Rumor: Media to use drones to collect information

Hollywood gossip site TMZ is seeking a drone to track celebrities, and a National Public Radio affiliate in Missouri has launched a drone program to collect media.


CONFIRMED: NPR station launches ‘Drone Program’

            Missouri NPR affiliate KBIA told Politico that its drone program is off the ground, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the University of Missouri's Information Technology Committee. KBIA plans to use the funds for research of the construction and modification of “multiple drones for the specific purposes of collecting media,” said Scott Pham, KBIA’s content director.

            According to a report in the University of Missouri student newspaper, The Maneater, the station plans to restrict its drone use to rural and agricultural stories to comply with Federal Aviation Association regulations. The Modernization and Reform Act, signed into law Feb. 14, requires the FAA to fully integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into national airspace by September 2015. (Read about those rules here.)

UNCONFIRMED: TMZ seeks drone from FAA

            In the wake of a San Francisco Chronicle report about a nationwide push to step up domestic use of drones, TMZ has denied filing an application for an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) with the FAA, calling it a “bogus report.”

            FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor tells Politico that TMZ “never requested or inquired about an authorization” to fly a drone.

Eyes in the sky

            Earlier this year, the FAA released a list of 63 authorized drone launch sites, according to a US News report.

            And that was before the Chronicle report came out in November stating that the FAA had been bombarded with applications from a variety of agencies, from police departments to private corporations.


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