Radio Free Science: NSF's new Web-based stream offers science news

Science news is getting little play in cash-strapped newspapers, but the National Science Foundation has stepped into the breach with the launch of its new Web-based streaming radio station, Science360 Radio.

The new Science 360 Radio stream debuted Sept. 26 with free 24/7 programming dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math. It appears to be the first continuous round-the-clock Web-based radio programming stream operated by a federal agency, marking an innovate Gov 2.0 effort.

The programming includes more than 100 radio shows, including a daily show called "365 Days of Astronomy"; one-minute news broadcasts on earth, space or technology; and shows contributed by partners including NASA, the National Institutes of Health, Nature, Discovery, NPR, Scientific American, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Geographic and other academic, media and professional organizations.

Some of the programming also is available on-demand via podcasts on contributor websites. The Science360 radio stream also is available on free iPhone, iPad and Android applications.

“We saw that major newspapers and magazines were getting rid of their science coverage, so we saw an opportunity to provide science news,” said Bobbie Mixon, a spokesman for the NSF. “This is our way of helping to bridge the gap.”

The radio station is operated by the NSF's public affairs and communication office, and some of the programming is produced in-house, including the one-minute news updates, Mixon said.

Science360 Radio also carries public radio documentaries, such as "Rocket Girls and the Astro-nettes," "Race and the Space Race" and the "Engineers of the New Millennium" series, as well as audio programming of NSF news conferences and the NSF series "Profiles of Scientists and Engineers," which highlights young professionals on the job.

The radio stream is the latest addition to the NSF’s growing array of media products, including a Science360 news service and Science360's online knowledge library of videos, images and podcasts.

In addition, a previously released Science350 iPad application has been downloaded about 500,000 times, Mixon said. It is separate from the new iPad app for the radio stream, he added.

Listener numbers were not yet available for the new radio programming.





About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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