Applying human-centered design at KQED

This year, The California Report turned 20 years old. The weekend show has a lot of fans, but not many under the age of 40. I initiated a human-centered effort to help it reach younger audiences.

The staff had a big a-ha moment right away when we went out to talk to students at City College of San Francisco. Through empathy interviews and observation, we learned that a lot of young adults struggle to relate to “issues” and “news,” preferring conversations with people about shared experiences.

It was also clear that audio was alive and well, as earphones were everywhere.

Helping The California Report staff synthesize their discoveries into what young adults say/do/think/feel and examining the tensions, conflicts, and surprises inspired new approaches to storytelling. After a few failed prototypes, they embraced the process of rapid trial and learning (not error) on air.

Of course, since this is a radio show, you can listen to how one millennial influenced the effort: