As broadcasters look for ways to leverage podcasting, public media’s Michigan Radio is leveraging the on-demand format to make it easier for the public to keep tabs on their local government. Its new Minutes podcast will take city council meeting videos and convert them into audio and post the content in an easy to find podcast format. The audio from the public meetings will be offered unedited and free of any advertising. Michigan Radio says the project is designed to provide greater access to happenings in local government, especially in areas that are underserved by local news media.
"Helping inform people in Michigan about their community is at the core of what we do at Michigan Radio.” said Dustin Dwyer, West Michigan Bureau Chief at Michigan Radio and co-creator of the Minutes project. “With Minutes, we're making it easier than ever for people to tune in to local government meetings. And we're giving our own reporters a new tool to track these meetings in every corner of the state.”
Michigan Radio says residents will be able to subscribe to podcasts from their local community to get updated meeting audio as it becomes available. Public meeting Minutes podcasts are currently available in more than 40 cities across the state. It will also eventually create a new tool that will allow journalists to follow trends and find sources and audio files on numerous topics.
Minutes from Michigan Radio is funded through the Google News Initiative (GNI). The award was announced in October 2019 when it pitched a “public meeting tracker” idea during Google’s North America Innovation Challenge. It also selected a project pitched by Boston University news/talk WBUR-FM Boston (90.9) aimed at enabling public radio listeners to interact and transact with live local news content, using their voice, while driving their car.