The SPI Files: Daphne Dowdy Jackson, BasinPBS

by Amy Baroch, Station Products & Innovation

This week, we packed our bags and headed out to the southern plains of Texas where we found Daphne Dowdy Jackson, General Manager of BasinPBS - the smallest station in the PBS system.

1. Who are you and what do you do at BasinPBS?

Daphne Dowdy Jackson, GM at Basin PBS

2. How long have you been at BasinPBS?
6 years. I took over with a fresh board and transitioned the station from a university to a community licensee.

3. Before BasinPBS, what did you do?
I began my career as a broadcast journalist on the commercial side. Anchored and reported the news in Midland then Oklahoma City before switching to media relations then PBS...which is by far the most rewarding.

4. If you didn't work in public media, what would you be doing?
Production. So, probably taking your lunch order.

5. Explain BasinPBS in Twitter-style, 140 characters or less.
@Likely the smallest PBS station in the system. 8 employees and no studio (until next year!) Basin PBS has rebuilt from nothing. Two license changes in two years took us to our knees, but we've emerged strong and fresh.

6. BasinPBS does a great job reaching out to the local community. We noticed the In Your Neighborhood section of Basin's website with lots of fun photos from station events. What other ways have you experimented with user-generated content or using social media to engage your community?
(ugh. Stop looking at the website! We're re-doing it soon!) With such a small staff, we have to partner smart on engagement. We've created non-profit partnerships to raise our profile. We provide airtime and marketing/production expertise and the non-profit hosts 2 Basin PBS partnered events per year. As for user generated content, we're exploring a partnership with the local planetarium to solicit community-produced short films.

7. What is the next big thing for BasinPBS?
Basin PBS has been living in borrowed quarters in two locations 30 miles apart for 5 years while we rebuilt our support system. Next year, we're moving to our own home in downtown Midland. Funders love the move and it'll put us right downtown with corporate sponsors.

8. What do you see as the future for public media and how does BasinPBS fit into that vision?
Public media has to fill a local need. Our sponsors like to be seen around great national content but they are engaged because of our local service. For us that service isn't just content, it's business. We've made ourselves valuable to funders and philanthropists by providing support to their favorite non-profits.

And – just for fun – a few quick-fire questions:

iPhone or Android? iphone
Dogs or cats? dogs! Berto the Maltese, purchased during a PBS conference
Elmo or Grover? Grover
I am currently listening to… Pandora 70s Lite
I am currently reading… Last Call by Daniel Okrent
I’m currently watching… Curb Your Enthusiasm
Most overused phrase: Mazel

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