I'm in Anchorage, having served on a grant review panel and made a presentation about on-demand media to KAKM/KSKA and just moved for the weekend to a hotel with an Internet connection that actually works, hence the lack of postings this week. While not far enough north to be the land of the midnight sun, it's definitely the land of 24-hour light. I was told that at least some golf courses here are open 24 hours a day.
Among the other interesting things I heard was that all 26 public radio stations in Alaska, many of them AM, have now been funded (not the task of this panel) to install HD Radio transmitters. Congratulations to the stations of the energetic CoastAlaska consortium (serves the southeast panhandle) which already have theirs on the air. KTOO in Juneau is even multicasting.
If you remember the TV series, Northern Exposure, you recall at least a taste of the roll of public radio in Alaska. Here in bustling Anchorage it's the pretty typical role you'll find in the lower 48 and Hawaii, but in rest of the state it serves an amazingly diverse set of needs and interests. Some of the communities are almost exclusively Alaska native substistence economies (meaning, there is no other economy and you spend months of the year fishing or hunting for food to last your family and some elders through the long winter). Some of the stations serve as a substitute telephone for people out in the bush with none. Sunday, as I pack up my tablet PC, two cell phones, two digital cameras, GPS and PDA to head back home, I'll think back on a world mostly without that technology (except now soon with HD Radio) where public radio permits a much different lifestyle to go on. -- Dennis