TPT NOW Fills Multilingual Health & Safety Information Gaps

By Cait Beroza |

To be healthy, safe, and ready for emergencies, people need to know what to do when there is a disaster. Information during an emergency from a trustworthy source is essential especially in increasingly diverse communities. For Minnesotans served by Twin Cities PBS (TPT), educational and emergency health and safety information is broadcast and streamed on TPT NOW. The regional channel is the nation’s first 24/7 health, safety, and emergency response communications resource delivering real-time alerts in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali languages. TPT NOW exemplifies public media’s vital community safety role.

How TPT NOW Works and Its Impact

TPT NOW Talent Collage

TPT NOW Linguists, Photo Credit: TPT NOW

TPT NOW partners with local and state government, hospitals, non-profits, foundations, cultural leaders, and a hub of community media partners to develop and distribute readiness information on broadcast, digital, and social media platforms. Linguists shape messages by providing cultural context, and a targeted distribution plan helps increase the likelihood that diverse audiences will receive and follow health and public safety alerts.

The TPT NOW 24/7 broadcast channel reaches one-million households in the Twin Cities region and extends its impact through social media including a partnership with, reaching over 857,000 unique households across Minnesota. Multilingual content and engagement can be accessed through TPT NOW Facebook and YouTube channels.

TPT NOW boosts community resiliency with health, safety, weather, traffic, and emergency content for diverse audiences. It was central to Minnesota’s efforts to disseminate timely information throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and response to civil unrest following George Floyd’s murder. TPT NOW was the only media outlet in the state’s Emergency Operations Center during these events, supporting public information in up to eight languages. TPT NOW also partnered with FBI Minneapolis and cultural community leaders to raise public awareness and encourage reporting of hate crimes affecting Black, Hmong, Latine, and Somali communities. The result was a 32 percent increase in hate crime reporting to the FBI across Minnesota during the first three months of 2022.

For the 21st consecutive year, PBS and its member stations, including TPT, have been named the most trusted media organizations in the country.

By extending public media’s trusted brand to government agencies to improve routine and emergency public health and safety information practices to more diverse communities, TPT NOW helps increase preparedness and resiliency throughout the state.

Why TPT NOW is Critical

Reaching underserved communities, including English Language and/or Low Literacy Learners, is an important part of public media’s public service mission. If diverse populations are unable to access vital information in a language they can understand, the consequences can be life-threatening. TPT NOW improves public health and safety by working with government agencies and cultural communities to reduce information gaps, so more people are informed before, during, and after an emergency strikes. It also helps promote fact-based information and builds trust between cultural communities and government entities.

Multilingual Emergency Alerts Photo Credit: TPT NOW

Multilingual Emergency Alerts, Photo Credit: TPT NOW

How Health and Safety Initiatives and CPB Funding Paved the Way for and Supports TPT NOW

In 2012-2015, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and in partnership with ECHO Minnesota, Digital Alert System, government agencies, and cultural community leaders, TPT successfully developed and tested real-time emergency alerting in four languages, paving the way for the launch of TPT NOW. Its work has been recognized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

TPT, the provider of TPT NOW, receives federal funding from CPB, and is dependent on a robust Interconnection System, public media’s federally supported distribution and emergency communications network.

The Future of TPT NOW

Photo Credit: TPT NOW

TPT’s goal is to build TPT NOW into a sustained part of Minnesota’s preparedness and emergency response communications system and expand multilingual preparedness and alerting capacity in other states across the country.

In the face of unpredictable weather events, emerging health challenges, and other public safety concerns, the importance of TPT NOW to support safer, better-informed communities continues to grow.

This service ensures diverse communities have access to trusted health and safety information. It is only made possible through public media and federal investments that support the distribution of essential services like TPT NOW.