Thursday, February 8, 2018


One of public radio’s most influential, but least known, committees is looking for new people and innovative ideas. 

It is NPR’s Distribution/Interconnection (“D/I”) Committee, the group that provides oversight of the Public Radio Satellite Service (PRSS) and Content Depot, helps establish interconnection rates and policies and keeps NPR Distribution up-to-date on market trends and new technology.

The D/I Committee began in the late 1970s when NPR was one of the first content distributors to embrace satellite delivery of programming. NPR administers the system on behalf of member stations and other noncommercial stations that pay a basic fee.

Locations of PRSS downlinks
PRSS now serves more than 400 downlinks. Interconnected stations own their own downlink and uplink equipment, provided as part PRSS’ interconnection fee. More than 200 program producers and distributors currently use PRSS including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Until about ten years ago PRSS was the only high-quality audio distribution system available for public radio stations and producers. In the early years PRSS used analog transmission and a teletype-based information channel called “the DACS.” It was clunky but it generally worked.

More recently PRSS evolved into digital transmission. It also began facing competition from online file-transfer services such as PRX’s Sub-Auto system. PRSS countered with Content Depot.

Since PRX has come on the scene, PRSS/Content Depot has become more entrepreneurial and client-friendly, catering to independent producers, program syndicators and national, state, and local organizations.

Most of the members on D/I Committee are also members of NPR’s Board of Directors. NPR widened the participants in 1990s to include independent producers and representatives of new digital services. So here is the deal:

NPR is looking for applications from people interested in being non-NPR Board members on the D/I Committee. The Committee meets during the meetings of the NPR Board, usually four times a year -- generally in February, May, September, and November. There is no compensation for members but all expenses are covered.

Folks interested in applying or nominating someone else to be on the Committee should apply no later than February 20, 2018. NPR asks applicants to provide a cover letter saying why they want to serve, plus a resume. These should be Word or pdf documents. Email the information to Twanna Clark, Manager, Board Relations, at Please put "Non-Board D/I Committee Member Nominations" in the subject line of the email. More information is available here.


It takes a long ruler to measure Michigan Radio’s impact on listeners in the State of Michigan. 

From the flagship station, WUOM in Ann Arbor, Michigan Radio is a major factor in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Flint plus all points in between.

According to Nielsen Audio, Michigan Radio had 294,300 estimated weekly listeners in Diary markets in the Fall 2017 ratings. 

In metro Detroit, where listening is tabulated using PPM methodology, in Fall 2017 WUOM had 182,000 estimated weekly listeners. 

Though combining Diary and PPM data is unofficial, Michigan Radio reaches an estimated 476,000 weekly listeners.

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