Mar 20, 2012

NPR plans to develop geotargeting app for Facebook

NPR is applying for a Knight News Challenge grant of $340,000 to develop an app, GeoGraph, based on its successful experiment last year that drove visitors to Seattle's via geotargeted posts on the NPR Facebook page.

"The project could have an impact on how other media companies — and possibly brands — distribute content through Facebook," noted the Inside Facebook website.

In its News Challenge application, NPR said, "We will enable publishing through specific pages on Facebook, starting with NPR’s 2.3 million 'likers' in partnership with our 268 member stations. We will build our GeoGraph tool using Facebook’s Graph API. We worked with Facebook during a proof of concept; they committed to assisting us with it moving forward." After launching with the grant from Knight, "member fees will provide ongoing funding," it said. They anticipate the project will take seven months.

UPDATE: PBS also has been geotargeting Facebook posts for member stations, reports Kevin Dando, director of digital marketing and communications for the network. "In any given week, we probably have 10 to 20 geotargeted posts on the PBS Facebook page," Dando told Current. More than 100 stations have been geotargeted on the site over nearly two years, he said. "Depending on the size of the geotarget (sometimes it’s an entire state, sometimes it’s just a few small cities), the traffic from the PBS Facebook page can range from hundreds of people on up to tens of thousands." Stations may learn more here.

Other public media applicants to the Knight News Challenge include:

Public Radio International, for the iGeoQuiz, a mobile and online game based on the GeoQuiz segment from PRI’s global news program, The World;

Audiofiles from WBUR in Boston, which describes itself as "a 'purpose-built network' constructed upon Facebook and Twitter," to enable sharing of audio stories;, which would initially piggyback on the Boston station's CommonHealth blog to provide coverage of science while connecting scientists and the public;

The Question Bureau, an effort to link the question-and-answer community, and NPR journalists.

NewsHour offers more international coverage than rest of TV newscasts, Pew report finds

The State of the News Media 2012, the annual report from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, was released Monday (March 19). Among the data of interest to pubmedia stakeholders: A look at how community news is faring ("The future for local and regional sites probably will see increased use of news networks and partnerships — with public radio, local television, even local daily newspapers that may have resisted such alliances just a few years ago"); a section on Native American media ("Mark Trahant, a former president of the Native American Journalists Association, described the state of Native media as 'a narrative of expansion'"), and an in-depth look at the PBS NewsHour's ratings, staffing, financial support and content ("The PBS NewsHour differs in its agenda from other television news programs. The most striking difference is that the NewsHour offered more than a third more coverage of international news proportionally in 2011 than the rest of the media over all, including all other forms of television news"). Here's a press release that details major findings, including that some 27 percent of Americans now get their news on mobile devices, and for most of them, this is increasing their news consumption.

NPR offering new online system to map analog, digital radio and TV signal coverage

NPR Labs has launched an interactive online mapping system, reports Radio World, to give pubradio and pubTV stations a better idea of analog and digital coverage of their signal in cars, on mobile handheld devices and indoor receivers. NPR Labs Senior Technology John Kean told the site that the system allows overlays to compare analog and HD radio at original and higher FM power levels. The DTV coverage, especially for  mobile devices, will predict how well viewers can receive full service and translator systems. The ATSC-M/H coverage was developed with assistance from the Open Mobile Video Coalition. “The demographic data is ideal for gauging and comparing coverage for actual populations, which planners and underwriters may use,” Kean said. The system is free and works best with online browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer 9 and above.

FCC announces plan to resolve backlog of FM translator apps

The FCC took another step yesterday toward licensing more low-power FM stations, which advocates for community radio have been awaiting for years. The commission will begin to work through a backlog of thousands of applications for FM translators under a new system that it adopted yesterday, a modified version of a proposal that it floated last summer (Current, July 25, 2011). The translator applications must be processed first because some could conflict with potential LPFM stations.

The FCC will toss out FM translator applications in larger markets to make way for LPFMs in those areas while continuing to process applications for translators that would serve less-populous areas. The commission will also limit applicants to a maximum of 50 translator applications nationwide, in an effort to prevent the kind of speculative filing seen in previous application windows (Current, March 28, 2005). The FCC also asked for comment on a variety of measures affecting noncommercial radio, including some that would give a boost to Native American groups.

The Prometheus Radio Project, an advocacy and support group for low-power broadcasters, welcomed the FCC’s action. “We are pleased that the FCC has taken such a careful approach to preserving channels for community radio,” said Policy Director Brandy Doyle in a press release. “And we’re particularly glad that the FCC has taken our recommendation to ensure that the frequencies set aside are in populated areas, where they are needed.” The FCC could begin accepting applications for new LPFMs by the fall, according to Prometheus.

The FCC’s own press release is here, and the full texts of its actions are also available (Fourth Report and Order and Third Order on Reconsideration; Fifth Report and Order, Fourth NPRM and Fourth Order on Recon).