Public Broadcasters to Create Shared Digital Platform

Public television and radio are getting together to build a digital platform over which they can create and share content in different forms for a host of new media outlets.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will provide $1 million in government allocation over the next six months to plan and build a prototype of what is being dubbed the Public Media Platform, or PMP. NPR will administer the grant, and the effort will be spearheaded by noncom producers NPR, American Public Media, PBS, Public Radio International, and the Public Radio Exchange.

Producers outside those five, and outside public media, will also be able to share content on the platform, which will be used for educational curricula as well as news, playing to key charters of noncommercial media.

The platform will be based on an open interface that will allow for sharing and the creation of mobile applications, third-party sites, blogs, mash-ups and widgets.

An advisory council will meet regularly to inform the effort, with members drawn from key programmers including iconic station producers WGBH Boston and KQED San Francsico.

CPB Chairman Ernest Wilson signaled in an interview with B&C last fall that public media needed to find ways to leverage new technology to come together to fill what he saw as a growing void in public media. "We are going to be looking at journalism over the coming year, including the possibility of setting up various ways that local reporters can pool and share their news in public broadcasting."

The FCC and Federal Trade Commission are both in the midst of inquiries into the future of journalism and public media. The noncom announcement comes on the eve of what will likely be the FTC's last workshop on the issue June 15.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.