The Power of COVE (Part 1 of 5 in a series)

As I began thinking a week ago about how I would start this entry, the title of the unparalleled 1985 Huey Lewis & the News hit "The Power of Love" kept popping into my head. The obvious similarities to the actual title of this post, not to mention the pure good time that is Back to the Future, don't really make this an amazing revelation. So, I went about putting it out of my head, trying everything I could think of to distract me--humming, yoga, nachos, and a four-hour layover in Atlanta. Nothing worked.


Finally, I gave in and decided to look up the lyrics and see if there was a more serendipitous plan at work. Unfortunately, it appears I'm just obsessed with Huey Lewis. The lyrics do make reference to weeping, madness, and euphoria, all emotions that are felt when working on a project this complex. However, the similarities ended there.


This begs the question, why spend so much time explaining what is ultimately an irrelevant tangent? Well, for everyone that is working on and participating in this project, the phrase 'The Power of COVE,' means something different. For example, Cameron Nordholm, a Digital Video Producer with PBS Interactive's content team had this to say:


The power of COVE lies in the 'E' - the ecosystem - and the power of participation. Each inhabitant of the ecosystem feeds, maintains and nourishes itself to contribute to the creation of a sum greater than its parts. They can choose to support the broader community, shoring up those working to establish themselves and making those with solid roots even stronger.

Winding through these roots, the ecosystem has many trails for its explorers to walk. Some trails weave through expansive forests of many inhabitants. Some trails jut into micro climates of just a few. But we've written a field guide - a taxonomy - to support the discovery and study of inhabitants on all of these trails while maintaining their individuality.

The explorers of these trails will find opportunities to sustain and nurture the ecosystem themselves along the way, as well as forks in the road to bring them new and fascinating destinations as they continue on their journey. The ecosystem relies on a foundation to exist, but its prosperity is ensured by its committed contributors that continually reinvest in its growth. In this commitment to the ecosystem lies the power of COVE.  


Cameron is a smart guy, far smarter than me; so it took me a little while to understand what he was talking about. But when I finally did get it, I realized how true his reflections are. For me, COVE speaks to the years I spent at a local station desperately searching for a way to make a "fledgling" content delivery platform relevant to our audience. While we had many successes in the online video arena, there was one common thread that always bothered me. Anything we would put online was dependent upon whether or not we had the resources, and swiftness, to produce it for on-air broadcast first. We were never able to truly respond to the rapidly changing needs of own environment, our own community.


Through COVE, local stations can build video experiences that pull content from any participating station, responding instantly to the events of a local community through the eyes and strength of the entire system. For me, the power of COVE is the power to meet the needs of a local community through the cultivation of an online video experience that draws from every local community. Using the combined resources of the system, we can build a vast repository of stories that highlight our successes, enlighten our mysteries, and illuminate our darkest hours. This repository becomes an unbounded well to draw from as we serve the community through the online video experience.


So, back to Cameron's point, and more importantly Huey Lewis (sorry, Cam). I always thought that the song, "The Power of Love," was talking about what a person really cherishes in life. For me, that has always been my family, my friends and my community. And it's those influences that I bring to COVE, and to Cameron's point, it is through my participation and exploration that these influences help the Ecosystem grow and evolve.


For me, the power of COVE is the power of community.


And incidentally, I did anonymously dedicate that song to a girl I liked in Jr. High.


  1. Posted January 26, 2009 at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    History will no doubt note the exact time and date for the first Huey Lewis and the News mention on this blog and mark it as a turning point.


  2. Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I'm impressed with the Huey Lewis reference - that said, I'm also impressed with COVE. All of the blood, sweat, and tears going into the making of COVE will come through in the final product - for PBS, it will be well worth the wait.

  3. Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    For all the other Huey Lewis fanatics out there, I highly recommend you check out the 2000 movie "Duets" starring Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Giammati and others. Great film. Lewis stars as a Karaoke hustler.

  4. Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I'd forgotten about "Duets," but I did download "Sports" to my ipod yesterday...

    But back to COVE, I'd add to Max's point that we all have been struggling (well, I have, anyway) with how to meld local/national in the online space in a way that rises all boats. I think COVE has the power to do just that, by giving power to the local while still providing the national.

    KETC/St. Louis

  5. Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Do any of the Beta stations have COVE up and running yet? We would love to take a peek.

    Twin Cities Public Television

  6. Posted February 4, 2009 at 5:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    COVE itself is up and running, it powers the PBS KIDS GO! player which can be found at The difference between COVE and the players built on its infrastructure are talked about more in the blog entry "A Suite Deal" ( There is a station module version of the PBS KIDS GO! player that can be found on a number of station sites (example - ).

    In terms of the Local/National PBS Video Player, we are still working through testing to ensure all of the functionality is working properly, so there are no stations with a version of this particular player launched.

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