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You are here: Home FSF News NPR station WBUR Boston adds support for free audio standard

NPR station WBUR Boston adds support for free audio standard

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on May 14, 2008 01:53 PM
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- May 14, 2008 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has marked a milestone in their campaign with the announcement that National Public Radio (NPR) news station WBUR Boston has begun worldwide webcasting in the free audio format Ogg Vorbis.

Robin Lubbock, WBUR's director of new media said, "WBUR has a great schedule of news and information programming 24 hours a day, which we are very happy to make available to Ogg Vorbis listeners. It's exciting to work with the Free Software Foundation to give a new audience the chance to listen to WBUR's award winning programing as well as the wonderful programs from NPR and the BBC Worldservice that you can find daily on WBUR."

Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF, responded to the news stating, "I would like to thank WBUR general manager Paul La Camera, for so graciously listening to the case we made for free audio standards. The leadership displayed by WBUR in providing a free audio format will help to bring this issue the national attention and recognition it deserves, and will serve as a vital step in educating the public and other publicly funded radio stations. We urge NPR listeners to stream WBUR's Ogg Vorbis stream, and to acknowledge and thank WBUR for this work when making your contributions."

Unlike MP3, Windows Media, Real Audio or Quicktime, Ogg Vorbis is not restricted by software patents. The threat of these patent lawsuits chills independent development of multimedia software tools. The use of unencumbered formats like Ogg Vorbis is necessary for providing access to publicly funded news and other programming without dependence on the patent-holding corporations and proprietary software vendors.

Patent-encumbered formats owned by companies like Microsoft and Apple require listeners to use non-free software; controlled by them, not by the users. They design their software to restrict the users and spy on their activities. If users choose Ogg Vorbis for audio and Ogg Theora for video, they can use many different media players, including free software designed to respect their freedom and privacy.

Joshua Gay, FSF campaigns manager explained the campaign, "[i]t is time for our publicly funded broadcasters to take seriously the impact their decisions to webcast only in proprietary formats have on the future of free unencumbered audio standards. Today, WBUR has made an important commitment to free standards, and we are now working with other publicly funded broadcasters to follow their example".

The WBUR stream is available at, or you can go directly to

Resources and a mailing list to track related events can be found at Technical details about the Ogg Vorbis format are at

About The Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media Contacts

Joshua Gay
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation


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