WKAR Public Media recently received a Congressionally Funded Community Project grant from the Department of Education to leverage ATSC 3.0 television technology to deliver educational content to underserved families in mid-Michigan. The project, titled Strengthening Equitable K-12 Access to Education to the Lansing Area Via Free Over the Air Service, will be implemented in collaboration with WKAR partners at Michigan State University and throughout the greater Lansing area.
The investment will cover the cost of WKAR’s operational efforts including distribution of devices to participants allowing receipt of educational content and resources using the NextGen technology, whether they have an internet connection or not; and evaluation.
“We are honored to receive this grant to support our community through NextGen TV technology,” said Shawn Turner, WKAR interim general manager and director of broadcasting. “The opportunities that are presented by ATSC 3.0 are vast and will help stations like WKAR super serve their communities through interactive content delivered via the broadcast signal. WKAR continues to research, innovate and explore new applications in NextGen TV as part of our NextGen Media Innovation Lab.”
Combining the capabilities of broadcast technology and high-speed internet, NextGen TV offers broadcasters a way to distribute highly customized, accessible and interactive content over the airwaves. The new standard integrates broadcast with broadband and features heightened mobility and a more efficient use of the broadcast spectrum. These attributes allow numerous opportunities for multidisciplinary research on customization and interactivity and a way for WKAR to better serve the local community.
“I’m proud to have secured this funding to help students in Lansing access critical online resources,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters. “It’s so important that we invest in the success of the next generation, and I’m thankful to WKAR and Michigan State University for their efforts to help bridge the digital divide for these students.”
“WKAR does excellent work reaching Michigan families with educational and informative news,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “This new federal investment will allow them to further expand their programming and deliver educational content to mid-Michigan families, whether or not they have internet access.”
“For decades, WKAR has been a leading example of the important role public media plays when it comes to early childhood education,” said U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin. “WKAR’s programming is something that families across mid-Michigan have come to trust and rely on, and this new grant will help the station continue to serve our children, including those who may not have internet access. I’m proud of WKAR’s work on behalf of Michigan families and pleased to see their team put this well-deserved funding to such good use.”
WKAR continues testing and exploring a wide range of potential applications of the technology. More details regarding the work to support K-12 education in the Lansing area through NextGen TV and the CFCP grant will be available in the coming months.