History Detectives tries tourist guide for cell phones

Originally published in Current, July 31, 2006
By Steve Behrens

If Oregon Public Broadcasting's prototype bears offspring, tourists will be able to call up brief History Detectives tours of various historical sites on their Sprint cell phones. For now, Sprint users can consult OPB's prototype as they visit Fort Vancouver, Wash., an early fur-trading outpost on the Columbia River.

OPB showed off the prototype at the AFI Digital Content Festival July 26 in Los Angeles, concluding a three-month production period in AFI's annual Digital Content Lab (formerly the AFI Enhanced Television Workshop). The Oregonians worked with series co-producer, Lion Television, as well as partners lined up by AFI-Rentrak, a market intelligence firm; Big Spaceship, a design company; and NPTV, a Paris-based technology provider.

The Road Trip — video clips and quiz, running less than four minutes in all — has already been used 600 times in a month since its Sprint debut, says Sam Ward, OPB multimedia series producer. Users can click various spots on the fort's map to call up explanatory video clips, with on-air detective Wes Cowan as host.

The producers had planned to feature the better known Fort Clatsop near Astoria, Ore., the road's end for Lewis and Clark's expedition 200 years ago, but the Clatsop replica burned down last October. (It's being rebuilt.)

The first Road Trip works only with the slim Samsung A900 phone, but OPB aims to adapt it for other phone models.

Ward says the phone company likes the concept, and he believes Road Trip could be expanded to other historical sites.

Web page posted Aug. 1, 2006
Current: the newspaper about public TV and radio in the United States
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Copyright 2006

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OUTSIDE LINKS

History Detectives' website.

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