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Media: Where Does That Public Radio Coverage Come From, Anyway?

Flckr-radio-020210The announcement that This American Life is changing distributors is a good opportunity to remind that the public radio education coverage that you and I listen to all the time comes from a bunch of different places even though most of us get it from just one location (a radio station or streaming online).  

Most of us don't really care about what goes on behind the scenes -- we just want good coverage -- but it's useful to know that what you're hearing on that clock radio by your bed or in the kitchen or in the car (or boombox!) comes from a variety of sources and is distributed by a variety of methods. Image via Flickr.

So, for example, Washington DC's WAMU radio is the delivery point for news stories that are produced by all sorts of folks including local stations like WAMU, national stations like NPR's flagship shows Morning Education and All Things Considered.

These are distributed to WAMU by a handful of organizations including American Public Media and PRI to stations who want them.  Some of these distributors also produce shows like Marketplace (APM), which is ramping up its education coverage, and American Radioworks, which already produces a bunch of education covarage.

To make matters slightly more complicated, some shows (like This American Life) share their "broadcast" show one way (through a distributor like PRI) and produce their online digital content (extras, podcasts, etc.) another way (independently).  And some newsteams divide their education teams so that one set of folks are mostly doing broadcast radio and another set of folks are doing online/digital. 


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