Apr 21, 2009

Elmo the Elmonaut tells kids about astronomy

Sesame Street's Elmo appeared today at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington to introduce a show that helps children learn about astronomy, The Associated Press reports. "This is one small step for a monster and one giant leap for monsterkind," Elmo declared to the delight of kids at the museum. Dressed in a space suit, he dubbed himself an Elmonaut.

FCC proposes rules on rural radio service

The FCC has proposed new rules intended to increase radio service to rural areas (PDF). If approved, they establish new preferences for such areas and make moving licenses out of the locations more difficult. The proposal specifically addresses Native broadcasters, stating that "several tribal groups have expressed concern about their ability to establish radio service to their people and tribal lands." (Some 30 Native entities received FCC construction permits late last year, see Current story from November 2008.) The proposal tentatively concludes that to serve the public interest, federally recognized tribes should have a priority in FM allotments, AM filing window applications and noncom educational FM filing window applications.

Gorilla ends up at pubTV station

A wayward large stuffed gorilla now has a home at WDSE in Duluth, Minn., according to station promotions director Jodi Hagen. She told Current that the gorilla was bound for a dump site but rejected because it wasn't construction debris. It fell off the back of the owner's truck -- coincidentally, right into the path of a state Department of Transportation official. The owner returned when he realized it was gone and subsequently offered the nearly 6-foot toy to state troopers. One of them thought WDSE might like the gorilla for its Kids Club Circus, an annual event to thank parents for supporting children's programming. "They made sure weren't drugs in it or anything," Hagen added. So that's how it ended up at WDSE. PBS Kids character Martha Speaks, there for the circus, officially welcomed the gorilla with a banana. Now the station is soliciting ideas for names. Hagen said the gorilla's sex has not been determined. Send ideas to gorilla(at)