WREM-FM launches with PRX in Canton, NY


It’s a new 2,600 watt station O&O’d by St. Lawrence University on 88.7 mHz, airing the new Public Radio Remix format 24/7. St. Lawrence U also O&Os North Country Public Radio (NCPR), an NPR affiliate on 89.5 FM also in Canton, as well as numerous translators throughout Upstate NY and Vermont.

Public Radio Remix is an experimental radio and internet stream featuring public radio stories, conversations, audio essays, talks, sounds and the work of young producers 24 hours a day. Remix is produced by Public Radio Exchange and airs on Sirius XM as a channel, along with only one full-time other station, KPBZ-FM Spokane, WA. The station is automated, so the main overhead is electricity and the streaming fee.

PRX is dubbed as an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. It’s also a growing social network and community of listeners, producers, and stations collaborating to reshape public radio. The mission is to create more opportunities for diverse programming of exceptional quality, interest, and importance to reach more listeners. Any radio station, any distributor, and any producer can add work to a PRX catalog of documentaries, series, commentaries, and features. There are thousands of pieces, on almost any topic. PRX staffers sift through the site every day, finding work that programmers can plug straight into their schedules.

Public radio enthusiasts, reviewers, producers, program decision-makers – can listen to the full-length stream of any piece. Station staff can grab an audition-only mp3 and take it to go. PRX takes care of all the rights and royalties. When stations want to air a piece, users just click “Buy this piece.” Stations get immediate access to download and air a broadcast-quality MP2, and PRX pays the producer a royalty.

“This has a different feel and content than traditional public radio,” Jackie Sautter, NCPR PD told North Country Now. “This gives people a chance to hear new work and a greater variety of work by younger producers. I think a lot of people who aren’t familiar with NCPR or don’t care for our format might enjoy this.”

Sautter said the station may look for underwriters and may also eventually introduce local content.

RBR-TVBR observation: Interesting to see an internet stream make it to a full-time analog station, rather than vice-versa. It happens, sure, but usually you would see a launch like this relegated to HD-2 or HD-3 channels. Debuting with an internet stream, seeing how it fares locally and then expanding with local programming is a low-risk and low-cast way to get on the air with limited funds. Looks like local listeners may end up submitting programming as well to the station. An interesting idea.