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The SPI Files: Jesse Overright, KLRU

By Amy Baroch, Station Products & Innovation
Revised 12/5/11 at 11:55am

Last week we got social with OETA's Ashley Barcum. This week we don our cowboy hats and dust off our boots for a trip to KLRU in Austin, TX, to meet with Web Developer Jesse Overright.

Who are you and what do you do at KLRU?
My name is Jesse Overright and I am the web developer at KLRU. I work on KLRU's website as well as the websites for our local productions: Austin City Limits, Central Texas Gardener, Overheard, Arts in Context and more. I try to make it as easy as possible for our viewers to engage with KLRU and enjoy and discover all of the content we have to offer. I write the code.

How long have you been at KLRU?
3 years and 1 month. I add the month because my laptop died today and it was one month out of warranty.

Editor's note: we hate it when that happens.

Before KLRU, what did you do?
I worked in IT support for the School of Social Work at the University of Kansas, and before that I was a dweeb in the Best Buy Geek Squad.

If you didn't work in public media, what would you be doing?
Our new Director of Education recently suggested I go to clown college, so I'm really giving that some thought.

Explain KLRU in Twitter-style, 140 characters or less.
Totally free programming that goes beyond television to educate, inform, and entertain Central Texas.

KLRU just redesigned and relaunched the KLRU Collective web site that launched last year. In addition, the initiative's social media has done very well. Did you have anything to do with that?
KLRU Collective is a really cool web-based arts initiative that's intended to highlight arts in Austin. Each week we release a short video with a focus on different art projects or people in Austin. We've featured everything from public art, fashion design, and yard art to drum circles, children's theater, and poetry slams. KLRU also partnered with the East Austin Studio Tour to interview over 100 artists about their art and inspiration.

This sounds great! Tell us some more!
The fun part about KLRU Collective is that it's produced unlike our tv shows, using flip cameras and targeted specifically for the web audience. Because the features are shorter and easier to create, we've been able to open up production to staff that wouldn't traditionally be involved in creating video content. It [has] been a great way to get out in the community to represent KLRU, get a little taste for producing video content, as well as see some really cool art in Austin. We also actively encourage featured artists to share their video with their own fans and social networks.

What is the next big thing for KLRU?

We're preparing a major upgrade to the Austin City Limits website that is long overdue. I also want to continue to work with our producers to give them even easier ways to add content to their websites, and experiment with new forms of content for our web audience.

What do you see as the future for public media and how does KLRU fit into that vision?
Public media's future is beyond the tv box, where our viewers are able to watch our content without barriers of time, location, or television. I think KLRU is really on the forefront of transitioning our content online and really trying to engage the viewer in new ways. KLRU is becoming less a "television station" and more an important part of our community.

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

iPhone or Android? iPhone!
Dogs or cats? cats
Blog platform of choice? Wordpress
Elmo or Grover? Elmo
I am currently listening to… the Head and the Heart. Check them out on Austin City Limits this season!
I am currently reading… Beyond the Phog: Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball's Most Dominant Decade by Jason King
I’m currently watching… Top Chef Texas (go Paul!) and The Walking Dead
Most overused phrase: "It's fixed!"

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