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NPR Labs Is Not Shutting Down

Gulf States project set to start consumer testing

NPR Labs is alive and well.

There’s no truth to a rumor going around a public radio Listserv the group is being shut down due to funding problems, a spokesman told Radio World.

The technical group within NPR is in the middle of several projects; one of those is the Department of Homeland Security alerting project for the deaf and hard-of hearing. The testing, funded by FEMA and managed by DHS, involves development of an accessible FM RDS receiver to be used in an emergency alerting demonstration program in the Gulf Coast region.

The work involves testing broadcast emergency texts with some 250 deaf and/or hard-of-hearing volunteers through 26 public stations in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The spokesman tells RW that NPR Labs is set to begin testing with the volunteers on this project. One engineer, Sam Brown, has driven some 1,000 miles, making sure all the equipment is ready, according to NPR Labs.

NPR Labs is also working with the NRSC on studies to determine compatibility of FM single-sideband transmissions and a study on AM modulation-dependent carrier level transmissions. It is also updating its HD Radio power calculator.

Rich Rarey was recently promoted to director of NPR Labs, following the retirement of Mike Starling. John Kean is senior technologist, Alice Goldfarb is technical researcher and Paul Littleton is technical research assistant for the Labs. Dr. Ellyn Sheffield is a consulting partner.

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