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Internet Radio Network To Carry MSU Programs
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Universities in five southern states are joining forces to offer a national Internet based radio network for agricultural, food, human and natural resource information.
RadioSource.net is a virtual network coordinated through the Educational Media and Services unit at the University of Florida. Mississippi State University is involved with the project, along with Texas A&M, the University of Georgia and the University of Kentucky. Funding for the project comes in part from an Agricultural Distance Education Consortium grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Telecommunications Program..
The MSU Extension Service already offers some such information in audio files on its Internet site. It will be part of RadioSource.net once it is operational.
Tyson Gair, senior editor-broadcast with MSU's Office of Agricultural Communications, provides two agricultural-related, educational programs online. Since October 1999, he has offered "Southern Gardening" and "Better Farming" radio programs on the Internet.
"We already have the information up and we're always looking for ways to make other information available as well," Gair said. "We're looking forward to being a part of this virtual radio network to share Mississippi State's resources with a broader audience."
Kathy Sohar, RadioSource.net project director, works with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Communication Services at the University of Florida. She said the collaborative effort should improve the efficiency of land-grant universities to promote their research, extension and education efforts to wider and more diverse audiences. Organizers hope to launch the site this summer.
"RadioSource.net is a portal site that enables the user to access and search the combined programming of the member universities," Sohar said. "We have put a great deal of effort into making the site as user-friendly and informative as possible."
Sohar said the virtual network intends to target three groups. The network should serve radio stations looking for downloadable files to rebroadcast, consumers across the region and even worldwide, and Extension Service agents looking for resources to better serve their clients.
A web-based radio network was seen as an ideal way to accomplish these goals. Studies have shown radio to be an effective means of communication with farmers, and having a web- based radio network expands on the benefits. Web-cast information is available on demand, offers archived past broadcasts and is accessible anywhere in the world.
"We're very excited about this project," Sohar said. "We think it's really going to improve land-grant universities' visibility and the community's access to the land-grant's information."
Topics to be available include agribusiness, agronomy, animal science, nutrition, food science, plant pathology, microbiology, human ecology, rural sociology, veterinary medicine, gardening and more.
Sohar said the network will not replace the existing efforts of member institutions, but will bring the states' resources under one umbrella. The information will be offered as both streaming and downloadable files.
The Office of Agricultural Communications' online "Better Farming" programs can be found at http://ext.msstate.edu/ppe/news/radiotv/radio.html and "Southern Gardening" radio programs at http://ext.msstate.edu/ppe/news/radiotv/garden.html.