CMDS publishes the final report of the CAPTCHA Project

February 16, 2016

The CAPTCHA project was a partnership of three community media organizations (Radio Corax, Germany; the Near Media Co-op, Ireland; Radio FRO, Austria) and the Center for Media, Data and Society. The project, which ran from September 2013 to August 2015, was supported by a grant from the Culture Programme of the European Union and it aimed to empower community media and programme makers to increase the online accessibility of their programmes. The CMDS produced a research report, authored by Joost van Beek with contributions from Kate Coyer, which explores some of the challenges, obstacles, opportunities and prospects for online community media archiving. It highlights best practices and lessons learned that can be used to help improve the ways programming is shared, exchanged, and archived online. 

For this study, they spoke with a cross section of community radio stations across Europe and examined the online practices of many more. Things they asked: How have successful models of sharing and archiving content online been developed? How are these online archives structured and organized? How is the work flow structured and who plays what role? What training, guidance, and moderation are needed and established? What technical capacities and other related issues do stations grapple with? What are the challenges in these respects, what practical solutions are being found, and what problems are not being adequately solved?

For the majority of community broadcasters in Europe, online sharing and archiving is still in an embryonic stage, hampered by the sector's limited financial and organizational resources, and to some extent its often emotive roots in on-air broadcasting as a medium. Almost all stations feature a live-stream of on-air content, but for many stations this is the extent of their on-line audio content. Other stations have reached a basic level of podcasting; they upload shows, integrally, and post them as chronological lists or series of blog posts, with minimal categorization. Nevertheless, the report has identified a number of interesting cases in which individual community broadcasters have gone well beyond those practices. It highlights community broadcasters which have explored the possibilities of online archiving and the best ways to serve new audiences in innovative and successful ways. On the basis of in-depth interviews with the practitioners at those stations, the report outlines how they have done so and what lessons can be learnt from their experiences.