MPT launches free audio content service

Maryland Public Television (MPT) announced Monday that it is making audio files of its public affairs programs available free of charge for use by commercial and public radio stations in the region under a new program called MPT Regional Radio Service (RRS).

Currently, two commercial radio stations and two public radio stations have subscribed to the new service, and up to 44 other stations in Maryland and contiguous states also have access to RRS programming. The program is designed to provide meaningful content for radio stations to complement their current affairs programming.

RRS is a free service under which radio stations in any market can use audio files from the weekly public affairs programs of MPT Direct Connection and State Circle. MPT will also make available to RRS customers the audio of other programs it produces, such as political candidates’ debates, Ways to Pay for College’s annual public affairs production, and town hall meetings broadcast on the network of state public television.

The first RRS subscribers were WHFC-FM, which, under then-General Manager Gary Helton, pioneered the use of MPT content to deliver public affairs programming to its Bel-area listeners. Air and Harford County; WHCP-FM, a Cambridge public radio station run by chief executive Judy Diaz; WHGM-AM, a commercial station in Havre de Grace run by general manager Steve Clendenin; and WNAV-AM, also a commercial station, which serves listeners from its base in Annapolis and is run by Christopher Roth.

WHGM’s Clendenin makes MPT content available to its subscribers who are members of the Maryland News Network (MNN), the only statewide network that delivers news, sports and public affairs programming to stations Free State Radio. MNN currently has 44 affiliates operating in 28 distinct markets in Maryland, southern Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and West Virginia. Clendenin is president and CEO of MNN.

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