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


Public TV Advocates Hail FCC Ruling on ATSC 3.0

In one of its final acts under outgoing chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC is giving noncommercial TV stations a break on several rules and fees, a move that public broadcasting advocates hope will lead to increased datacasting opportunities.

The FCC’s Report and Order was designed to update the commission’s rules to reflect the shift to ATSC 3.0, the “Next Gen TV” broadcast standard meant to transition TV from a one-way linear service to a more interactive, IP-based architecture. That means more use of what the FCC calls “ancillary and supplemental services” — using broadcast TV spectrum to transmit data instead of the linear video streams that have long been the primary focus of FCC TV regulation. READ MORE AT CURRENT...

PLUS: Capitol Broadcasting Company Launches ATSC 3.0 in Raleigh

It’s Not Just Content That’s Grown at NPR. So Have Options for Advertisers

As NPR has expanded beyond broadcast radio to embrace a plethora of platforms, so too has the menu of products it offers sponsors. While you’ll still hear unadorned reads like, “This message comes from NPR sponsor Comcast,” the marketing and creative avenues have widened considerably to coincide with a growing slate of content developed for podcasting, smart speakers and smartphone apps.

“It really depends on your campaign needs,” Erica Osher, VP of Sponsorship Products at National Public Media, the underwriting and advertising rep firm for NPR, told MediaVillage. “When we talk to clients, the first thing we ask is, 'What are you trying to achieve in your campaign, who are you trying to reach and how are you measuring success?' You have to understand that before you can come up with a media plan and suggest creative options." READ MORE AT INSIDE RADIO...

Here Are The Research Findings That Rocked The Audio World In 2020

Big takeaway:  U.S. audio consumption changed as a result of COVID-19.

Listening location changed dramatically in second quarter with 70% of total listening taking place at home, up from 49% pre-quarantine, Edison’s Share of Ear study showed. By the third quarter, at-home listening down-shifted to 59%. In addition, Americans' audio day started later as quarantine restrictions began, from 7:15am pre-pandemic to 8:30 in Q2 before moderating somewhat to 8:15 in Q3. “The location of listening was totally changed by people staying at home,” President Larry Rosin said in the webinar presentation. The firm will continue to track these trends, Rosin said, “to see if once we get past the pandemic, things go back to the way they were before or whether the pandemic has permanently changed the way people consume audio.” READ MORE AT INSIDE RADIO...

Legislatures Will Tackle the Local News Crisis

The crisis in local news is making it harder for the government to help Americans when they need it the most, and legislatures are beginning to take notice. Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz introduced a bill in the United States Senate calling for the establishment of a Future of Local News Commission, exploring “policies and mechanisms that could reinvigorate local news to meet the critical information needs” of Americans. Some states are taking matters into their own hands; for example, the Massachusetts legislature is considering a commission to study journalism in underserved communities. READ MORE AT NIEMAN LAB...

PLUS: The Desperate Last Days of Local News

These 33 Projects Tackle Diversity in Local News

Google has announced an important list of projects selected for the second round of the Google News Initiative’s North American Innovation Challenge. The challenges are meant to encourage a spirit of experimenting, and quite simply, trying new things. It is especially important this year to tackle innovative ideas, and the 33 projects they've funded look at diversity, equity and inclusion through many different lenses, all focused around the communities they serve.

The Innovation Challenge received 215 applications from the US and Canada, and will fund 33 projects totaling $5.9 million. READ MORE AT GOOGLE BLOG...

2020 Wraps...

The Best Podcasts of 2020

The year brought intense change to the community, much of it centered on an accelerated pace of consolidation that has fundamentally reshaped the scene. The true effects of this change are subject to further debate, though assessments on whether it’s all good or all bad on aggregate will likely depend on where you stand in your relationship with capitalism — and whether you stand to benefit. READ MORE AT VULTURE...

NPR's 40 Most Engaging and Popular Stories of 2020

Mourning and celebrating; coping and distancing: 2020 has been a year of collective emotional dissonance. Even as the worst public health crisis in memory changed our lives, it also made us cherish bright moments where we found them.

Here are the NPR stories that hit home in 2020. They examine the complicated reality of life during a pandemic. They highlight moments of grace, surprise and persistence — and sometimes, stark disagreement. READ MORE...