OPB Defies Trend Toward Less News and Public Affairs

If you are a media watcher today, you no doubt have noticed that news coverage is declining. Some TV and radio stations are turning to entertainment programs.  And, newspapers are getting smaller – both in size and space devoted to print.

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) is going in a different direction. It has formed Eco-Trope, a blog to provide more coverage of environmental and natural resource issues. It will add a reporter/news bureau in Medford to cover developments in Southern Oregon. It is working to establish a Eugene news bureau, as well. And, contrary to some other media outlets, it has continued to emphasize coverage of politics and public policy from the state's Capitol in Salem.

Capitol reporter Chris Lehman is producing a blog, Capitol Currents, which he uses to discuss his experiences reporting on state politics, posting bits of information that don't make into his over-the-air reports.

Consider these additional developments:

  • Using a Meyer Memorial Trust grant, OPB has been awarded construction permits for seven new radio stations in Burns, Hines, Enterprise, Riley, Hood River, The Dalles and John Day. Constructing these stations will provide new or enhanced (some are upgrades from a translator to a transmitter) service to all of these rural Oregon communities.
  • Enhancements and extensions of service in Central Oregon also were the focus for replacing the Bend FM transmitter, which involved an increase in antennae height and power. The improvements also were funded by the Meyer Memorial grant.
  • OPB purchased a commercial station in Eugene, which allows the enterprise to provide a much improved signal in a city that has lacked a full-time news/information format public radio station.
  • Using a Collins Foundation grant, OPB recently purchased a new station in Astoria to provide service down the North Coast to Cannon Beach.

The bottom line is that, as traditional commercial media are facing cuts that restrict their ability to cover news and public affairs, OPB is continuing its expansion in the same areas, both in geography and content-specific areas of interest to Oregonians.

[Note: OPB is a CFM state lobbying client.]