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For immediate release
October 10, 2002
NPR: Jenny Lawhorn

NPR Supports FCC Selection of IBOC Technology

WASHINGTON, DC - NPR®, an award-winning nonprofit media company that produces, acquires and distributes programming to more than 709 radio stations nationwide, applauds the selection today of in-band, on-channel (IBOC) digital radio technology by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Public radio broadcasters have long been advocates of terrestrial digital radio, not only because of its promise of greater audio fidelity and signal robustness, but more importantly because of the new service opportunities it promises.

The radio broadcast industry stands at the dawn of the digital radio transition. NPR and its member stations are pleased that the Commission appears to be fully examining the opportunities for new program services that the IBOC FM technology can provide, such as assisted-living services (radio reading services for the print impaired and radio captioning), public safety services (weather alerts, traffic safety and national security notifications), foreign language programming and audio-on-demand.

To this end, NPR is working to establish a pilot project that would enable public radio stations and manufacturers to observe and evaluate the potential for multi-channel digital broadcasting at local stations.

Ken Stern, executive vice president for NPR stated, "NPR supports the FCC's decision today to move forward with the IBOC digital radio technology. We recognize the potential for better sound quality, and we are particularly pleased that the FCC Commissioners Martin, Abernathy and Copps took note of the potential for multiple audio streams via digital radio. The possibility of broadcasting more content within existing spectrum is a great opportunity for public radio to serve more of the American public."

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.