News Bites is our quick snack of public media news that you may have missed...


For Local Nonprofit News, 2020 Was a Very Good Year – 2021 Will Be Even Better

In contrast to the business wipeout for most legacy media last year, big nonprofit local initiatives are thriving and on track for healthy growth this year, too.

American media consumers finally seem to be getting the message that their local newspaper is not healthy financially — diminished already and facing a mortal threat before long. Not only are digital subscriptions up, but readers are starting to voluntarily send tax-deductible gifts. READ MORE AT POYNTER...

New Agreement Gives KALW Nonprofit More Control of Station

Public Media Company is pleased to have helped KALW with business modeling and guidance as it enters this new chapter.

The San Francisco Unified School District has agreed to relinquish some operational control of public radio station KALW to a nonprofit formed last year by the station’s management.

The school district’s board approved a public service operating agreement Dec. 8 with the nonprofit KALW Public Media. Under the agreement, the school district will continue to hold the station’s broadcast license, while KALW Public Media will take over some operations, including programming and staffing. The agreement also allows KPM to independently fundraise for the station. READ MORE AT CURRENT...

Rosenworcel Named Acting FCC Chair

President Biden has designated FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as acting chairwoman of the commission.

She said: “I am honored to be designated as the acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission by President Biden. I thank the president for the opportunity to lead an agency with such a vital mission and talented staff. It is a privilege to serve the American people and work on their behalf to expand the reach of communications opportunity in the digital age.”

In her time at the commission, Rosenworcel has worked to promote greater opportunity, accessibility, and affordability in our communications services in order to ensure that all Americans get a fair shot at 21st century success. From fighting to protect net neutrality to ensuring access to the internet for students caught in the Homework Gap, she has been a consistent champion for connecting all. She is a leader in spectrum policy, developing new ways to support wireless services from Wi-Fi to video and the internet of things. READ MORE AT TV NEWS CHECK...

PLUS: Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Staffs Up

Taking ATSC 3.0 Nationwide

Out west in Phoenix, Pearl TV along with its other market partners in December 2020 launched a two-node ATSC 3.0 SFN trial on The E.W. Scripps Company-owned KASW.

Back east, Louis Libin, Sinclair Broadcast Group vice president for Spectrum Engineering and Policy, was preparing in late 2020 for a Q1 launch of a new six-node 3.0 SFN test on channel 30 in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area that will also include a Sinclair big stick.

The Phoenix SFN test initially looked at the viability of different ATSC 3.0 use cases that rely on single frequency networks. Longer term, testing is designed to help guide broadcasters to optimize future SFN deployments. READ MORE AT TV TECHNOLOGY...

Pubcasters Urge FCC To Offer ‘Flexibility’ on Proposed Foreign Government Sponsorship Rules

NPR, PBS and America’s Public Television Stations are requesting that the FCC adjust proposed rules that would expand broadcasters’ responsibility to label programs that were financially supported by a foreign government.

The organizations responded to an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in October, in which the commission said broadcasters do not consistently identify when programs have been sponsored, produced or developed in assistance with foreign governments. FCC rules currently require disclosure of a sponsor’s name but do not demand that broadcasters link programs to foreign entities. READ MORE AT CURRENT...

PBS and Smithsonian to Provide Free Content to Educators

PBS announced a new collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution to bring learning-ready content to PreK-12 grade educators nationwide. As museums remain closed due to COVID-19, beginning today, a collection of free, standards-aligned Smithsonian content will be brought to life on PBS LearningMedia – an online destination that serves more than 1.6 million users each month -- with new resources to be added to this collection on a regular basis.

“PBS and the Smithsonian Institution have a shared commitment to education and helping teachers and learners connect with relevant and meaningful resources,” said Paula Kerger, CEO of PBS. “As this challenging year has made abundantly clear, it’s now more important than ever to make high-quality, educational content readily accessible to Americans nationwide. Through this partnership, we hope to build on this commitment to students across the country, helping to prepare them for success in school and beyond.” READ MORE AT PBS...

KCTS 9 Launches App On The Roku Platform

KCTS 9, a community-licensed PBS station based in Seattle, today announced its continued commitment to serving audiences with digital-first and streaming content with the launch of a new app on the Roku® platform. The app creates an enhanced viewing experience, and coupled with KCTS 9 Passport, provides members with access to an extended catalogue of acclaimed PBS shows, including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, American Experience, and films from Ken Burns. READ MORE...