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


As Some Stations End HD Radio Signals, Others Hold Out Hope for Audience Adoption

Changes spurred by the pandemic have prompted two public broadcasters to scale back their use of HD Radio, the heavily promoted technology that never quite caught on despite its promises of better sound quality and new programming streams.

Last fall, Wisconsin Public Radio ended more than half of its HD Radio services after its state licensee urged it to cut costs. Meanwhile, Oregon Public Broadcasting stopped producing an HD music stream in part because the pandemic has stifled volunteer participation.

HD Radio rolled out more than a decade ago, with CPB providing grants to help convert hundreds of stations’ transmitters to the technology. But listeners need digital radios to enjoy the higher-fidelity broadcasts and tune into the digital subchannels that some stations use for additional news and music services. With that hurdle in place, adoption has been slow. READ MORE AT CURRENT...

APTS Reveals Agenda for 2021 Public Media Summit

America’s Public Television Stations has shared details of what the virtual 2021 Public Media Summit, taking place Feb. 22-23, will look like, and how it will recognize how public TV stations have been “rising to the challenge” over the past year.

Among the topics APTS’ Public Media Summit will discuss are the response of public TV stations to the COVID-19 pandemic, from remote learning initiatives to providing vital information; the racial reckoning occurring in the country, speaking with Lonnie Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and founding director of the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture, and PBS host Margaret Hoover; as well as exploring the latest technology and service innovations, including NextGen TV. READ MORE AT TV TECHNOLOGY...

The Podcast Business Is Booming, but Few Are Making Money

Nearly early every major media and entertainment company is pouring lots of cash into launching new podcasts. But many of them aren't making big money — at least not yet.

Why it matters: As is the case with most new technologies, when it comes to podcasts, consumer adoption has outpaced monetization.

While many big companies and independent creators are trying to get in on the podcast action, most aren't seeing much traction. The top 1% of podcasts receive 99% of downloads. READ MORE AT AXIOS...

TV Watching Shot Up 17% Amongst Americans in 2020

People turned on the TV more amid the stay-at-home-orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and VerizonSpecials.com has put together a state-by-state breakdown of how much time Americans spent watching TV this past year.

Overall, Americans watched 17% more TV in 2020 than they did in 2019, with no state earning an average of less than two-and-a-half hours per day. READ MORE AT TV TECHNOLOGY...

FCC's Jessica Rosenworcel: Time to Think Big, and Act

Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel's first public meeting in the center seat will consist of status reports on works in progress responsive to the Congress' passage of the COVID-19 aid package.

"Our challenge now is to couple Congress’s vision with strategies for successful implementation, so we’re going to hit the ground running," said Rosenworcel. "It’s not time to think small—and we can’t afford to act slowly either." READ MORE AT NEXT TV...

PLUS: Advocacy Groups Push Biden, Senate To Quickly Fill FCC Vacancy

INN Broadens Fundraising Support for Nonprofit News with the Network Philanthropy Center

Last week, INN launched the INN Network Philanthropy Center, the first one-stop-shop for nonprofit newsrooms seeking to increase their success at fundraising.

With support from the Knight Foundation and the Park Foundation, INN's Network Philanthropy Center can meet the needs of nonprofit news organizations at all stages of development. READ MORE AT INN...

Charter Launches $5 Billion, Multi-Year Plan to Expand Broadband to 1 Million New Homes

Charter has been aggressively expanding its footprint over the past few years, partly due to conditions set for approval of its 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable. Last year, the company expanded its homes passed by nearly 1 million homes.

Preparation for the expansion has already begun and Charter said it would expand its existing construction organization in order to focus on deployment of the network. The expansion will extend service to more than 1 million homes and businesses in 24 states: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. READ MORE AT MULTICHANNEL NEWS...