NPR Receives CPB Grant to Equip 30 Stations
With Enhanced Emergency Communications Systems
Proprietary ‘MetaPub’ Service to Send Messages to Mobile and Other Digital Devices
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 26, 2017) — The Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) has received a $419,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to implement its proprietary metadata technology system MetaPub to stations across ten Midwest, South Central and Gulf Coast states that suffer from destructive weather events. The grant is yet another collaboration between CPB and the PRSS, which is managed by NPR’s Distribution department, to use broadcast technology to improve emergency communications and public safety efforts.
Under the grant, the PRSS will outfit up to 30 stations with software and training to enable them to issue text and image alerts on mobile phones, HD radios, “connected car” screens, Radio Data System (RDS) displays and online audio streaming.
“The heart of this project is to tap into new technologies to bring better immediate emergency communications to stations and audiences,” said CPB Vice President of Radio Erika Pulley-Hayes. “As demonstrated by the recent hurricanes, public media provides essential information services to local communities. Expanding this work across platforms can help save lives.”
“Our goal is to give stations in severe weather-prone areas better tools to provide their audiences with potentially life-saving information over multiple communications channels in times of emergency,” said NPR Distribution Vice President Michael Beach. “Stations can let their audiences know about impending threats from severe weather, recommended evasive action, and locations of emergency shelters. These stations will help develop a process that can be used nationally across public radio.”
PRSS will provide participating stations with extensive engineering support and conduct quality-assurance tests. Participating stations will provide feedback about the installation and implementation of MetaPub and ways to improve usage and help their local communities.
The project builds on a pilot test of MetaPub in 2016. With a $66,000 grant from CPB, six public radio stations transmitted emergency alert test messages using text and graphics as part of the statewide “Great California ShakeOut” earthquake drill last October.
This capability can also be used to provide non-emergency information, including programming details.
To learn more about the PRSS’ MetaPub service, please visit http://prss.org/metapub.
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About the PRSS
The Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) is the distribution network through which thousands of hours of news, music, and specialized audience programming are delivered every year to public radio stations throughout the United States. Managed by NPR Distribution, the PRSS is a unique, cooperative enterprise. Each participating station is a stakeholder in the collective assets of, and services provided by, the satellite system. Interconnected stations own their own downlink and uplink equipment. The satellite transponder capacity as well as the national operating system equipment located in Washington are owned by the Public Radio Satellite Interconnection System Charitable Trust.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.
For more information, contact:
Letitia King, CPB
Erich Shea, NPR / PRSS
Posted: September 27, 2017