Alaska’s Public Media Pt. 1: It’s Not Just TV or Radio Anymore

by Mike Martz on April 19, 2013

The ever changing, never the same as yesterday, so called “digital revolution” has spawned an astounding number of constantly evolving technologies that have unleashed a tsunami of content on an ever expanding array of media formats and platforms.

In the “old days” TV was just TV and radio was just radio…and that’s about all there was to it.  Not so today.  Take Alaska public media, for example.  In the “old days”, there were 4 public TV stations in the state.  One each in Anchorage, KAKM-TV , Fairbanks, KUAC-TV, Juneau, KTOO-TV, and Bethel, KYUK-TV.  Each offered a single stream of programming, essentially the PBS national program schedule with some local programs sprinkled throughout.

Now, in the digital world, there are still only 4 public TV stations but each of them is able to offer as many as 4 separate streams of high definition television programming in their communities.  In some locations like Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, some or all of this programming is also available over the Internet throught these stations’ websites.  Mobile applications are coming to the more urban areas of the state that allow viewers to carry and access their media almost anywhere.

The same in true for Alaska’s public radio station.  In the “old days” a radio station put out one program stream via either an AM or FM transmitter.  Radio stations still transmit their signals this “old fashioned” way but they also are able to stream their programming over the Internet through their websites, making their programming available virtually anywhere in the world.   A variety mobile applications now allow listeners to access radio programming wherever they are whenever they want it.

Social media like Facebook, Twitter and host of other on line sharing sites, allow viewers and listeners to interact with public media content providers in new ways making public media more and more interactive and interconnected and more personal.

It’s an amazing and exciting time for media in general and for public media in particular as we work hard to take full advantage of these digital technologies to create a virtual town square for our viewers and listeners where two way interaction is more and more possible and media becomes more and more personal.

Next time in Part 2, a look at the Alaska Public Television landscape.







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