The Tacoma Media Landscape with Erik Hanberg

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marguerite martin

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About This Episode

Where are the best places to get your news in Tacoma if you want to be fully informed? Tacoman Erik Hanberg joins the podcast once again to talk about the Tacoma media landscape.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1: (00:01)
This is channel 2 53, move to

Speaker 2: (00:03)
Tacoma on this episode of move to Tacoma,

Speaker 3: (00:06)
The news stations, I think the Tacoma has, uh, the TV news stations has a real mixed relationship with those news stations because it, the feeling that a lot of people get is is that they only show up for the shootings. Um, that’s not true. I mean,

Speaker 1: (00:21)
Mean they’ve been here in the studio doing a story about channel 2 53, right?

Speaker 2: (00:26)
Channel 2 53 is supported by Microsoft. Microsoft is committed to civic conversations like those on channel 2 53 that inform and empower Washington communities to learn more. Visit aka.ms. Slash Microsoft in Washington. We’re back

Speaker 1: (00:46)
I’m Margarite, and I want you to move to Tacoma, move

Speaker 4: (00:49)
To Tacoma, move to Tacoma, move to Tacoma.

Speaker 5: (00:53)
Don’t like it.

Speaker 4: (00:54)
Move to Tacoma, move to Tacoma, move to tacoma.com.

Speaker 1: (00:59)
I’m Margarite. This is move to tacoma.com and here today with Eric Hamburg. Hello?

Speaker 3: (01:05)
Hello.

Speaker 1: (01:05)
Welcome Eric Hamburg.

Speaker 3: (01:07)
Thank you. It’s weird to be in this chair.

Speaker 1: (01:09)
Yes. Well, okay. You are a many times guest on the move to Tacoma podcast. You’ve been here, uh, for many different reasons. Uh, you wear a lot of hats. Uh, you are coming to the end of a 12 year term as will not term, but a 12 year run. Yep. As a commissioner on the metropolitans

Speaker 3: (01:29)
Board district thing,

Speaker 1: (01:30)
District board running our parks, making do peninsula park happen, all kinds of things in your legacy. You are at K and KX, the local NPR affiliate. What’s your title?

Speaker 3: (01:41)
Sorry. Director of audio development.

Speaker 1: (01:44)
Oh, I’m an audience. You are. We’re developing as we speak. That’s right. You’re working right now. And then you’re also an author. You write sci-fi books and you write mysteries

Speaker 3: (01:55)
And books for nonprofits. Oh, right.

Speaker 1: (01:56)
I forget you write nonfiction. Yes. Little book of gold for small and very fundraising for small and very small non-profits

Speaker 3: (02:03)
As well as I three others.

Speaker 1: (02:04)
Yes. It’s a series. So definitely hit up Amazon for air KA and you will see the wealth, all, all these options books that he has written. Have I forgotten any other, I mean, you’ve done a

Speaker 3: (02:13)
Lot of things. Channel 2, 5 30.

Speaker 1: (02:15)
Oh, right. You are one of the three owners of channel 2 53. Me, you and Doug in the production booth and channel 2 53 was all your ID. Yeah. You’re the one that, that made it happen.

Speaker 3: (02:26)
Well, I was the one who was like, Marre we should do this. And you’re like, that’s a terrible idea. That sounds

Speaker 1: (02:31)
Like

Speaker 3: (02:31)
A lot of work money. And then you no money. And then you did it because you’re like, oh, we should start up. Nerd, farmer and citizen Tacoma. And

Speaker 1: (02:38)
Then I would, you run in area.

Speaker 3: (02:39)
And then I came to you and I was like, this should be a separate business from just advertising your, you know, website. And you were agreeing agreeable.

Speaker 1: (02:48)
I forget. That’s how it happened. Cuz I just think like Eric did this.

Speaker 3: (02:52)
No, it, it, uh, we all played a part. Well,

Speaker 1: (02:55)
We’ll get to channel 2 53 in a little bit. But the, the topic I wanted to talk about today is Tacoma’s media landscape. And actually, before we do that, I forgot to ask you the basic questions. When did you move to Tacoma and why Eric? For those who do not know,

Speaker 3: (03:11)
I moved to Tacoma four days after Mount St. Helen’s erupted

Speaker 1: (03:16)
May 22nd, 1980. Yes.

Speaker 3: (03:18)
At St. Joseph’s hospital.

Speaker 1: (03:21)
So you, you were born into Tacoma.

Speaker 3: (03:23)
I was born into Tacoma. Technically I lived, uh, I was, uh, up. So just down what Mildred or so? No, what’s the other one Bridgeport. One of those. And then I moved to Tacoma in the second grade. And then with the of four years at college in Minnesota have lived here ever since

Speaker 1: (03:42)
You’re a lifer,

Speaker 3: (03:43)
I’m a lifer. It turns out.

Speaker 1: (03:44)
And what neighborhood I know you recently purchased a home. What is your neighborhood, Eric?

Speaker 3: (03:50)
I think the big picture you would call it central Tacoma. Yes. I am also close to the sixth avenue district. So you’re six

Speaker 1: (03:57)
A adjacent for sure.

Speaker 3: (03:59)
Um, and then that’s yeah, I’m between sixth and 12th and central Tacoma.

Speaker 1: (04:04)
And what do you love about your neighborhood?

Speaker 3: (04:07)
I don’t know how we stumbled into such a good neighborhood. Um, we have like really nice street lamps, which is a really nice feeling in the evening. I don’t know why those are there, but that’s

Speaker 1: (04:20)
Great. Yeah. Not every neighborhood has those,

Speaker 3: (04:22)
Not has that every street. Um, the homes right now are filled with families of kids that are our age of kids. I mean, you miracle when can’t buy that, especially during the pandemic, um, they just played outside together, you know, our little masked kids playing board games and 45 degree weather on the porch, cuz like we let ’em inside each other’s house. Yeah. Um, so that’s been really great. I have started taking, especially during the pandemic, so many walks when I do one on one calls. Yeah. And so I just, I’ve been exploring the neighborhood a lot easy walk to parks all around with Franklin Jefferson, lots of walks to you. Puget salad. You

Speaker 1: (05:02)
Really sell in Eric moved to central Tacoma

Speaker 3: (05:04)
And then, uh, walks along six F

Speaker 1: (05:06)
That’s awesome. Do you have a favorite, uh, restaurant on six a right now

Speaker 3: (05:11)
A favorite restaurant?

Speaker 1: (05:12)
Is there anywhere or a cafe or anything like that?

Speaker 3: (05:15)
Uh, gateway to India is just a great, great Indian, a classic restaurant. Um, a I recently for the first time had a drink at the boom boom room. Oh. And it was a fancy, fancy bar that, uh, unexpectedly. So it’s really cute on, on the inside.

Speaker 1: (05:32)
Don’t sleep on the boom boom room. So that

Speaker 3: (05:34)
Was pretty fun.

Speaker 1: (05:34)
All right. All right. So back to why you’re here. Yeah. Let’s talk about the Tacoma media landscape. Yes. And when we talked about this as a topic, I mean, to me I’m like, well, duh, but when you start to think about it, if you’re new to Tacoma or even if you’ve been here for a while, like the landscape changes, right. So where do we get our news? What are all the opportunities available to us to be informed, uh, informed members of the community here in Tacoma? Like where should we start? Should we start with the classics?

Speaker 3: (06:00)
We, we have to start with, uh, the news Tribune, right? Because when it really comes down to it, no one covers, this is like the quote that they, that they could put on their advertisement for. But like no one covers Tacoma, like the news Tribune, like it is the only, the only regular source that we have that is like several stories a day. Um, professional journalists, all of that stuff. It’s also a shell of what it used to be 15 years ago. I was

Speaker 1: (06:28)
Just gonna say, okay, so I can hear the audience being like, well, cause okay,

Speaker 3: (06:32)
So, so much to unpack, but like Tacoma would be lesser without having a newspaper agree. And so this is the, this end and channel 2 53, like relies on it in some ways like my gosh, so many of our topics are guests come from articles that they reported. And so, but at the same time, there’s, there’s other issues with it. And so this is you have to start with the Tribune.

Speaker 1: (06:57)
So when we were, I mean, I remember when we were teenagers and in my twenties, like I’d get the news stream being, especially on Sunday. Right. And it would be, you know, two inches thick with ads and stories and information, and now it kind of, it feels like it doesn’t even matter what day it is. It’s, it’s very thin. Right. And that’s the newspaper, business model has changed in the last 20 years from the internet. Right. And so I think that this tell me, correct me, tell me where I’m wrong. So the story with the news Tribune is they have awesome reporters. They’ve always had awesome reporters. Um, but they basically ended up being bought out by, um, like a conglomerate. And then that was bought out by a hedge fund. Right.

Speaker 3: (07:37)
Um, I don’t know how far back you want to go, but at some point they were part of a national corporation publicly traded McClatchy, certainly. And I think they might have been like a Nightrider paper before that. Yes, yes, yes, yes. So this was a very common thing for new for newspapers. Um, and they share stories and they, and it was, you know, they’re part of the associated press. And then this is a nationwide thing that happened. The internet starts to kill newspapers because of Craigslist, primarily the most valuable pages that you know, where the classified, the classified just start disappearing Ghana

Speaker 1: (08:10)
The day is when you’d list your couch in the newspaper, it’s been

Speaker 3: (08:13)
A while. So job boards, Craigslist, all of that really started cutting in, um, then you of kind of newspapers, like figuring out what next, you know, there’s limited attempts at pay walls that, you know, the, the New York times famously got it wrong first. Like they have an incredibly strong system now that they’ve worked out, but they had a first try that just fell on its face. Um, so all these new newspapers trying to figure it out, everyone kind of latched on to like, okay, we can have a like semipermeable paywall where it’s like, you can read a couple, a couple stories a month or a couple stories a week, whatever the pay wall is in. And then after that you’re locked up. So that’s what the news Tribune has been, uh, as a, as a consumer. And that’s primarily where, you know, they’re gonna be getting a lot of their revenue and they keep wanting to grow that. Um, the other thing to point out is, is that they were bought by a hedge fund just pretty recently. Um, and the implications of that I would, are uncertain some people point to some like rising subscription rates and say, they’re trying to, you know, squeeze blood from a turnip

Speaker 1: (09:24)
That would’ve been the, that would’ve been what I would’ve said. Other, what is the other thing to say?

Speaker 3: (09:28)
Um, they’ve actually been hiring like for the first time and quite some time. I mean, do

Speaker 1: (09:34)
You think they’re being invested in, in,

Speaker 3: (09:36)
I don’t know enough to say, and this is the difference, you know, when it goes from being like a publicly traded company to a hedge hedge fund, like you, you, it’s a, it’s a black box from the outside. Yeah. Um, they have done more quizzes, more, um, polls, they’ve done a lot of those things, which are probably helpful to their, to their bottom line line. Um, and again, like they have been hiring and when channel 2, 5, 3 was formed in 2017, I’m not sure that that was a given. Like if I had said, what is it gonna look like five years from now? Cuz we’re basically coming up, you know, this summer will be five years of channel 2, 5, 3. Um, I think it would and a chance that they weren’t around cuz you know, other, other new, uh, organizations have have fallen during that time being bought by a private equity firm. And like just turned into a shell of itself was a possibility they are not. But in my view actually they are improved for and where they were five years ago. I can’t remember. It’s so hard to, to exactly say timelines. Um, but they, they, it felt like there was a period of time where they were, they just lost employees and they were never hiring, never hiring, never hiring. Yeah. That’s changed. And I do think that they are keeping, trying to keep, keep the hiring thing moving. Um, so we’ll see,

Speaker 1: (10:59)
It feels like, okay, again, this is maybe something that’s a difference of opinion. It feels like also the, the, the, the editorial is improving.

Speaker 3: (11:07)
You know, this is where it’s so hard to say. I don’t read the editorial unless it’s like an incentive one that I’m at.

Speaker 1: (11:14)
Yes.

Speaker 3: (11:14)
It’s true. Like, like let’s be, let’s be fair. It’s true. Um, no, sorry, Matt Driskel has taken over some of that. Yeah. Um, and so, but, but I don’t get the paper in paper form. No, I don’t get the Tribune in paper form. So I’m not flipping through, I’m not seeing those pages. Um, I don’t, I, I have become of the opinion that like unsigned editorials in a newspaper don’t make any sense anymore in a modern world. Right. Um, I would rather like that all the people who are doing that become like journalists and who are writing more columns like or columns or papers, or, you know, signed things, reporting, that’s, that’s a personal opinion on my part. Um, but that is kind of that that’s where they are. So, so the editorial side, it’s hard to say.

Speaker 1: (12:03)
And for those folks who are the sort of people that would be like on Twitter, following reporters, uh, Sean Robinson, Matt Driscoll, um, oh my gosh. Um, I there’s more and I’m like blanking on them. I feel so bad.

Speaker 3: (12:15)
Uh, uh, Debbie Cockrell, Debbie

Speaker 1: (12:17)
Cockrell. That’s who I was thinking of

Speaker 3: (12:19)
Josephine Peterson. They’re they’re, they’re, they’re very active on Twitter. Yeah. Um, the, the paper did just lose Allison needles who was, uh, a political reporter to the

Speaker 1: (12:29)
Private

Speaker 3: (12:29)
Sector. Um, which is, and this is the truth of all of this is a, a, a, a problem nationwide with journalism right now. Yeah. Is after you have cut your teeth in local papers for a while, if you’re, if you’re a really great journalist, you might end up at a national something, something, something, um, for more pay or you, um, go communications at any number one of government agencies, nonprofits, or what have you, and end up talking to an ever shrinking pool of journalists for much less stress and more money. Yeah. And so that is the, the challenge face facing everyone right now, um, in, in news is there is, um, a lot of money to be made in the communication side of things.

Speaker 1: (13:17)
All right. So when it comes to newspapers, the news Tribune is, has, and has always been the biggest paper in Tacoma,

Speaker 3: (13:25)
At least in let’s say, you know, modern, recent times. Yeah. I, you could go back to the ledgers and stuff like that, but basically in my, as far as, as far as our lifetime go, um, the Tribune has always been the main paper and they have an incredible archive of stories over Tacoma’s history. Um, they have been something that the community has relied on many times and we can hopefully continue to rely on them for stories. I hope that they can continue to grow the paper. Um, and that would be a really nice thing. If

Speaker 1: (13:59)
You can afford, please subscribe. I might self subscribe.

Speaker 3: (14:02)
I, I subscribe as well. There is, uh, in the channel 2 53 platform say

Speaker 1: (14:05)
No to pay

Speaker 3: (14:06)
Walls. The, in say no to paywall in the channel 2 53 slack form, there were some weirdness where people were like sharing their rates and like, oh, some of us were all pairing different rates.

Speaker 1: (14:16)
I found out I was surprised twice. That

Speaker 3: (14:19)
Was a

Speaker 1: (14:19)
Weird thing. And my rate jumped from like $8.

Speaker 3: (14:21)
We can separate perhaps some of the, that business

Speaker 1: (14:24)
Sign, the hedge hedge fund. I try not to think about that. Sure. I wasn’t gonna bring that

Speaker 3: (14:28)
Up. Um, the stories that the journalists produce, uh, I rely on daily. I’ll just say

Speaker 1: (14:34)
That again, if you can afford it support. Um, in addition. Okay. So when I first came to town, um, we had the Tacoma weekly and the weekly volcano as sort of like the alt weekly and the small paper, um, Tacoma weekly is I don’t even know how much we should say

Speaker 3: (14:50)
The Tacoma weekly is still printing. They are still producing. Somehow.

Speaker 1: (14:55)
They’ve been in burled in

Speaker 3: (14:56)
Scandal. They’ve been boiled in many scandals, um,

Speaker 1: (14:58)
Journalistic, scandals, not a thing of the past.

Speaker 3: (15:02)
And I was recently, I was recently interviewed by Matt Neel about stepping down from the Metro parks board. Um, I think, I don’t know how many other people, other than him, or actually writing for the weekly, it is still around. Okay. Um, so I, I it’s there. I, I don’t know how many people like read it, like to be honest, like there

Speaker 1: (15:23)
It’s one of those you can pick up on the street corner. It is one of those

Speaker 3: (15:25)
You can pick up on the street corner. Yeah. And so, and so you see the boxes everywhere. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (15:31)
When I first came to town, the volcano was hopping and popping it, you know, mattress school was there. There was always interesting, cool stories, lots of band info. And I don’t think it’s really, is it even out there anymore? I’m trying to think last time I saw a shoe of the volcano. Is it still out there? Can people still rely on the volcano? I

Speaker 3: (15:47)
Don’t know if the volcano is only inside of the ranger.

Speaker 1: (15:52)
I see. I think it is. Oh, I see. Okay. And the ranger is the paper.

Speaker 3: (15:55)
JBLM is the, is, is a paper that covers things happening at joint base Lewis McCord, cuz you’ve got tens of thousands of people. Right. And then that’s actually how the volcano started was like, is this like entertainment insert inside of that?

Speaker 1: (16:09)
And then it just grew beyond

Speaker 3: (16:10)
That. Ron, Ron SWER really worked hard to grow it beyond that way. It

Speaker 1: (16:13)
Had a Ron Swarner of peaks and pints fan,

Speaker 3: (16:14)
Ron swarm Swarner of peaks and pipes peaks

Speaker 1: (16:18)
A little bit less untrusted

Speaker 3: (16:19)
For you. Yeah. It turns out, um, hi Ron, he, uh, really grew it and then, um, he stepped away to open peaks and pints. Um, and uh, I think it just kind of went back to being inside of the again.

Speaker 1: (16:33)
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. Okay. So that’s all the papers more or less,

Speaker 3: (16:36)
More or less. You’ve gotta, uh, you know, there might be, um, you’ve depending on whether you want to count, um, south sound magazine, for example,

Speaker 1: (16:45)
I feel like we should do a separate magazine section.

Speaker 3: (16:46)
So we’ve got some magazines.

Speaker 1: (16:47)
Should we transition now from, from newspapers to magazines, we’ve

Speaker 3: (16:51)
Got some, some magazines in there, south sound, there is a business, something, and I I’m now

Speaker 1: (16:57)
It’s not the Puget sound business journal. There’s a new, they like the, they sold the business journal to a new owner

Speaker 3: (17:04)
And I, and I am a poorly prepared guest. I forgot the name of that.

Speaker 1: (17:08)
We’ll put it in the link Tacoma daily index. Nope. Nope. Oh, is that printed?

Speaker 3: (17:12)
The daily index was for a while. What was considered the paper of record, um, where, like you had to, if you were publishing like official notices of things like, oh, I see that’s where you went and I don’t know what the status of that one is right now.

Speaker 1: (17:27)
Okay. So thinking about magazines or soft sound magazine there’s um, can each some business journal you’ve got

Speaker 3: (17:35)
Grit,

Speaker 1: (17:36)
CI

Speaker 3: (17:37)
Magazine city magazine, which

Speaker 1: (17:38)
Is like the cool

Speaker 3: (17:39)
Magazine, which is a beautifully designed produced. Um, they do

Speaker 1: (17:44)
Such interesting stories,

Speaker 3: (17:45)
Quarterly magazine. They do stories on their website. They do stories that are only in the magazine that, you know, some start in one and go to the other. Um, they have beautiful, um, Instagram, you know, feeds to follow for those who wanna follow that.

Speaker 1: (18:01)
Yeah. I would definitely start by following them on Instagram and then you can get the links to order a copy of the magazine and see them at events

Speaker 3: (18:07)
And all that stuff. And they, they have, um, they’re definitely, you know, uh, very similar to channel 2 53 in that you know, this in independent media, um, they are sustained by, uh, their swag by some ads

Speaker 1: (18:21)
By donations,

Speaker 3: (18:22)
Donations, you know, patron style donations, and then subscriptions to that, that quarterly magazine.

Speaker 1: (18:28)
Yeah, definitely. Don’t miss grit, city magazine.

Speaker 3: (18:30)
You see it on, um, you see it on like a lot of coffee tables cuz it looks so nice.

Speaker 1: (18:34)
It it’s on my coffee table. There you go. All right. So, okay. Grit, city magazine. Uh, what else are there any other mag? I feel like I’m gonna get in trouble cause I’m forgetting some

Speaker 3: (18:43)
There’s. Um, is there still city? There’s a showcase Tacoma. No city arts is not a, um, oh, but or city art. So city arts tried to do a thing where they were both city arts and also the publication that you would see if you went to like something at the pan and it was,

Speaker 1: (19:00)
It was like, but was that turnover was the

Speaker 3: (19:01)
Program. Yeah. So, um, I think that, that, that they might still, there might be still be something called city arts. That’s like the thing that is in the that basically if you go to a play, if you go to a, if you go to a show, um, but it’s not a separately published magazine in Tacoma that you can pick up. And again, I’m feeling like any of these things, I might be proven wrong because I might walk by a thing and I’m like, oh, there’s city arch or something like that. But, well,

Speaker 1: (19:25)
If you’re listening to this podcast and you’re like, I cannot believe you didn’t tell a people about my magazine. Right. Please send me a message. I’ll move to tacoma.com and I will put it in the show notes with, we will, we will get you your dear with

Speaker 3: (19:35)
Eric’s apologies.

Speaker 1: (19:36)
Yes. All right. Can we talk about the NPR stations? Uh, because, uh, I’m very excited to talk about that. Sure. Okay. So obviously within, within our area, we can hear K O w from Seattle. Absolutely. Which is the Seattle NPR station.

Speaker 3: (19:51)
But, and, and to be clear, like I might disagree with that, but that’s how they build themselves.

Speaker 1: (19:55)
So yeah, no, I mean they’re clear.

Speaker 3: (19:57)
They, they play, they call, they call themselves Seattle’s NPR station and they are, and they play, uh, NPR and other talk radio throughout, throughout the entire day. That’s

Speaker 1: (20:07)
That’s their on primarily Seattle centric topics.

Speaker 3: (20:09)
I disagree with that, but that’s fine and

Speaker 1: (20:11)
Mean you disagree

Speaker 3: (20:12)
With that. I do disagree with that.

Speaker 1: (20:13)
What else do they talk about?

Speaker 3: (20:15)
I mean, NPR, they’ve got a bunch of NPR

Speaker 1: (20:17)
Program. Well, right. But the same stuff that everybody has. Right. But their, their, their local coverage is generally focused on their

Speaker 3: (20:22)
Local coverage is generally focused on Seattle,

Speaker 1: (20:24)
But we have can kicks now. And since you work there, maybe you don’t feel like you can guess it up. I’ll go ahead and guess

Speaker 3: (20:29)
It up. No, I can definitely guess that that’s my

Speaker 1: (20:31)
Cause we gotta, I, what a gem, like not only do we have this incredible NPR station that services our area, they’re located in downtown Tacoma, they made the investment, they moved downtown. Like they are part of us. And it’s just so exciting. They have a dedicated reporter more than one, you know, like this like incredible reporting staff. Like, can you, can you talk about like, right. So, and they’re new, you know, they’re newer, it’s just been a few years. It’s so special.

Speaker 3: (20:55)
Since, since we are talking about folks who are talking to folks who might be moving to the Tacoma, trying to figure things out or like

Speaker 1: (21:02)
Us they’ve been here forever, but they have no idea where to get their news anymore. There you go.

Speaker 3: (21:06)
So, uh, K KX has actually been around for decades. It started that’s true. It started as a college, um, licensed radio station at the Pacific Lutheran university. It was known as KPL U played primarily jazz. And then 30, some odd years ago, they were like, let’s add NPR news. And so at that time, um, opened up a Seattle studio for journalism, uh, had a studio station in, down at P L U. And that was basically the way of it for a while. Up until 2015, when P U tried to sell the signal to K U O w we

Speaker 1: (21:43)
Dedicated several episodes in the moved to Tacoma podcast to that situation tell

Speaker 3: (21:47)
It was a, it was a big brew. Haha. The station did something amazing and raised like 7 million and 140 days or something like that. Oh my God. Uh, with like an average donation of like 200 something, I mean, like it was a incredible true community purchase. Um, in that sense it’s not just a Tacoma station to Canne. Kay actually has the largest SIG area of any radio station in the state. Right.

Speaker 1: (22:10)
It goes to like Longview

Speaker 3: (22:12)
It’s we, we, we save Vancouver to Vancouver cause like it, it is, it is a huge portion of Western Washington. Incredible. So, uh, station left P U rebranded, uh, changes call sign to Kane KX, and then, um, moved to downtown Tacoma. So we are right there on Broadway. The farmer’s market is out our door and then of course we had this big grand opening in late 2019 and then gotta work there for like five months and then COVID hit. Um, but we’re back in the office more often now. That’s good. Um, and so it’s been really, uh, it’s been really nice actually to be back in this beautiful space

Speaker 1: (22:51)
And you are not on the news, jazz blues side of the stuff you are, you are in a Morva

Speaker 3: (22:57)
Like I’m trying to market the jazz and the blues in the news to everyone. So, uh, basically it’s news during the drives and then jazz during the other times, and then Saturday and Sunday nights is blues. And to your point at the reporting, let’s talk about the new side of that’s, where

Speaker 1: (23:11)
I was about to go.

Speaker 3: (23:12)
Um, we, we have Carlo who’s the south sound reporter and she over the last year has done some really great stories about, uh, scandals at like the medical examiner’s office. Um, and then also has been an incredible journalist around, um, the Manny Ellis tragedy homicide, um, talking to the family, getting those stories and is doing really great work there. So we also have other journalists stationed in Tacoma, for example, will

Speaker 1: (23:42)
James

Speaker 3: (23:43)
Will. James is not actually stationed at so will, will. James is the former south sound reporter that’s now, uh, Kari. Oh, that’s will James is a, uh, like a special projects reporter. Okay. So he does lots of different kinds of things. He did a story in like December that was just so good. And went back to the, um, like one of those residential hotels called the Merkel hotel. Right. And there were, I can’t remember like 20 people who had lived there and it had closed several years ago to be redeveloped. He tracked down as many of them as he could interviewed them. What are they doing? Several were homeless, some had died and a couple had been able to find some other housing and it was a three part and it was, it was really well done. And it talked about the human cost of, you know, growing, you know, growing as a city when you don’t have abundant housing to serve

Speaker 1: (24:35)
Everyone. Right. And he also did the outside’s podcast before the pandemic talking about homelessness in the region, particularly in Olympia that was

Speaker 3: (24:42)
Focused on Olympia. Yeah. So, um, but had insights and implications for everywhere along the way, his

Speaker 1: (24:48)
Reporting is amazing. Yeah.

Speaker 3: (24:50)
We also have, uh, uh, a reporter named my, who is actually one of, uh, Nate Bowlings, former students.

Speaker 1: (24:56)
Right. I follow my on Twitter.

Speaker 3: (24:58)
Yep. She’s great. She, uh, lives in Tacoma works out of Tacoma, um, but has a, a larger focus in the area, but she’s done some, uh, really good stories as well. And so, um, so we are

Speaker 1: (25:12)
And a new news director, right? Erin Hennessey retired. And now you have Flo

Speaker 3: (25:15)
Angela, Erin Hennessey retired in, uh, 2019. And we have, uh, Flo Angela Dola, who is the news director for Kane KX and has built an amazing team of journalists.

Speaker 1: (25:27)
That’s awesome. So I feel like the big story of like that, of, of a news media in Tacoma that is financially supported, that is robust, that is hiring this producing great stories like cank seems to have the wind in its back right now when it comes to stories in Tacoma. Yeah.

Speaker 3: (25:44)
It’s been, um, it’s been really great. Can X looks because it is a, you know, it’s got this giant signal, it looks for stories no matter where it’s covering that, like might have regional interest to everyone. And so there are specific stories that, um, the news Tribune is going to cover because it’s like, they’re trying to cover it for just Tacoma. Right. And K K is looking for like that broad right. Kind of thing. That makes sense. And so it, it changes that the, how the, how the news is covered, um, and producing radio is, uh, as I have come to learn working at a radio station, like it’s a, it’s, it’s a lot more time on the part of the journalist to create a single story to create that piece of audio. Right. Um, versus writing it up necessarily. Yeah. So it’s really, it’s still, you know, very audio focused, very radio focused. Um, but they do write up a significant amount of it@cankx.org. Awesome. Um, and then some of these things are turned into podcasts and yada Y yada. So it’s a really useful news source in the ecosystem with something like a newspaper.

Speaker 1: (26:47)
Well, that’s great. We love can KX, please support your yes, we do NPR station. Yes, we do. Eric Berg’s job. Um, I guess before we move on to podcasting, cause I definitely wanna finish off with podcasting. Here’s another gotcha. Journalism moment here. Uh, K BTC news. Is there anything, I don’t know. Cause I would say like, I guess we watch the Seattle news stations except for K BTC. Like is K BTC still a thing like, do we watch the, I don’t watch it, but like, do people watch it? Am I missing

Speaker 3: (27:14)
Out public television? I let’s see. So I, this is hard because like I work with many of these folks, but I wanna give, have good information. Um, many people watch not K BTC. This is just my experience, but they watch, um, KCTS. Is that, is

Speaker 1: (27:33)
That the other channel nine in Seattle? Yeah.

Speaker 3: (27:35)
Yeah. Um, K BTC for those who don’t know is Bates technical college. That is the BTC of that. Uh, and they have a big transmitter right there on 19th and like draft and

Speaker 1: (27:48)
That’s what I was thinking about. I just drove by it yesterday. So

Speaker 3: (27:50)
Yeah, it is, um, they do a lot of the same programming that the Seattle station does. So I mean, you know, you can certainly move over and, you know, watch it and you’ll still get, but can I

Speaker 1: (28:01)
Get my own

Speaker 3: (28:02)
Snobby? You can, can I

Speaker 1: (28:03)
Get my British,

Speaker 3: (28:04)
All of those things? Um, and this is one of those times where like, I might be remembering something that was pre pandemic, but they did do like a Friday news show, um, like kind of a weekend review kind of a thing. Um, but again, I, I, I might have to Google to see if it’s still going again. All

Speaker 1: (28:22)
Right. We’ll see what we can do in the show notes here. Yeah. Thanks a thanks for attempting. Yeah. Oh, and I’m gonna go ahead and pause now for a break.

Speaker 2: (28:33)
Hello, I’m Doug Mackey producer at channel 2 53. This episode of channel 2 53 is sponsored by Microsoft. Microsoft is proud to support Rainier scholars. Rainier scholars believes that all students deserve an equal opportunity to Excel academically and become our next community and business leaders. And now they’re in the 2 53 Rainier scholars. Tacoma is a long term college readiness program for underrepresented students of color in the Tacoma community. The, a recruit in the fourth grade start working with students and families the summer before fifth grade and walk alongside them through college completion with a goal of graduating with minimal debt. Do you know a student who should be part of the first Tacoma cohort recruitment is now underway, Microsoft and Reiner scholars share the desire, cultivate a growth mindset and believe every student deserves the opportunity to achieve more, to find out more about Rainier scholars in Tacoma, visit Rainier scholars.org and click Tacoma. My thanks to Microsoft for their supportive channel 2 53 and reindeer scholars.

Speaker 1: (29:46)
All right, we are back. And I mean, as long as I’ve got you, Eric, I think we’re supposed to mention that channel 2 53, uh, the network upon which this humble podcast resides is a member supported, uh, to tuition. It

Speaker 3: (30:01)
Is a member supported podcast network. We have more than 200 members right now. That’s wild, which is wild. And many of those folks are active, uh, in our slack channel. That’s a member only benefit where we, uh, gossip about the news, uh, and also just share really useful information. Um, and then there’s also, uh, producer Doug through the glass over there, a host off the record, which is a 15 minute podcast once a week. That is just fun. Like, and it’s just for members.

Speaker 1: (30:30)
And how much does it cost Eric to be a member of channel 2 53?

Speaker 3: (30:34)
Well, it’s funny cuz I’ve learned how to do pitch breaks now. Oh, it’s $40 a month or $40 a year, only

Speaker 1: (30:40)
40

Speaker 3: (30:40)
Only. And you, you can go to channel two 50 three.com/membership to set it up.

Speaker 1: (30:46)
Thank you, Eric. Uh, so when we went to break, we were talking about K BTC.

Speaker 3: (30:53)
Yeah. And I had a chance to check this. The, the show is still going it’s uh, it was called, it’s called Northwest now weekly public affairs television. Yes. And they take a closer look at issues in people who are part of Western Washington. So not necessarily Tacoma focused. Um, but it, it is K BTC, which means it’s uh, uh, coming through Tacoma.

Speaker 1: (31:13)
Awesome. Glad we talked about that. Well, I mean, as long as we’re talking about channel 2, 5, 3, like let’s talk about podcasting, let’s Tacoma podcasting. Now there other, there are other podcast casts besides the ones that live on channel 2 53 and I’ll include a link in the show notes to a blog, a, a blog post that I wrote where I listed out a few dozen podcasts in the city of Tacoma. Um, so that we’re not just talking about channel 2 53, but as far as I know, channel 2 53 is the only network that has multiple podcasts on it. That’s like spitting out professional quality podcasts, uh, on the regular.

Speaker 3: (31:45)
That means is it was either a really great idea or really terrible idea. I don’t know which one, um,

Speaker 1: (31:50)
How many, how many ponies are in you in the channel? 2 53 stable nowadays

Speaker 3: (31:53)
It comes and goes last year. Uh, I have no idea. It’s, it’s

Speaker 1: (31:56)
A few, we have moved to Tacoma. We

Speaker 3: (31:58)
Have moved to Tacoma.

Speaker 1: (31:59)
We have citizen

Speaker 3: (32:00)
Tacoma,

Speaker 1: (32:00)
Citizen Tacoma. And what is citizen Tacoma about? Oh

Speaker 3: (32:03)
Right now I’m hosting that. And I talk to elected officials about what’s happening in Tacoma and candidates when, uh, you know, filing season starts and we start getting our candidates for the, for the summer.

Speaker 1: (32:13)
So people are trying to wrap their heads around sort of the,

Speaker 3: (32:15)
The politics of Tacoma. That’s

Speaker 1: (32:17)
The place to go.

Speaker 3: (32:18)
Evelyn Lopez, hosts, crossing division, which is a place to go to talk about, uh, you know, what’s hap you know, what’s happening in Tacoma, what are the hot button issues? And she has guests, um, and talks about that. Great. And then, um, nerd farmer, which is Nate bowling’s show, and it is usually some sort of wonky take on, you know, on what’s happening in Tacoma, the United States or the world.

Speaker 1: (32:45)
Yeah. He says like national issues through a local lens. Isn’t that his thing?

Speaker 3: (32:50)
Yeah. It’s kind of been, uh, global issues through a national, I don’t even know what it, but uh, like, you know, there’s been Ukraine stuff on there, there, and, um, inflation, I listened to the episode about like NFTs in crypto, cuz I was interested in that, but

Speaker 1: (33:06)
He also like interviewed the Seattle times reporter who broke the story about ed Troyer, you know, like, I mean he has, he has done some, some great episodes.

Speaker 3: (33:16)
Yeah. He, he has a lot of those, those big ones are like, uh, about things, you know, those national things. And then, uh, some that are very specifically

Speaker 1: (33:24)
Local. Yeah. It’s definitely one to have on your radar

Speaker 3: (33:26)
And then interchangeable white ladies.

Speaker 1: (33:28)
Yeah. You know, and that is, that is uh, one that I did not think that I would have any real reason to, I’m a white lady, but I, I should have known, but like two teachers talking about teacher stuff turns out to be a lot more interesting than I would have

Speaker 3: (33:43)
Thought they, they don’t always, uh, keep it to just the classroom. So, so even for a non-teacher there’s ones where they’re talking about, you know, how race and privilege or gender are affecting a variety of different things. It’s a great show. Um, so there’s that one, we also have, uh, the Cunningham Cunningham sisters will do what say

Speaker 1: (34:00)
You, oh my gosh. That show is amazing. Yeah. You know, like I, and I, I admit I’m biased because I’m friends with Melanie, but, um, I, I will put on what say you like while I’m cooking dinner and I feel like I’m listening in on someone’s private conversation. Like they are so candid. Like sometimes like I will just stop and my job will like the things that they say and like the insights that I have, like when I’m listening to them, like that is that show is that is a very real show.

Speaker 3: (34:28)
Uh, they are sisters. And so they have that rapport, they have that honesty. Um, and that’s really refreshing. And then, um, uh, there’s a, I don’t wanna say it because, you know, like it’s, you don’t don’t wanna necessarily jinx it, but like, uh, maybe we’ll get we Tacoma back, which is, um, our arts, arts focused, uh, podcast.

Speaker 1: (34:50)
So it’s definitely worth, uh, subscribing on whatever your preferred channel is. Cuz there’s also like a bunch of really great interviews going back that will help shed on if you wanna

Speaker 3: (34:58)
Community understand, like what monkey shines are. I talked to, uh, the people who created monkey shines in an anonymous way so that we never have to know who they are so good. Um, so there’s lots of different things on, on that one as well. That’s awesome. I think those are all the, the, the active ones, uh, right now.

Speaker 1: (35:13)
So if someone is listening and they’re interested, like one of the things that I love about Tacoma, like we met when we were both cowork, I mean, we met in the high school, we knew each other, but we became friends when we were co-working in suite 1 33 back in like 2007, 2008. And that sort of was a spinoff of like a blog that you part owned called exit 1 33. Yep. And I think one of the things that’s so cool over the last couple decades, like watching Tacoma, it spawns a lot of like creative. Like someone has an idea and runs with it, local media. This is a place where if you have the time you have the microphone, you have the access, you can, you can, you can create something like that. Nobody’s going to stop you. So what would you say to somebody who’s listening to this going? I I’ve always wanted to start my own newspaper. I’ve always wanted to start a podcast. You know, I’d really like to get involved in local media. Like what would you say to that person having done it in so many different ways over the years,

Speaker 3: (36:07)
There’s a really low barrier to entry in Tacoma. I mean, and, you know, get a, a, a WordPress theme and start writing, start putting it on Facebook. Um, you see the, that with, uh, the suburban times you see that with,

Speaker 1: (36:20)
Oh my gosh, they’ve been around

Speaker 3: (36:21)
Forever. They’ve been around a long time. Um, you see that with, um, gig Harbor actually now has a nonprofit news source that, uh, was, was started up in gig Harbor. Like their people are trying to cover their local communities. Uh, and so it just takes the willingness and the time, you know, that’s what it really comes down to. And maybe like knowing a little bit about social media and like how to get the word out about what you’re doing, but, um, just, just start it up. I, I really think, would

Speaker 1: (36:52)
You say as someone who’s, like I said, been involved in various capacities with different media companies in Tacoma, would you say it’s a competitive environment or a collaborative of higher environment or something in between? Do, do, do folks support each other?

Speaker 3: (37:03)
Uh, I think that that folks definitely would support each other. Um, I, you know, I don’t think that, uh, people joining grit city magazine hurts channel 2 53, you know, or anything like that. Like, um, I think a lot of things can work in Tacoma because there are, because we’re, we’re just big enough that we can support like, like one thing. So, so, so maybe this is the thing that I would say, you know, trying to start up another channel 2 53 in Tacoma, unless you were doing it wildly better than us, which maybe they can, I don’t know if it would work because like we kind of have all of that already covered. I,

Speaker 1: (37:44)
Oh, I think there’s room for two or three more podcasting networks. Two more. Definitely. I mean, cuz like we’re old now Eric, like I don’t mean to say that, like I know Doug just gave me a dirty look, but like what about the Youngs? What about the gen Zs? Like there’s a whole opportunity for like a completely different perspective.

Speaker 3: (37:59)
There are opportunities, um, where an individual can create like their own podcast. And I think just kill it. Like I don’t know that, that we, we need more networks of podcast necessarily.

Speaker 1: (38:11)
Are you gate keeping her

Speaker 3: (38:15)
Or I will cut you if you do start one. No, that’s not what I’m trying to say. Um, I will just

Speaker 1: (38:21)
Absorb

Speaker 3: (38:21)
Them. There you go.

Speaker 6: (38:23)
If you wanna start a podcast, you talked to Eric KA.

Speaker 3: (38:26)
Um, I think that there are, there is room for a lot of people to start their podcast. You know what, and this is, uh, a sad note to mention, but um, the success that Sue had had before, before she passed. Yeah,

Speaker 1: (38:39)
Lets talk about dine out Pierce county.

Speaker 3: (38:40)
She had a full-time job, um, and former food critic for the news Trin. So had a lot of followers, um, and around her full-time job just did amazing food coverage of Pierce county had, um, an active Instagram, had a website that was regularly updated, great blog posts, um, reviews, blog posts, interviews, um, and had a, a model of, um, revenue where, you know, it was, um, Paton, right? Yep. It was, it was, it was donations through that. And um, I mean, if you look at the number, you know, she had a huge fan base and she had a lot of people supporting her. Um, and that’s the kind of thing that I do think a lot of people could do her, her passing. Um, we’re recording this in on March 7th, which is just a few days after, uh, her passing was a real loss to Tacoma. Um, real

Speaker 1: (39:34)
Shock to everybody. Yeah. Well I think like she is such a great example of, of what is possible when it comes to like local media and having a passion and, and covering it and earning the trust of diners and restaurateurs like, like she was, she was beloved.

Speaker 3: (39:52)
Yeah. She really put in the work. Um, she had, um, she, she just, she, she did it really, really well and it’s, it’s really sad. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (40:04)
Well, uh, do you feel like we have talked about the whole Tacoma media landscape,

Speaker 3: (40:10)
Um, you know, it’s worth mentioning that like one of the reasons why I think one of the things that we didn’t talk about was the fact that like all of this is happening in the umbrella of Seattle.

Speaker 1: (40:23)
Yeah.

Speaker 3: (40:24)
And so the Seattle times, which actually broke the EDRO story, as you mentioned yeah.

Speaker 1: (40:29)
And has done some great coverage of the

Speaker 3: (40:31)
Man

Speaker 1: (40:31)
S done a

Speaker 3: (40:32)
As well, a lot of coverage of Tacoma, that’s been really high quality. Um, the news stations, I think the Tacoma has, uh, the TV news stations has a real mixed relationship with those news stations because the feeling that a lot of people get is is that they only show up for the shootings. Um, that’s not true. I mean,

Speaker 1: (40:53)
I mean, they’ve been here in the studio doing a story about channel 2 53.

Speaker 3: (40:56)
Right. So, so there there’s a feeling, you know, I think, I think from the, the eighties and the nineties or the two thousands that, that like they only showed up for the bad news. Yeah. Um, and if you watch it, you do get a lot of, you know, Seattle focused news,

Speaker 1: (41:10)
But the TV know really does predominantly show up for bad news. Like that’s

Speaker 3: (41:14)
TV, wherever they, wherever they do. Um, you know, evening magazine has one of, you know, one of their hosts lives here. And I don’t know if it’s attributable to him, but like, we look really good on evening magazine. Like we’ve got a lot of good stories about Tacoma, so cool stuff. Um, so I don’t, you know, I feel like that, that that’s a generalization that a lot of people feel, I don’t think it’s actually necessarily portrayed, but like we’re in a really big region. Yeah. Um, and so that’s one of the reasons why like Tacoma doesn’t have its own TV, you know, channel or something like that, because like, it always makes sense to just cover the whole area. Yeah. Um, so a lot of the, these things are just carved out niches within that larger media ecosystem.

Speaker 1: (41:57)
So like if you had to give Tacoma a score for media coverage, like how are we doing

Speaker 3: (42:03)
Better, better than I thought we would be doing when I started channel 2 53, when it really comes down to it. Right. Like things are getting better. I, I think you, you do see some of those, those in independent media sources, um, that, that are cropping up. Um, as I said, the, the really important one is, is that the Tribune is still here. It’s still covering and appears to be, you know, continuing to hire. And, um, and that’s, that’s the, that’s the biggest one for it to come at this point that, um, we’ll just come full circle and say that like have having a newspaper covering our, our region is pretty important right now. Yeah. Our city support

Speaker 1: (42:38)
Your local newspaper

Speaker 3: (42:39)
Support your local

Speaker 1: (42:40)
Newspaper. Well, thanks for coming on. I just almost said, thanks for coming on. Thanks for coming on Eric. Thank you, Margaret. And hi, Doug. Hi. Back in the booth, Doug, have a great day. Wanna learn more about life in Tacoma. Visit, move to tacoma.com.

Speaker 2: (42:57)
Channel 2 53 is supported by Microsoft. Microsoft is committed to civic conversations like those on channel 2 53 that inform and empower Washington communities to learn more visit aka.ms. Slash Microsoft in Washington.

Speaker 1: (43:14)
Doug says I’ve been doing the break and the comeback wrong.

Speaker 3: (43:18)
Oh really

Speaker 1: (43:18)
Too snarky. Doug says I have to take a break there.

Speaker 2: (43:22)
Move to Tacoma as part of the channel, 2 53 network, check out our other shows. Nerd farmer interchangeable, white ladies, citizen Tacoma crossing division. We are Tacoma flounders B team. And what say you? This is channel 2 53.

Show Notes

Where are the best places to get your news in Tacoma if you want to be fully informed?

We sat down with former Metro Parks Commissioner, Author, Channel 253 Founder, and KNKX Public Radio Director of Audience Engagement Erik Hanberg to talk about what our options are for news in Tacoma. Here were his recommendations.

Newspapers:

The News Tribune - This is the main newspaper in Tacoma. While not what it once was (what paper is?) it is still the paper giving the most coverage of local news, politics, and community in Tacoma. We discuss some of its past, present, and future. We also discussed the changes over time with the editorial page. We also discuss how challenging it is to retain great journalists (many are being lost to PR and national media for less stress and more money). Weekly Volcano - Part of Northwest Military.com (or as Erik calls it, The Ranger!) Tacoma Weekly - Embroiled in some scandals but still around and still covering stories.

Magazines:

Grit City Magazine - Independent local media. A blog and quarterly magazine with a great instagram. Puget Sound Business Journal - The main source for business news in the region. South Sound Magazine - A local Magazine covering lifestyle in the South Sound Area including Tacoma.

Tacoma NPR Radio Stations:

KNKX 88.5 FM - NPR Station. Used to be KPLU, now located in Downtown Tacoma with reporters covering Tacoma and beyond. Their focus is on Vancouver Washington to Vancouver BC. KNKX also has Jazz and Blues in addition to NPR news. KUOW 94.9 FM - NPR Station focussed on Seattle news but with some regional coverage.

Podcasts:

Channel253 - A network of podcasts about Tacoma hosted by locals. There are a bunch of shows including The Nerd Farmer Podcast with Nate Bowling,. For Tacoma politics check out Citizen Tacoma hosted by Erik. Interchangeable White Ladies discusses issues of race, teaching, whiteness, and more. Crossing Division is a local talk show focussed on the issues that divide us in Tacoma hosted by Evelyn Lopez. We Art Tacoma is a podcast focussed on the arts community in Tacoma. What Say U? is a podcast featuring Melannie Denise Cunningham and her sister Audrey Cunningham discuss race and a wbole lot more. Flounders B Team Podcast covers soccer in the region. Taco Man Podcast is built on a local pun and explores Tacos all over Tacoma combined with interviews with locals. For the record, the Move to Tacoma Podcast is also on the Channel253 network!