News Bites 1-4-21

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


FCC Seeks Help Handing Out Billions in COVID-19 Broadband Aid

The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau is seeking input on how to hand out over $3 billion in new broadband benefits created by Congress in the recently passed package of appropriations and COVID-19 aid funds.

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was created to help low-income households access the internet, and fund equipment and service for students forced to study from home during the pandemic. READ MORE...

APTS, PBS Support NextGen TV Multicast Flexibility

Non-commercial groups America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) see a “gap” in a previous order regarding NextGen TV regarding simulcasting of multicast streams that could impact their ability to fully bring ATSC 3.0 services to their viewers. As a result, the two organizations (PTV collectively) are backing a recent effort by the NAB.

In a joint filing to the FCC, PTV has thrown its support behind the NAB’s Petition of Declaratory Ruling calling for a clarification, and possibly new rule changes, to allow ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 stations to be flexible with multicast streams. READ MORE...

Amazon Wraps 2020’s Podcast Expansion With Deal To Buy Wondery

A three-month sale process has come to an end for Wondery, which has agreed to sell itself to Amazon. The tech giant has spent the past year building and launching its podcast business and the Wondery acquisition marks its largest investment in the medium to date. Terms of the deal – which has not yet closed – were not immediately released but earlier reports suggested Wondery could fetch a price tag of roughly $300 million.

“We’re pleased to announce that Wondery—an innovative podcast publisher with a track record of creating and producing top-rated podcasts—has signed an agreement to join Amazon Music,” said Amazon in the announcement. “When the deal closes, nothing will change for listeners, and they’ll continue to be able to access Wondery podcasts through a variety of providers.” READ MORE...

Lessons Learned In 2020 Chart Path For Radio’s Future

Radio did its share of shifting and swiveling in 2020. “We faced challenges unlike any we have seen before,” recalls Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner. “With every aspect of our lives and business confronted with dramatic change, we learned we could pivot rapidly to remote broadcasting and keep all our shows on the air, despite a vast majority of our talent, producers, and technicians working from home.” READ MORE...

PLUS: Industry Leaders On What To Expect In 2021

Vision Maker Media Announces Open Call for 2021 Public Media Project Proposals

Vision Maker Media (VMM) announced an open call for 2021 public media broadcast proposals. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. CST on Friday, February 12, 2021. Project awards will be announced in spring 2021.

VMM seeks public media film and television projects that are intended and appropriate for Public Media Television Broadcasting, including Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) digital and streaming platforms that represent the cultures, experiences and perspectives of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. READ MORE...