Category Archives: Media _Coverage


Stories about FPBS that appear in major media outlets

Get emergency info on free Florida Storms mobile phone app


GAINESVILLE, Fla.  – Florida residents and visitors have a new resource to help them prepare for destructive storms and other emergencies.  The Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) today launched Florida Storms , a free, mobile weather application that offers a simple way to stay informed of potential weather and other hazards, backed by real-time credible information from the nearest Florida public radio station.


Using a combination of state of the art weather tracking and forecasting technology and the expertise of staff meteorologists at WUFT-FM, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications public radio station and host to the FPREN StormCenter, Florida Storms helps deftly navigate weather-related emergencies, from preparedness checklists to storm updates to evacuation routes.

“Millions of people visit this state every year, and millions more have moved here since a hurricane last struck our shores ten years ago,” said Jeff Huffman, Florida Public Radio Meteorologist at UF. “Think about this: Twitter, YouTube, and even the iPhone weren’t around when Wilma made landfall back in 2005. To say there will be a lot of Floridians experiencing a potential disaster for the first time on social media or the smartphone is an understatement. We hope Florida Storms will help them cut through the noise and come to rely on a service that’s been proven for decades to be there in time of need, which is the backbone of public radio.”

FPREN communicates emergency information statewide through a seamless system of free over-the-air FM radio stations. The new mobile app extends the reach of the Florida station network with reliable and immediate accessibility on weather developments.

“The launch of the Florida Storms app is the natural next step into mobile distribution of the critical lifesaving information FPREN provides,” said Randy Wright, executive director of WUFT-FM and the Division of Multimedia Properties at UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. “The features of the app are groundbreaking and it’s very user-friendly.  Combine that with it being available at no charge equals what we believe will be an essential mobile tool for Floridians and visitors to our state.”

The iOS app, now available free in the Apple App Store, was developed in collaboration with mobile engagement provider Mobiquity. An Android version will be ready early this fall.

Among the features of the new app are:

  • Weather map: Clean and fast national radar with 1-hour past loop and future radar up to 48 hours, including current temperatures, wind speeds and lightning data
  • Radio streaming: Live stream of nearest FPREN partner station, with ability to customize based on desired location
  • News feed: Multiple feeds of real-time watch and warning information from various sources, with simultaneous advisory text and radar view
  • Emergency preparedness: Information for a weather disaster, including what to do before, during and after a storm
  • Push notifications: Customizable, from the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.

The app can be downloaded here:


Florida public radio stations joined forces with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to form FPREN in 2014. The FPREN Storm Center is operated by WUFT-FM at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications providing local 24/7 weather, data and storm updates to all stations in the network.

 FPREN stations collectively cover 99 percent of the state and are locally staffed and equipped to stay on the air even during times of massive power outages in order to deliver important information to local audiences before, during and after an emergency. In the event of a weather incident, the FPREN stations will continue to provide recovery information for as long as necessary. Working in partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management and local Emergency Operations Centers, listeners and users of the mobile app can be assured of having access to the most up to date information.

About FPBS

FPBS is a non-profit association of public radio and public television stations in the state of Florida. As the largest broadcasting network in the state, we reach more than 99 percent of Florida’s population through traditional broadcast, online tools and community engagement. FPBS stations are a state partner in education, emergency management and public affairs. Through our collaborative efforts, we identify and implement regional and statewide projects that enhance and sustain community initiatives that serve the citizens of Florida. For more information, visit the FPBS website at


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FPBS Urges Legislature To Fund LearningMedia / June 11, 2015

TALLAHASSEE – FPBS, the Association of Public Media in Florida, is urging the legislature to provide $1 million in funding for the continued of support the newly-enhanced Florida PBS LearningMedia.  Last year’s state funding allowed Florida to be the first in the nation to create an indexed and alignment of the extensive resources of PBS, including Sesame Street, Nova, and Ken Burns documentaries, to all Florida education standards.  These trusted and popular educational assets are organized and available online to everyone at

“We believe that all children in Florida regardless of where they go to school—public, private, homeschool, daycare—deserve access to this free and innovative educational resource developed to support curriculum-based teaching and learning from pre-K through college,” said FPBS Executive Director Janyth Righter.

After launching just last December, this repository of multi-platform resources houses more than 100,000 digital classroom-ready assets that are being used by more than 64,000 Florida teachers and parents.

“Florida PBS stations have always been partners in education. The customized Florida PBS LearningMedia was launched just in time to assist teachers and parents in finding resources aligned to Florida’s newly implemented educational standards. The service also helps schools meet the State’s mandate that half of classroom instruction be through digital resources by this Fall,” said Righter.

“We believe that learning takes place not only in the classroom, but on a park bench, in a car-seat, and with mentors helping students improve their academic performance,” said Righter.  Florida PBS LearningMedia provides teachers, parents, public, charter, private and home schools an easy to use, trusted tool at their fingertips.  “When the State is asking parents to get more involved in their children’s education, providing access to a resource like the LearningMedia boosts that engagement,” said Righter.

To read the entire article, go to:

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PBS Digital Learning Resources Are Customized For Florida Schools

Posted by Mary Riker 12/11/14  WSRE-TV

Pensacola, FL, December 10, 2014—Florida’s teachers, students and lifelong learners now have access to thousands of customized digital learning resources at no cost through Florida PBS stations, including WSRE, with support from the Florida Legislature.

Florida Public Broadcasting System was awarded $1 million in the 2014-2015 state budget to customize more than 85,000 digital learning materials from the national PBS LearningMedia library to meet Florida state standards. The customization is complete, and now Florida PBS LearningMedia provides access to free educational materials which meet the specific needs of Florida’s K-16 educators and students.

This classroom-ready, curriculum-targeted, multi-platform digital resource is aligned to the state’s core standards for classroom instruction and student achievement. Florida PBS LearningMedia is available to all Floridians, and signup is free at

The national Public Broadcasting Service is recognized for quality television programming that educates and engages both children and adults. Beyond television broadcast, the PBS LearningMedia digital platform provides interactive curriculum-based content that impacts teacher effectiveness and drives student success in the classroom.

Florida is the first state in the nation where the Legislature has made an investment in the enriched PBS LearningMedia custom service which now offers a solution for Florida schools and school districts to help deepen learning and measure engagement through enhanced content, tools and analytics, and the option to manage and add content that meets the needs of local classroom instruction. The service includes educational materials from PBS programs like “NOVA,” “Frontline,” an array of PBS KIDS programs, and the Ken Burns Collection of documentaries.

An added benefit to local school districts is the analytics and reporting tools that track and measure student engagement, providing reports that Florida educators are required to produce. This reporting can allow for more teacher work hours dedicated to instruction with less time required for administrative tasks.

“Florida PBS LearningMedia offers a very wide range of trusted content that will inspire, stimulate and motivate students,” said Jill Hubbs, WSRE Educational Services director.  “Teachers will find literally thousands of educational resources at their fingertips for creating lessons and to enhance instruction, and they can be accessed instantly and at no cost.”

Hubbs said that approximately 1,500 teachers from the WSRE service area of Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties already have signed up and are using Florida PBS LearningMedia.

To view the complete article go to:

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Florida Legislature Cuts Funding For PBS LearningMedia


Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a state budget last week that did not include a renewal of $1 million in funding for the state’s customized PBS LearningMedia platform.

Florida’s Association of Public Media (FPBS), an alliance of the state’s 26 public broadcasters, introduced LearningMedia to the state in 2012. The digital platform gives students and teachers access to over 100,000 online resources, including elements of popular PBS programs such as Nova and Ken Burns’ films. The material is organized by grade, subject and Common Core education standards.

Florida has rejected national education standards in favor of its own standards, and FPBS began customizing its LearningMedia platform last year to reflect the change. The legislature provided $1 million to support that work. The newly customized system, launched in December 2014, has grown to reach some 64,000 users throughout the state.

An additional $1 million in funding in the coming fiscal year would have helped FPBS maintain resources aligned with state standards and customize the resources PBS adds to the service. But the Senate’s chief budget writer, Republican Don Gaetz, removed the project from the $78.7 billion budget.  The legislature did approve continued funding for equipment and operating costs among TV and radio stations.

FPBS will explore ways to continue tailoring LearningMedia to Florida’s educational standards, potentially with support from foundations. It has no plans to drop the service, but it may no longer be able to fit LearningMedia to state education standards. Educators might stop using the service if that work ends, said Michele Watson, FPBS’s director of education services.

Charging school districts, as Gaetz suggested, would have cost schools almost $3 million if every district paid separately for the service, and it would have limited access just to public school teachers, Watson said. PBS now offers the system to parents, educational nonprofits and home, charter and private schools as well as public schools in Florida.

Watson said she thinks the legislature rejected a second appropriation mainly because FPBS lacked enough time to demonstrate the importance of a customized LearningMedia as an educational tool.

“I think that we were just beginning to get a real momentum going, and our legislators maybe haven’t heard from some of their [school] districts,” added Janyth Righter, FPBS executive director. “That may be part of the reason it was cut despite growing numbers of users,” Righter said.

The lack of funding will be a big loss for teachers and students, according to Brian Lassiter, a fourth-grade teacher at Astoria Park Elementary in Tallahassee who was named 2015 Florida History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

“PBS LearningMedia has a lot of quality content, and you just want to have something you can trust,” said Lassiter, who has used the service extensively. “When you hear that something you’ve worked with and that benefits students not only in my classroom but across the state [is being cut], it’s disappointing.”

FPBS executives believe digital tools such as LearningMedia are particularly important as children increasingly learn online. A recent Florida mandate requires delivering half of classroom instruction through digital materials by the beginning of the 2015–2016 school year.

Go to to read the full story by Henry Schneider.

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Budget vetoes seen as less likely in Gov. Scott’s second year

Gov. Rick Scott says he doesn’t expect to come “anywhere close” to  last year’s record $615 million in budget vetoes as he wraps up his review  of the legislature’s new $70 billion spending plan.

Scott attributed his anticipated lighter touch with the veto pen to  legislators getting the message last year. The first-year governor was  intent on reducing state spending and curbing the age-old practice of  powerful legislators steering money back home.

It hasn’t completely worked. But legislators and lobbyists have done a better  job convincing him of the merits of some items, he said.

“One of the groups that did well coming back with more information this  year was public television stations,” Scott said. “I said, ‘Go  back and show us that there was a return on the money we are spending.’ And  they did.”

Go to The Palm Beach Post online to read the full story by John Kennedy, Staff Writer:


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Pain eases to Florida school budgets under House plan, but needy to suffer more cuts

TALLAHASSEE — A House panel approved a $1 billion boost in public school spending Wednesday, backing Gov. Rick Scott’s push to begin replenishing dollars for classrooms which suffered even deeper cuts last year.

The proposed, election-year increase looks certain to force sharp cuts in health and social service programs for the poor, elderly and disabled. The House plan would elevate student spending — now at its lowest level in six years — by $141 per-pupil, or just over two percent.

Go to the Palm Beach Post online to read the full story by John Kennedy, Staff Writer.

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Florida public broadcasters search for solutions to their funding crisis

At WUSF Public Media, they shut down a program to read periodicals for the blind, laid off two people and declined to replace two more.

At WEDU-Ch. 3, they’ve avoided fully replacing departing staffers and may drop programming from the Florida Channel.

Go to the Tampa Bay Times online to read the full story by Eric Deggans, Times TV/Media Critic:

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