, Anthony Mazza, Gigi Nikpour, Ricky Paul, Sherry Patterson, and Joan Preston on these nightly reports. And in the midst of all the excitement a story about WPPM was carried live on NPR’s Here and Now.
To all the PhillyCAM staff for keeping everything running smoothly and the energy positive, even through a late night PECO power outage! We consumed so much caffeine we killed a coffeemaker. Thanks go out to Dave Onion for creating the online media uploader, Buddy Moya for making sure our broadcast equipment was humming, Azeez Weeks for shuring up our computer network and Andy Gunn and all the members of the WPPM Radio Tech Committee for getting the radio studio ready just in the nick of time!