May 28, 2003

Children's TV producers for WGBH and Reading Rainbow have taken unusual steps to keep their programs on the air. For the first time ever, WGBH will produce a new preschool series for a commercial outlet. Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton appealled publicly for outside funding to keep the award-winning series going.

May 22, 2003

Uncooperative Iraqi prisoners of war are being forced to listen to Barney's "I Love You" song, the Sesame Street theme and heavy metal music, reports the BBC. [Via randomWalks.]

May 21, 2003

Chevron Texaco said May 20 that it will end its longterm sponsorship of Metropolitan Opera broadcasts next April, the San Francisco Examiner reported. The opera company vowed to find new sponsors. Texaco began sponsoring the broadcasts in 1940, according to a company press release.

May 20, 2003

Maryland's Salisbury University is considering selling radio station WSCL, reports The Salisbury Daily Times.
"Public broadcasting's super salesman" David Ives, who led WGBH as it became a national production powerhouse, died on May 16. "As the man who approved major projects at WGBH, he became linked with enduring national favorites," such as Nova, Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery!, recalls the New York Times in an obit.

May 19, 2003

Race: The Power of an Illusion, a three-part public TV series, "could more aptly be titled 'PBS: The Power of Self-Delusion,' a study of how a publicly owned television network with a mandate to challenge the mind can instead put even the most caffeinated brains to sleep," writes Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times.

May 15, 2003

The FCC has fined WCVE in Richmond, Va., $10,000 for illegally constructing and operating a new antenna site. The station started broadcasting from the site before it requested FCC permission to do so. The commission later denied WCVE's petition. Read the FCC order (PDF).
Fortune magazine profiles Christina Cooks, the public TV show from Christina Pirello and her husband/partner Robert. Her combination of macrobiotic cooking and flavor makes a business that grosses $300,000 from underwriters and $350,000 from books, workshops and other sources. See also the Christina Cooks website.

May 9, 2003

White Teeth, a television adaptation of the best-selling book, "captures a more complicated and satisfying aspect of the novel: the poignancy and redemptive sweetness of the losers who populate [Zadie] Smith's comic vision," writes a New York Times reviewer. The two-part Masterpiece Theatre mini-series debuts on PBS May 11.
David Isay will unveil StoryCorps, a national oral history project, later this year. As he tells the New York Times, "This is our beachhead against 'The Bachelor.'"

May 7, 2003

Walter Cronkite and CNN anchor Aaron Brown are the latest TV journalists to agree to appear on public TV stations in infomercials paid for by manufacturers. The New York Times put the spotlight on American Review and other series of shorts produced for a fee by WJMK Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla. Also featured was Healthology, a series of modules produced in Manhattan. The economics are similar to that of shorts World Business Review and Spotlight On and the series Visionaries, described in Current last year.

May 5, 2003

A Star Tribune review of Studio 360 calls PRI "public radio's equivalent of HBO in terms of turning out cutting-edge programming."

May 1, 2003

Astronomers have named asteroid #26858 "Misterrogers" in honor of the late children's TV host, reports NEPA News. (Via randomWalks.) PBS will distribute a live broadcast of Rogers' memorial service May 3.