An Update on the PRSS from Mike Beach

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The following is a quarterly address to the system from NPR Distribution Vice President Mike Beach.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017 

Greetings all

This is the first of a series of quarterly letters I'll be sending to the system. I know we communicate with you through a variety of means, but I'd like to have one avenue where I can share with you some of the things we're working on and thinking about. I think the more transparency we can provide you into our processes and intentions, the more you'll understand and appreciate the work all of us are doing.

When I look back on last year, I'm struck by how much we accomplished across multiple teams. Here are just a few headlines of our successes in 2016.

  • Maintained an average reliability rate of 99.99% for live transmissions
  • Received and personally handled more than 2,000 calls to the PRSS Help Desk
  • Made nine upgrades to ContentDepot, aimed at improving its operability, efficiency and security
  • Transmitted approximately 75,000 live episodes, 24,000 file-based episodes, 79,000 hours of live streams, and 13,000 hours of file-based programs
  • Worked to provide and achieve consistent broadcast loudness levels, with rates of compliance with the PRSS standard rising 41 percent for live and 10 percent for file-based programs
  • Developed and released a new, free loudness software application on
  • Created and introduced MetaPub, the proprietary new system for enhancing public radio content with metadata
  • Kicked off a MetaPub pilot program helping 20+ stations incorporate metadata into their broadcasts

There were also successes with achieving unity gain across the network, facilitating CPB board approval of our funding request, working with six stations to provide emergency metadata alerts during the Great California ShakeOut, and initiating the Portal Sponsorship initiative.

So I consider last year to be a success, and I hope you felt that the work we did was a benefit to your operation and to the system as a whole.

All that said, we are not resting on our laurels, and I feel like we've already kicked off 2017 with a bang. So far this year, we have racked up several solid accomplishments:

  • Concluded the MetaPub station pilot program with 20 stations and posted a MetaPub Station Kit at
  • Began the NPR Satellite Services emergency BACKUP service
  • Implemented international internet streaming delivery and provided 24/7 NOC support for the Presidential Inauguration
  • Delivered new security and metadata features for ContentDepot

There's more I could list, but I think this gives a pretty good indication of our intent to provide our interconnected stations and producers with world class service all day every day. That may sound like a cliché to some, but it's a mantra that we here truly believe in.

My thanks to you and your teams for your dedication to public broadcasting. I look forward to speaking with you again, and you should always feel encouraged to get in touch with me with any comments or questions.


Posted: February 28, 2017