Dec 3, 2009
For a week in February (Feb. 19-26), the FCC will offer 67 local FM frequencies assigned to specific cities and towns. The commission postponed the filing window from December on the request of public media groups seeking more time to prepare. (Original announcement.) Though the frequencies will be reserved for noncommercial use, they remain unused in the commercial FM band — that is, above 92.1 MHz. The places on the list were chosen because at least 10 percent of their population now have access to no more than one noncomm radio service. The FCC will use a point system giving preference to local applicants with local boards and to those who don’t hold other licenses. These are mostly small cities and towns; among the larger or better known are Terre Haute, Ind., and Bozeman, Mont. Though the list includes Amherst and Canton, the FCC refers to Amherst, N.Y. (not Massachusetts) and Canton, Ill. (not Ohio). Five are in Indiana and five in Illinois. Most of the channels are designated for Class A, the weakest category of full-power FM stations, with transmitter power limited to 6 kilowatts. To coordinate with this FCC window, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration will extend its annual deadline for related equipment grant applications until Feb. 26.
"That's like asking Lady Gaga to cover a Peggy Lee tune and expecting it to be a hit, assuming Lady GaGa would even be interested in covering it (which she would not)," Ramsey writes on his blog Hear 2.0.
Repeating a point he made during a 2008 keynote speech to the Public Radio Program Directors conference, Ramsey notes that Jon Stewart of the Daily Show is "more popular among public radio listeners than the vast majority of public radio personalities. Jon Stewart does a type of news show. Jon Stewart reaches younger audiences." Ramsey also recommends Slate's weekly political podcast, Gabfest. "It reaches exactly the kind of younger, college-educated crowd that public radio has coveted. It sells out its occasional live events. And, of course, it's not on public radio."
Scholastic Media, the international children's publishing, education and media company, is introducing iPhone and iPod apps for several kid's shows including PBS's Clifford the Big Red Dog and WordGirl. Clifford's is titled BE BIG with Words; kids are rewarded with pictures of words they spell. For WordGirl fans there's Word Hunt (above), in which players save a city from villains by using vocabulary words. They're available from the Apps Store.