Dec 30, 2002

On Jan. 6, Baton Rouge pubradio station WRKF will be the latest to drop daytime music on weekdays to carry more news and info programming, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.
Chicago Sun-Times critic Phil Rosenthal pans Austin Hoyt's American Experience three-parter on Chicago, which he says gives the city a "4-1/2-hour thrashing," with none of the affection of Ric Burns's and Lisa Ades's history of New York. [Earlier Current article.]

Dec 20, 2002

WHYY aired a talk show on the pitfalls of grant-funded journalism Dec. 17, but the station's own central role in such a controversy was kept off the air, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. News Director Bill Fantini resigned Dec. 9, the day before the Philadelphia Daily News reported on a widely criticized news-funding partnership he negotiated.

Dec 18, 2002

Muslim-American businesses and organizations sponsored the two-hour PBS documentary "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet," notes Alessandra Stanley in a New York Times review, and the program has the feel of a "lengthy informercial for Islam." But the doc is "well worth watching both as the first serious attempt to tell the story of Muhammed on television and also as a testimony to the hypersensitivity of our times." In the LA Times, Howard Rosenberg described the program as a "candid, thoughtful, flowing, visually stunning film."

The Seattle Weekly reports that the CPB Inspector General may launch an audit of KCTS.

Dec 17, 2002

USA Today looks at audience trends for financial advice programs, and declares that the competing Wall Street Week franchises both "look like losers."

Dec 16, 2002

Chicago's WBEZ-FM assumed management of community station WLUW-FM Dec. 4, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Washington Post previews I'd Rather Eat Pants, a serial drama airing this week on NPR's Morning Edition.
Maine Public Broadcasting may have to lay off employees as it deals with a budget shortfall, reports the Portland Press Herald.
Oregon Public Broadcasting is partly responsible for the financial difficulties it faces, according to an Oregonian report. An accompanying article profiles Jack Galmiche, OPB's chief operating officer.
Lea Sloan, new PBS v.p. of media relations, tells the Washington Post that a big part of her job will be making sure that President Pat Mitchell "gets the recognition she deserves for leading PBS into the 21st century."

Dec 12, 2002

A group of pubcasting stations interested in Internet services will hold an Integrated Media Conference next April for both radio and TV stations. PRISA posted a questionnaire and tentative plans on the Web. The event in Minneapolis will fill a gap left by the suspension of the annual PBS/NPR web Summit.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will review whether Frontline can film jury deliberations. "This is an important enough issue, and it's good the court is going to hear it with full arguments," comments an attorney on the case in today's Houston Chronicle.

Dec 11, 2002

The novelty has faded: Public radio's Rewind is going off the air as host Bill Radke seeks a new gig, reports the Seattle Weekly.
Bill Fantini, radio news director at WHYY in Philadelphia, resigned Dec. 9. Fantini recently developed a state-funded series of positive stories on the environment that some reporters and observers have called unethical. [Read Current's report on the controversy.]

Dec 10, 2002

" . . . Ultimately, it's a state agency buying good coverage," comments a broadcast journalism professor on ethical lapses at WHYY-FM, in today's Philadelphia Daily News. Current reported last month on breaches in journalism ethics and sponsorship disclosure in environmental reporting at WHYY.

Dec 6, 2002

The Houston Chronicle reports that prosecutors filed new arguments in the Texas jury taping case.

Dec 4, 2002

KCTS is "in the midst of a severe financial crisis that has some concerned about whether it can, in the words of a board member, 'sustain the operation,'" according to the Seattle Weekly.
Attorneys for Frontline and production executive Michael Sullivan explained the rationale for taping jury deliberations in a Texas death penalty case during a Dec. 2 press conference. An attorney representing District Court Judge Ted Poe, who is defending his order to allow the taping, faced off with the prosecutor on the case on the NewsHour. A Google news search found several recent newspaper editorials opposing cameras in the jury room.

Dec 3, 2002

Radio World's Skip Pizzi says digital radio may fail because it promises better sound but little new content. In the same issue, a reader asks how digital radio will affect subcarrier services.
The latest Eastern Public Radio newsletter covers Vinnie Curren's CPB appointment (see below), successful fund drives, format advice and more.

Dec 2, 2002

Public radio producer Aimée Pomerleau just set up a website, Scorcher Radio.
CPB named Vinnie Curren, g.m. of WXPN in Philadelphia, its senior v.p. of radio.