Jan 31, 2003

NPR commentator Cokie Roberts will sit on President Bush's Council on Service and Civic Participation. A rep for ABC News, Roberts' employer, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer the appointment raises no conflict of interest. But Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR's ombudsman, told Current, "I'm not sure that it's a good idea at this time."
WXPN-FM in Philadelphia hired Roger LaMay, former manager of a Fox TV affiliate, as general manager. The Associated Press profiles the station, which will move next year to a $9 million space including studios, performaces stages and a "World Cafe" restaurant.

Jan 29, 2003

"In Washington, where you sit is almost always more important than what you say," and PBS's Jim Lehrer rubbed elbows with President Bush at a lunchtime media briefing yesterday, notes The Washington Post. (Second item.)
NPR's Jason Beaubien and two other reporters were detained in Zimbabwe yesterday.

Jan 28, 2003

Jan 27, 2003

The FCC is seeking comment on proposed DTV rules for channel election, replication and maximization requirements as part of its second periodic review of the digital TV transition. The commission is also soliciting comments on whether there are steps it could take to help public TV stations during the conversion. Read press release. See full NPRM.
CNBC, home of ex-PBS star Louis Rukeyser, is adding celebrity editor Tina Brown to its roster of hosts. The cable net is shifting away from heavy stock market coverage and scheduling programs that are "branded toward people who are smart, curious and interested in a more sophisticated take on the issues," said CNBC President Pamela Thomas-Graham in the New York Times.

Jan 23, 2003

How should NPR handle the sticky situation of reporting on itself? Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin takes on the question in his "Media Matters" column.
The Boston Phoenix profiles Christopher Lydon as he prepares to launch his new public radio show, The Whole Wide World. (Via MediaNews.)

Jan 22, 2003

"At first, he glanced at the tube only occasionally while doing homework. Then Mamie Till Mobley began describing the condition of her son's body after it was pulled from the Tallahatchie River near Money, Miss." A Washington Post columnist describes watching PBS's "The Murder of Emmet Till" with his 13-year old son.

Jan 20, 2003

The South Bend Tribune previews Shades of Gray, an hourlong documentary on abortion airing this month on public radio stations. Lee Burdorf, p.d. at South Bend's WVPE-FM, calls it "one of the best radio productions I've heard in my life."

Jan 17, 2003

An angry WTTW staff confronted President Dan Schmidt about the company-owned Lexus he drives in the wake of last week's layoffs of 16 colleagues, reports the Chicago Reader (second item).
"A clear sign that Armageddon is near: The ballroom, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, was easily twice as full for [WB reality show featuring washed-up celebs] "Surreal Life" as for "Becoming American" on PBS with Bill Moyers." So writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jill Vejnoska of this year's Television Critics Association tour.
Tampa's WUSF-FM plans to convert to digital broadcasting within the next few weeks, making it one of the first public radio stations to go digital. In other digital radio news, NPR is teaming up with Harris and Kenwood to test the secondary audio channels the new technology allows.

Jan 16, 2003

Listeners may have booed NPR's recent comedy miniseries on Morning Edition, but On the Media's extended parody of pubradio drew an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction, at least according to hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield. The Jan. 2 parody [audio file and transcript] needles lefty commentors and toadying general managers with equal glee and intense audio detail. Gladstone and Garfield later read the viewer mail.
WLRN-FM is weighing a newsroom partnership with the Miami Herald, reports the Miami New Times.
The Houston Chronicle reports on a Texas appeals court hearing of the Frontline jury taping case.

Jan 15, 2003

Media reporter and critic Mark Jurkowitz slams public radio in today's Boston Globe, accusing NPR President Kevin Klose and WBUR General Manager Jane Christo of dodging and patronizing supporters of Israel who say the network's reporting is biased. [Earlier article from Current about WBUR and its pro-Israel critics.]
A new CPB-backed website for producers offers guidance on enhancing education in public TV programs. It includes case studies that assess educational outreach strategies for recent PBS series and specials.
Joanne Kaufman writes in The New York Times of her 11-year-old son's love for radio, which includes public radio. Writes Kaufman, "If I were not afraid of going out on a limb, I would say that he likes Scott Simon almost as much as Scott Simon does."

Jan 14, 2003

Documentary producer and director Jaime Kibben died Jan. 11 in a car accident in Tel Aviv. Kibben worked as a sound engineer for PBS's NewsHour from 1990 to 1996.
NPR has renewed and expanded its contract with the Associated Press, reports Radio Ink.
When PBS took over the Television Critics Association press tour, the Toronto Globe and Mail's Andrew Ryan found the change startling: "Gone are the attractive, Starbucks-fuelled cable hacks; now we have dozens of timid PBS publicists in sensible National Public Radio fashions drinking tea at the back of the room."
Hearing Voices has produced a new public radio special, "State of Union", featuring contributions from Scott Carrier, Jay Allison and other producers.
"Talking to PBS suits about the skanky infomercials with which the public broadcasting network's stations pollute the PBS brand during pledge drives is a lot like talking to parents of a crack-addicted teen," writes Lisa de Moraes in the Washington Post. [Scroll down from top story in column.]
A line of furniture based on pieces seen on Antiques Road Show will be in retail stores this summer, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The New York Times published two reviews of the PBS series Freedom: The Story of US. Alessandra Stanley described it as a "didactic, worthy and irritatingly timid" signal that "at long last the time has come to consider privatizing public television or turning it over to the state." In the second review, published a day later, Ron Wertheimer praised it as a "courageous attempt" to encourage the reaffirmation that Americans need in these perilous times. These critics agreed that the series is overburdened with a parade of celebrities doing voice-overs. [Link to the website.]
Peter Sellars' production of The Children of Herakles, covered in today's New York Times, features contributions from public radio's Christopher Lydon. Lydon is working on a new eight-part interview series for Public Radio International titled The Whole Wide World.

Jan 13, 2003

Vin Scelsa, pioneer of freeform radio and a host on public station WFUV in New York, is taking his show's stream and archives offline to protest federal rules governing streaming, reports the New York Daily News. There's more information at the station's website.
The Baltimore Sun profiles Murray Horwitz, formerly head of cultural programming at NPR and now in charge of the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Md.
WNYC-AM/FM in New York might be looking for a new home, reports the New York Daily News.
Fort Collins, Colo., will get a new community radio station this year, but KRFC is still looking for a studio and a leader, reports the Coloradoan.
The New York Times profiles comic Harry Shearer and his public radio program "Le Show," produced at KCRW in Santa Monica. Says KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour, "Harry is adventurous and daring, all of the things that have been in great danger on public radio since the emergence of radio consultants."
The MacArthur Foundation gave NPR a $14 million grant, the largest in the network's history.

Jan 9, 2003

The Virginia Public Broadcasting Board imposed 15 percent across-the-board funding cuts to the state's public TV stations, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Jan 8, 2003

The New York Times starts a series of three reports today on the toll of unsafe working conditions at McWane Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of cast-iron pipes. The reporting stems from a collaboration with public TV's Frontline, which airs a program on the subject tomorrow night.
WTTW drops its biweekly newspaper City Talk and cuts 23 jobs, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The latest Eastern Public Radio Newsletter is online.

Jan 7, 2003

The Association of Independents in Radio has started a series of live chats with producers and other folks in radio. The next one is Tues., Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. ET.
Media watchdog Norman Solomon gives NPR and Cokie Roberts "P.U.-litzer Prizes" for misreporting in 2002.

Jan 6, 2003

NPR Intern Tells All! Well, some. The Washington Monthly's Brian Montopoli scrutinizes the fustiness he hears in NPR's "boomer-friendly" tone.
Knowing Poe, a new educational website produced by Maryland Public Television, features 10 interactive activities on the life and literature of Edgar Allan Poe. [Requires Flash]
George Will lists the reasons why "televising juries' deliberations is a terrible idea" in his Jan. 5 column.

Jan 3, 2003

Frontier House was the best TV show of 2002, writes Aaron Barnhart, TV critic for the Kansas City Star and publisher of Frontline's "Requiem for Frank Lee Smith" and P.O.V.'s "Mai's America" were also on his top 10 list.
A producer for Maryland Public TV tests television's "high threshold for shit" in local arts programming, reports the Baltimore City Paper.
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin reviews some listener gripes in his latest column., a site that includes work by independent public radio producers, has changed its name and address to
Community radio pioneer Lorenzo Milam shares memories of partner-in-crime Jeremy Lansman in honor of Lansman's 60th birthday.

Jan 2, 2003

"No subject is taboo" for Rhona Raskin, a radio talk show host and newspaper columnist who on Jan. 5 launches her own late-night TV show on KCTS in Seattle.