Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies


Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Anthony Ferri, Chair

Second Committee Member

Ardyth Sohn

Third Committee Member

Stephen Bates

Graduate Faculty Representative

Robert Parker

Number of Pages



Radio broadcasting implements digital multicasting in the United States with the adoption of HD Radio from iBiquity. Hybrid digital radio multicasts can upgrade either AM or FM facilities, and stations adopt the technology without loosing traditional analogue broadcasts. Broadcasting with digital technology creates additional channels of information, extending limitations of the electromagnetic spectrum. Scholarly research about hybrid digital technology considers motivations for adoption by stations but has not focused on content of existing multicasts. This study examines noncommercial educational radio multicasts for characteristics of service in the public interest.

Discourse characteristics find a mix of sounds that include both speech and music. There are generally multiple voices participating within 15 minutes of multicast content. The mix within a segment offers more than one kind of material, this and offering multiple voices in a segment are markers for public service. The mix of female, male, and other voices present in the sample advances demographic diversity. Two diversity characteristics, social role and language, indicate areas where content is usual presented by an adult speaking English. Demographic diversity scarcity offers areas of potential development for multicast service.

Normative information about a society can improve understanding of how individuals participate in the public sphere during a period of current converged, mobile, and digital media use. This study incorporates concepts of ritual media use that James W. Carey introduces in Communication as Culture. The exploration of public interest standards with the ritual media use model allows for discussion about created communities not bound by physical and geographic limitations.

This examines radio’s hybrid digital multicasts as part of the public airwaves legislated through the 1934 Communications Act (1934, 1952, 1996) to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. Four perspectives clarify the meaning of public interest standards in the United States. These perspectives are democratic discourse, legislative history, administrative law, and judicial review. Informed with normative theory and a ritual media model, this content analysis of hybrid digital multicasts contributes to our understanding of media environments, transitions in media, public discourse, and democratic governance in the United States.


Content analysis; Digital audio broadcasting; Hybrid digital multicasts; Public interest; Public interest standard; Radio; Radio programs


Communication | Communication Technology and New Media | Journalism Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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