Dec 30, 2004

Public TV's Frontline/World invited journalism schools to recommend young journalists for reporting fellowships on its website. Selected students and recent graduates of the schools would work with the series' website to report on international stories not covered in mainstream media. Applications from individuals will not be considered, the producers said. Fellows have already contributed many stories to the site.
The websites of The World and Afropop Worldwide listed charities assisting in tsunami relief and Afropop producer Sean Barlow urged public radio to rally support from listeners.
The Heinz Endowments gave a second million dollars to build a Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College in the late PBS host's hometown of Latrobe, Pa., the college said. With the December donation, the philanthropy has given $2.1 million to the project. The state pledged $5 million in October, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Dec 24, 2004

The Italian government proposes to sell 30 percent of its big pubcaster, RAI, reports Britain’s Observer. Legislation forbids any shareholder from owning more than 1 percent. Prime Minister Berlusconi, owner of RAI’s major competition, has no interest in seeing RAI become a strong commercial broadcaster, and neither do his political opponents, says the Observer. The Italian Antitrust Authority criticizes the powerful advertising duopoly composed of Berlusconi’s holdings, with 65 percent of TV advertising, and RAI, with 29 percent, according to the International Herald Tribune.

Dec 21, 2004

Longtime TV correspondent Ed Gordon will start a show replacing Tavis Smiley's on public radio, said NPR and the African American Public Radio Consortium today. Gordon has reported for NBC and was recently named a contributing correspondent for CBS's 60 Minutes Wednesday. Smiley left NPR Dec. 16.
Garrison Keillor has promised to deliver "a quiet and thoughtful Lutheran pastor" plus the "entire Prairie Home Companion complement" on a one-week circular Holland America Line cruise from Boston to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Bar Harbor, Maine, starting Aug. 20. Cheaper cabins are sold out already. Some remain at $2,350 to $3,800 per person, double occupancy. Public TV stations helped sell cabins on a November cruise of the Mediterranean starring Robert MacNeil, Jim Lehrer and other PBS figures.

Dec 17, 2004

The Iowa Board of Regents on Thursday endorsed a report that calls for Iowa's three university-based radio stations, WOI, WSUI/KSUI and KUNI/KHKE, to merge into a network called Iowa Public Radio, the Des Moines Register reports. The move is expected to generate more listeners, extend coverage and reduce the amount of state support for the stations by $300,000.
More Tavis: The now ex-NPR host tells Salon in a Q-and-A that the network is "not National Some-of-the Public Radio, it's National All-of-the-Public Radio. And NPR has got to do a better job of making that moniker... a reality." Smiley says his show's numbers outpaced projections, refuting researcher claims that the audience only wants to hear, as the webmag puts it, "the dulcet tones of Linda Wertheimer sound-alikes who've come to define public radio." (free day pass req.)
Have you heard? Bill Moyers will make his final appearance as host of PBS's Now tonight. Today's litany of Bye to Bill stories includes pieces from, among others, the New York Times, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News, who also printed a speech Moyers recently gave at Harvard Medical School. For a different take on the Moyers legend, check out this profile on conservative website, which describes the esteemed journalist as a "sweater-wearing pundit who delivered socialist and neo-Marxist propaganda with a soft Texas accent."

Dec 16, 2004

Minnesota Public Radio programmers described their new format for their just-acquired third Twin Cities station as an "anti-format" for younger ears that will gather eclectic music and "take the work out of finding music and put the fun back in," Deborah Rybak reported in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. MPR bought the channel, WCAL, from St. Olaf College over the objections of WCAL's classical music fans. Some spoke against the station sale at an FCC hearing on media consolidation in St. Paul last week. With money from the sale, the college said it will endow five chairs and repair the organ in its chapel.
"Nothing is pushing me, but something is pulling me, and I don't know what that is." Bill Moyers, who delivers his last edition of Now tomorrow night, may have one more PBS series up his sleeve, reports the New York Daily News.
"In the rush to proclaim [Bernard] Kerik the next secretary of Homeland Security, NPR sounded as though it were reporting on behalf of the White House, not about the White House," writes NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin in his latest online column.
Jim King, founder of the Cincinnati-based X-Star public radio network, will retire next year. "We've done what no one else said could be done," he tells the Cincinnati Enquirer. ". . . We've bucked the trend and programmed a station the way we wanted to, changing the types of programming every three or four hours."

Dec 15, 2004

The Boston Globe reports that Boston University officials and the attorney for Jane Christo, former g.m. of WBUR-FM, disagree over who wielded the most influence over the station's operations.
"The real key is you want to get them up and moving but you don't want them to turn their heads from the TV." Newsday reports on kids' shows that encourage tots to get off the couch.
WDUQ-FM in Pittsburgh is replacing its transmitter, going digital and expanding its signal eastward with repeaters, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gaztte.
Media reform advocate Jeff Chester challenges PBS's panel on enhanced funding to consider whether public TV deserves the gift of auction spectrum revenues.

Dec 14, 2004

In the Village Voice, WFMU deejay Irwin Chusid discusses his championing of outsider musicians.
In the Life, the gay/lesbian pubTV show that raises much of its operating funding from viewers, has set a $350,000 goal for a capital campaign for a new studio in Manhattan. [Current profile of the show.]

Dec 13, 2004

"If I felt that I was getting the kind of commitment that I needed to grow the program, then I wouldn't have resigned," says Tavis Smiley in the Chicago Sun-Times about leaving his show.

Dec 10, 2004

"When they start pushing the panic button over 'moral values' at the bluest of TV channels, public broadcasting's WNET, in the bluest of cities, New York, you know this country has entered a new cultural twilight zone," writes New York Times columnist Frank Rich. WNET's decision to kill a spot on the feature film, Kinsey, is a harbinger of the battles ahead as "politicians and the media alike pander to that supposed 22 percent of 'moral values' voters."
Zoom, the interactive children's series from Boston's WGBH, will shutter production after its 2005 season. Kids, and PBS, are "looking for the next new thing," says producer Kate Taylor in the Boston Globe.

Dec 8, 2004

The Center for Social Media at American University published a study recommending ways to help independent filmmakers negotiate the increasingly difficult process of rights clearances. Additional background materials are available on the Center's website.
"I believe the price of this very considerable change is the right price to pay to achieve the prize of a strong and independent, creative BBC," said Director General Michael Thompson when announcing a 10 percent staff reduction, the largest in the corporation's history. With savings from the massive reorganization, Thompson promised BBC would spend more on high quality drama, comedy, current affairs and children's programs, according to the Guardian. Reports on the restructuring characterize it as a premptive move to protect BBC financing via television license fees, which comes up for renewal in 2007. In the Financial Times, Thompson said the plan made the case for a renewal of its royal charter more compelling and added: “The BBC has not been badgered or pressured by government to do any of this.” [Additional reporting in the New York Times, and a Q&A from BBC News.]

Dec 7, 2004

A consultant's study (PDF) recommends that stations licensed to three Iowa universities unite under common management, share resources, and develop three separate and coordinated programming schedules. The board's office has endorsed the findings (PDF). Regents will take up the matter next week.

Dec 6, 2004

The FCC got only a few hundred indecency complaints in 2001, but about 14,000 in 2002 and no less than 240,000 in 2003, just before its Janet Jackson crackdown. Today, Todd Shields of MediaWeek revealed an unreleased FCC estimate that 99.8 percent of the 2003 complaints came from one organization, Parents Television Council. The same was true for 99.8 percent of complaints in 2004, through October. Via SPJ PressNotes. PTC, founded by conservative media watchdog Brent Bozell, monitors and compiles reports on sex, innuendo and violence on broadcast and cable networks, according to its website.
"We had agreed on the destination we were to arrive at, but somewhere along the line NPR wavered in the journey," says Tavis Smiley in Time of his decision to leave NPR. He also says President Bush's Cabinet is more diverse than his former employer.
NPR has named Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne permanent hosts of Morning Edition.

Dec 5, 2004

Edie McClurg, perhaps best known for the role of the principal's secretary in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, was "Operations Manager, News Anchor, Documentary and Fine Arts Producer for NPR affiliate KCUR-FM and National Public Radio 1966-1974," according to the Internet Movie Database.

Dec 3, 2004

The Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud, a former assistant pastor at First United Methodist Church in Germantown, Pa., was expelled from the clergy after a jury of Methodist ministers convicted her of breaking church law by living openly as a lesbian, the Washington Post reports. Stroud's "coming out" sermon and legal struggle were captured by The Congregation, a doc by Alan and Susan Raymond scheduled to air on PBS on Dec. 29.
Joan Ganz Cooney, creator of Sesame Street, will discuss "The Evolution and Signifiance of Sesame Street" at a Smithsonian lecture hall in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8. $20 for the general public.

Dec 2, 2004

Ken Freedman, station manager of freeform WFMU-FM in Jersey City, N.J., gave a State of the Station address Dec. 1. (MP3) Did he mention yellowcake?
More in the Philadelphia Daily News about Rachel Buchman, the WHYY reporter who resigned after mouthing off to a conservative group. A Daily News columnist broadens the issue: "How many of us want our tax dollars to keep funding NPR's Rachels? Or any other ideologue?"
A Station Resource Group analysis of recent financial data from public radio stations (PDF) shows increases in listenership, underwriting revenue and listener support. Fiscal year 2003 was also the system's strongest ever for net fundraising revenue.
Mark Handley, president of New Hampshire Public Radio, will retire next October to sail across the Pacific Ocean with his wife, reports the Concord Monitor. Handley recently finished his second term as chair of the NPR Board.

Dec 1, 2004

Rachel Buchman, a reporter at Philadelphia's WHYY, resigned earlier this week after leaving a seething voice mail at the offices of, a Virginia-based conservative website. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the group circulated Buchman's message, which advised the org's members that "God hates you and He wants to kill your children... You should all burn in hell," via e-mail after it learned that she worked at WHYY. "It was a personal matter that was turned into a public issue," Buchman said. "Rather than call my journalistic integrity into question, I decided to resign for personal reasons." (registration req., via Romenesko)
The Supreme Court has denied the American Family Association's request for a review of a lower-court decision that upheld the FCC's point system. (PDF, p. 4, see "04-539.") AFA had argued that the point system, which settles competing applications from noncommercial broadcasters for frequencies, unfairly favored pubcasters over religious broadcasters.
The New York Times covers Tavis Smiley's departure from NPR. "We would argue that there's more to be done, but his show was evidence that we were accomplishing it," says David Umansky, NPR's interim v.p. for communcations.

Nov 29, 2004

Tavis Smiley will leave his NPR show Dec. 16. In an e-mail to stations, he appears to blame NPR for failing "to meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio, but simply don't know it exists or what it offers."
Milwaukee's school board voted unanimously last week to outsource management of WYMS, their noncommercial station, to local nonprofit Radio For Milwaukee.
"The common thread for us is secrets, that sense of revelation," says Kitchen Sister Nikki Silva in a New York Times profile.
A Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist draws a distinction between the "corporate" nature of Minnesota Public Radio and the "small, funky and extremely local" stations in the state that are banding together to raise their profile against MPR's.

Nov 24, 2004

"Just how many conservatives does it take to balance out one wily progressive?" asks the Village Voice as it observes Bill Moyers' departure from public TV. "And now that Moyers is gone, do they really need all this firepower to balance out . . . David Brancaccio?"
Vic Sussman, a longtime journalist and recently senior editor of Marketplace, died yesterday at the age of 65. The Washington Post remembers his curiosity and restlessness.

Nov 23, 2004

FCC Auction 37 has closed, with WGBH in Boston apparently the only pubcaster to emerge as a top bidder. The station is in line to pay more than $3.9 million for an FM signal on Cape Cod.

Nov 22, 2004

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz profiles NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin and also notes the growing audience of the network's On the Media (last item). (Via Romenesko.)
KPBS in San Diego begins broadcasting to Calexico, Calif., today on a newly acquired FM frequency. Calexico and the surrounding area formerly lacked an English-language public radio service, one of few such regions in the country.

Nov 19, 2004

FCC FM Auction 37 rolls on, and Boston's WGBH has the high bid of nearly $4 million on a channel in Brewster, Mass. Most other pubcasters have been knocked out of the bidding. Meanwhile, at least two pubcasters — WKGC in Panama City, Fla., and Unalaska Community Broadcasting in Unalaska, Alaska — are likely to get AM stations in FCC AM Auction 84. Forms are due Jan. 18.
Radio for Milwaukee, a nonprofit, is expected to get approval from Milwaukee's school board to manage the school system's noncommercial FM station, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Nov 18, 2004

Two bidders in FCC Auction 37 are considering starting a public radio station in Marfa, Texas, reports the Odessa American.
Blogger Michael Petrelis learned that NPR news staffers Corey Flintoff and Michelle Trudeau donated to the campaigns of John Kerry and Howard Dean, violating NPR's ethics codes. In a response to Petrelis, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin addressed the issue in his latest online column, and the Chicago Reader takes it up as well. Meanwhile, NPR reporter Eric Weiner writes in the Christian Science Monitor that Palestinians should practice nonviolence. Other NPR reporters have previously sounded off on current events, raising questions about proper ethical conduct.
Garrison Keillor will launch Literary Friendships next year, a five-show series featuring writers who are friends talking about their work and relationships. Guests will include Sandra Cisneros, Michael Chabon and Robert Bly.
Bob Edwards tells the Boston Globe that he threatened to sue NPR over the network's suggestions that he was booted from Morning Edition because he declined to have a co-host. In fact, Edwards says, he was never offered the option. Newly installed at XM Radio, Edwards will visit Boston's WBUR tonight in celebration of Morning Edition's 25th anniversary.

Nov 17, 2004

"She’s not a lifestyle liberal," says PBS host Tucker Carlson of Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, who appeared on his show Friday. "She’s actually interested in reordering society. . . . I thought she was a good guest." Goodman, for her part, says she's "concerned about a right-wing takeover at PBS." Meanwhile, Barbara Streisand, or an electronic facsimile thereof, has plugged Democracy Now on her website.
The BBC said it replaced the late Alistair Cooke's Friday night Letter from America (at least temporarily) with A View from reports by correspondents in America, Australia, China, Brazil, South Africa, India and the Caribbean. The U.S. voice is Tim Egan, a New York Times reporter in Seattle. David Stewart describes Cooke's longtime weekly Letter.
"The Dead Hensons are a seven piece rock band exclusively covering the upbeat songs from early Jim Henson projects (mainly Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, and the Muppet Movie)." Via cheesedip.

Nov 16, 2004

Pop Vultures host Kate Sullivan announced on and her weblog that her show's funders have decided to pull the plug. "The death of PV was due to a confluence of forces," she said. "It wasn't the weirdness of the show per se that killed it."
The New York Times reviews Afghanistan Unveiled, a film created by young Afghan women who were trained as video journalists after the fall of the Taliban. The documentary debuts tonight on PBS's Independent Lens.

Nov 15, 2004

WESU-FM, the student-run station at Wesleyan University, will simulcast some programming from WSHU-FM in Fairfield, Conn. Students had resisted the plan, but WESU's g.m. says that "our initial fears have been addressed to our satisfaction."

Nov 12, 2004

The University of North Dakota sold noncommercial KUND-AM to a Catholic broadcaster, reports the Grand Forks Herald.

Nov 11, 2004

Doug Bennet, president of Wesleyan University and a former president of NPR, has suggested that his school's freeform radio station simulcast a Fairfield NPR station during the day, reports the Hartford Courant. Students are protesting the idea and have presented their own proposal (Word document). (Read the university's press release.)

Nov 10, 2004

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin looks at the network's decision to remove All Things Considered host Michele Norris from recent political stories because her husband was an adviser to John Kerry's campaign. ". . . I worry that news organizations will in effect censor their own journalists because of what their partners and spouses do. It is dangerous because it infers that journalists are incapable of good journalism because of what their spouses and partners believe," he writes. (Via Romenesko.)
Broadcast news hosts using sentence fragments. A Chicago Tribune article takes note of this increasingly popular trend, which has at times swept up a few NPR anchors as well.
Microsoft expects Slate, its online magazine, will be sold by the end of the year, reports the Online Journalism Review. Media reports have named the Washington Post Co. as the likely buyer. NPR and Slate co-produce the network's Day to Day. (Via Romenesko.)

Nov 9, 2004

Pacifica has hired Roy Campanella II as g.m. of KPFA in Berkeley, Calif. The Internet Movie Database details Campanella's television career, which includes directing Baywatch, Knight Rider and Boston Public. Meanwhile, Pacifica announced the weekly audience of its five stations recently topped 1 million for the first time in the network's history.
Public radio stations in Minnesota not affiliated with Minnesota Public Radio have launched a marketing campaign to distance themselves from the megacaster, reports the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.
Boston University has concluded its investigation of WBUR-FM and found merit in some of the allegations leveled against the station and its former g.m., Jane Christo. Coverage in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

Nov 8, 2004

Sarah Vowell, whose voice can be heard in the new Pixar blockbuster The Incredibles, discusses her role with the Hollywood Reporter. "[I]t's a nice thing to be part of a juggernaut once in your life, especially when it's a really cool juggernaut like this," she says.

Nov 5, 2004

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin raises questions about the ties between the network's Day to Day and Slate in light of the Microsoft-owned mag's announcement that most of its staffers would vote for John Kerry. As Day to Day also noted, Slate joined other media outlets and bloggers in sharing exit-poll data on Election Day that at first favored Kerry to win. The Poynter Institute's Steve Outing and Online Journalism Review's Mark Glaser look at the use of these polls.
FCC Auction 37 began Nov. 3. You can follow it at this FCC site (follow the link to "Bidding System and Results"—the page can't be linked to directly). Earlier articles in Radio World summarized the bidding process and presented a nice map that shows where the frequencies at stake are located.
Citing declines in traditional revenue sources, KERA-TV/FM in Dallas announced job cuts and schedule changes that trim $1.1 million from its budget, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (Registration required.)
NPR has combined its operations and engineering departments and promoted longtime employee David Argentieri as their senior director, reports Radio World.
Congressmen from Hawaii have asked the FCC to expedite approval of a Hawaii Public Radio transmitter that would serve Maui, reports Pacific Business News.

Nov 4, 2004

"Focus requires discipline and, in this case, a painful choice." The New York Times is restructuring its TV unit and shuttering its production facility in lower Manhattan, according to an internal memo leaked to Romensko.
Two keynote speeches from a recent production workshop held by American Public Media's Classical Music Initiative are online.

Nov 3, 2004

NPR has hired David Folkenflik, media reporter at the Baltimore Sun, reports the Baltimore Business Journal (second item). (More in the Baltimore City Paper. Via Romenesko).

Nov 2, 2004

This winter, director Robert Altman will begin shooting a film version of A Prairie Home Companion, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. (Reg. req.) More in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post (fourth item), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (also, an interview with Altman), and the Associated Press.

Nov 1, 2004

"I may care who gets elected, but my show does not." The LA Times interviews David Brancaccio about succeeding Bill Moyers as host of Now. (Via Romenesko.)
The audience of Pacifica's WBAI-FM in New York rose 40 percent from spring to summer, reports the New York Daily News.

Oct 27, 2004

BBC Radio disc jockey John Peel, champion of many cutting edge rock acts that went on to notoriety and influence, died at age 65. He was "perhaps the only British D.J. known by name to American rock fans," writes the New York Times. For all his influence, Peel was surprisingly accessible, reports the Washington Post: "[B]asically, if you wrote him, he'd send you a postcard back, often with his phone number, sometimes 'signed' with a rubber stamp that read 'John Peel, The World's Most Boring Man.'

Oct 26, 2004

Roadside sensors are now providing radio ratings for passing drivers in Washington, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Jersey, and Charlotte, N.C., the Washington Post reported [registration required]. The provider, Phoenix-based MobilTrak, derives listener data from tuning and sells results to retailers near the same roads, to billboard companies [earlier NYT article], as well as to radio stations.

"How can we reach kids who don't watch PBS without dumbing down to them?" WGBH tries a reality show for teenagers.
The Boston Globe profiles Zalmai Yawar, an Afghan who has worked as an interpreter for NPR and other U.S. news outlets. "Reporters kill over two things: a great driver and a great interpreter," says NPR's Jacki Lyden. "Zalmai was one of my best interpreters ever."

Oct 25, 2004

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune profiles Minnesota Public Radio and its president, Bill Kling. (Reg. req.)

Oct 21, 2004

Tucker Carlson is apparently spoiling for a rematch with The Daily Show's Jon Stewart after Friday's much-publicized live spat on CNN's Crossfire. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the bow tied commentator has invited the fake newsman to appear on this Friday's Unfiltered on PBS. "I have a low opinion of the things Jon said, but I'd like to give him a chance to explain it in an environment where he can talk," Carlson said. No word from Stewart. Comedy Central execs, who said the network has received 12 times the usual amount of e-mail this week as a result of the face-off, doubt Stewart will accept the offer. (Reg. required)
CPB has awarded more than $9 million to 133 public radio stations to help them convert to digital broadcasting.

Oct 20, 2004

If you missed the Stewart/Carlson bout on Crossfire, Slate's Surfergirl links to a video clip of the exchange.
Community leaders in West Palm Beach have coalesced to develop a take-over bid for WXEL, reports the Sun-Sentinel.
PBS and Sesame Workshop share a 30 percent stake in the new digital children's channel announced today with Comcast and Hit Entertainment, according to the Guardian. The Times reports on why Rob Lawes, the Hit Entertainment chief who forged the partnership, is now leaving the company. Current reported this spring on negotiations to create the channel.

Oct 19, 2004

At least half a dozen pubcasters will proceed to the Nov. 3 FCC auction of FM construction permits. The agency has released a list of the broadcasters and their minimum bids (PDF), the CPs they're pursuing (PDF) and other info.
The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes reports from ringside on the Crossfire slap-down. Part One: Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and PBS's Tucker Carlson call each other colorful names you'll only hear on cable TV. Part Two: Robert Novak and James Carville call Stewart "uninformed" and worse on Monday's Crossfire, and Stewart retorts from The Daily Show.
The Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson reviews Bob Edwards' new show on XM and also sizes up the changes to Morning Edition since Edwards left. (Reg. req.)
Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times says Bill Moyers, who leaves his PBS show at the end of December, "has used Now as a razor-sharp scythe for laying bare issues rarely scrutinized by his media peers." Moyers is quoted about the new PBS talk shows hosted by conservatives: "In my 33 years at public broadcasting, it's the first time I've seen shows that were clearly created for ideological reasons." (Open only to registered seven-day Times subscribers or Calendar Live subscribers.)
"Nearly as splashy, flashy and phantasmagorical as the American art form it celebrates, Broadway: The American Musical is the TV equivalent of a grandly panoramic coffee-table book." Washington Post critic Tom Shales reviews the six-part mini-series debuting tonight on PBS.

Oct 18, 2004

Terry Gross tells the Boston Phoenix that interviewing guests by phone makes it less likely she'll gush. "I've learned the hard way that that’s really not a very productive thing to do," she says.
"It's one thing to get knocked off the air by a show that's better than yours, but it's another to get knocked off by a show whose only reason to exist is a numbers argument," says Ira Glass of Weekend America in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. (Reg. req.)

Oct 15, 2004

Mark Glaser sizes up podcasting, satellite radio and other technologies that could shape radio's future, checking in with Public Radio Exchange to boot.
A WXXI exec tells the Rochester City News why his station won't carry Pacifica's Democracy Now: "On our air, it would be swaying our balance. Our integrity as an alternative, non-polarized station would be harmed."
A Boston Globe update on WBUR notes that Jane Christo's son is being moved out of the station and adds some details about the station's new interim g.m.

Oct 13, 2004

Boston University named one of its assistant vice presidents, former TV exec Peter Fiedler, interim g.m. of WBUR.
WBUR-FM and its parent, Boston University, share tendencies to overspend and dream too big, says a Boston Globe columnist.

Oct 12, 2004

Former PBS star Louis Rukeyser, stricken with cancer and absent from his CNBC investment commentary program for nearly a year, says he asked the cable net to discontinue the show, according to a snarky Washington Post dispatch. The program goes out of production Dec. 31.

Oct 11, 2004

Frontline's "The Choice 2004" debuts on PBS stations Oct. 12. Reviewers for the New York Times and the Seattle Times write in today's editions that, by contrasting the presidential candidates' military service during the Vietnam War, the two-hour documentary casts Senator Kerry in a more favorable light.
More coverage of Jane Christo's resignation in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and the Providence Journal, and on NPR.
The New York Times reviews Postcards from Buster, the new PBS show starring "the sort of character that children understand: perpetually hungry, a little nervous and fascinated by outer space."

Oct 8, 2004

Jane Christo, g.m. of WBUR-FM in Boston, announced her resignation today. Coverage in the Providence Journal and the Boston Phoenix. The Journal also reports that Boston's WGBH will not buy WBUR's Rhode Island stations, but would consider partnering with another operator.
Tonight Cleveland's WVIZ launches a new local series covering topics that viewers in Northeastern Ohio are most concerned about--education, the economy, jobs, among other issues. "I can envision people talking about it at work the next day," host Rick Jackson tells the Plain-Dealer. Producers used results from a three-year audience research project to shape the show's content and format.

Oct 7, 2004

Boston Phoenix media critic Dan Kennedy explores WBUR's controversial sale of two AM frequencies in Rhode Island and other allegations of management misconduct, asserting that "There’s plenty of smoke, but it’s too early to say whether there’s any fire." (via
"I've pretty much been around the world, but the thing about it is when I go away I'm not thinking about relaxing, I'm thinking about the story I'm working on," says Nova senior executive producer Paula Apsell, in a profile by her hometown newspaper.

Oct 6, 2004

The Twin Cities' City Pages says public radio's Pop Vultures is "conversational to the point of free association."
Supporters of public radio in Rhode Island plan to meet tomorrow with executives at Boston's WGBH about the future of their state's stations, reports the Providence Journal. (More in the Boston Globe.)
In a feature on nonprofit journalism by Carl Sessions Stepp, American Journalism Review finds that the PBS NewsHour, Pacifica's KPFK, NPR and several nonprofit periodicals enjoy (literally) a feeling of independence unknown to many media professionals. Via
WTTW plans to adapt its hit restaurant review series for other major market stations, according to Crain's Chicago Business.
PBS will move its headquarters to Crystal City, Va., in February 2006.
KUVO-FM in Denver became the first radio station to broadcast a live concert in digital surround sound, reports Radio Magazine. Also in Radio: the International Association of Audio Information Services has endorsed in-band, on-channel digital radio.
KCPW-FM in Salt Lake city aims to distinguish itself from competitor KUER-FM with shorter news reports and a new branding statement, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Oct 5, 2004

Last week's "Savage Love" featured a tie-in with public radio's The Next Big Thing.
Two top execs left the Public Radio Partnership in Louisville, Ky., as a result of restructuring, reports Business First of Louisville.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) praised CPB's recent grant supporting the Center for Native American Radio, reports Radio World.
Bob Edwards, making the media rounds to plug the launch of his new show on XM Radio, tells the New York Times he's excited about his new gig even though "you wouldn't think, at 57, you could get excited about much of anything." In a Q-and-A with media website, Edwards describes XM's plan for his show as "Let Bob be Bob." "So for better or worse," he says, "that's what you'll get."

Oct 2, 2004

Boston University is investigating charges of nepotism and financial mismanagement leveled anonymously against WBUR-FM, reports the Boston Herald. (More in the Boston Globe.)

Oct 1, 2004

Jim Lehrer's performance moderating last night's presidential debate drew widespread praise, but the conservative media watchblog NewsMax didn't like it one bit. (For more debate reviews, visit Romenesko and page down.)

Sep 30, 2004

Bob Edwards tells the Boston Globe that his talk show debuting Monday on XM Radio will spotlight "a more relaxed me." Also: an employee at Boston's WMBR protests cuts in world music and Haitian-oriented shows at the station. (Via Romenesko.)

Sep 29, 2004

WBUR-FM in Boston has delayed the sale of its Rhode Island stations at least until it replies to demands from the state's attorney general, reports the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal. The Journal also scrutinizes the payroll allocations among WBUR's operations.

Sep 27, 2004

WBUR-FM in Boston ran up deficits of almost $5 million from 1999 to 2003, reports the Providence Journal. The Journal also reports that Rhode Island's attorney general has asked WBUR for more financial information related to the possible sale of WRNI in Providence, and the state's Governor is concerned as well. (More in the Boston Globe.)
Public radio listeners in Humboldt County, Calif., are upset about Oregon-based Jefferson Public Radio's recent purchase of a local station that aired a continuous BBC feed, reports the Times-Standard.
The Washington Post briefly summarizes the threat satellite radio poses to public radio.

Sep 23, 2004

Tuesday's Diane Rehm Show celebrated the host's 25th year on the air.
The San Antonio Current profiles Joe Gwathmey, a founder of NPR and manager of KPAC/KSTX. "I've always had a populist streak," he says.
Longtime backers of Rhode Island's WRNI-FM are considering ways to keep the station public, reports the Providence Journal. The Journal also reports that WRNI's deficits topped $9 million in its first five years. And the Boston Phoenix calls on WBUR to be more open about its finances. The Phoenix's Dan Kennedy asks a few more questions on his blog.
When Bill O'Reilly gets it right, it means the news about the news could well get worse.

Sep 22, 2004

Mississippi Public Broadcasting has duct tape to thank for its weathering of Hurricane Ivan, reports the Kansas City Star.
Terry Gross and Bill O'Reilly rehashed their earlier confrontation on last night's O'Reilly Factor. "You pride yourself on being the toughest interviewer on TV, and to think that you couldn't stand up to my slightly challenging questions," Gross said. (Via Romenesko.)

Sep 21, 2004

CPB joined with the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to create a multiyear $3 million grant fund to aid local collaborative projects. IMLS is a federal agency comparable to the arts endowment.
Rhode Island's attorney general has asked Boston University to pull back from selling WRNI, WBUR's Rhode Island station, reports the Providence Journal.
Terry Gross appears on Bill O'Reilly's show tonight, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. She'll also show up on Hardball and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. (Fourth item. Via Romenesko.)
An Indiana man seeking to share time with educational FM stations has filed antitrust complaints in the proceedings, reports the Indianapolis Star.

Sep 20, 2004

An NPR listener complains to ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin that applause often follows audio clips of President Bush, but not Sen. John Kerry. You'll now hear applause after both.
Boston's WBUR-FM is selling WRNI, its Rhode Island station. The Providence Journal condemns the decision: "The people who have been so generous in funding the start-up and operation of WRNI have been treated shabbily." (More in the Journal, the Providence Phoenix and the Boston Herald.)

Sep 17, 2004

The Cincinnati Business Courier profiles WGUC-FM.
In a Sept. 11 address to the Society of Professional Journalists, Bill Moyers looks back on his career and affirms the importance of journalism. "I approach the end of my own long run believing more strongly than ever that the quality of journalism and the quality of democracy are inextricably joined," he says.

Sep 16, 2004

Sep 15, 2004

The New York Sun celebrates CPB's $4.5 million subsidy of the new TV series featuring the Wall Street Journal's editorial writers. Journal Editorial Report debuts this Friday on many PBS stations.

Sep 14, 2004

NPR and PBS host Tavis Smiley gave $1 million to Houston's Texas Southern University to support a communications school named after him, reports the Houston Chronicle. (More in USA Today. Via Romenesko.)

Sep 13, 2004

A Indiana broadcaster's attempt to force timeshares with educational stations is "an affront to the taxpayers," says a former educator in the Indianapolis Star. interviews Judy Adams, p.d. of WDET-FM in Detroit.
Actress Susan Sarandon will host the upcoming season of Independent Lens, which begins Oct. 26 on PBS.
"Friends of mine at WDUQ, I thank you for helping me to kill my television," writes a University of Pittsburgh student in praise of NPR. "You've taught me that the world continues to turn without breaking-news visuals of exploded body parts."

Sep 9, 2004

Users of can now subscribe to Public Radio International's BBC Newshour, Brain Brew, Whad'Ya Know? and The Next Big Thing.
Citing a poor funding climate for arts programming, WGBH cancelled Art Close Up, a pared down version of its Emmy-winning series Greater Boston Arts.
WTVS President Steve Antonniotti disputes an unflattering analysis of efficiencies in public TV fundraising. The analysis by Forbes (page down) juxtaposes compensation for the highest paid pubTV station chiefs with stats measuring the fundraising efficiencies of charitable organizations. (Registration required at

Sep 8, 2004

The Buffalo News profiles Terry Gross, whose latest compilation of interviews came out yesterday. Her guests show "how many ways there are of living an introspective, intelligent life," she says. (Via Romenesko.)

Sep 7, 2004

Recent shuffling of staff at Boston's WBUR included halving the news staff at WRNI, its Rhode Island station, according to the Providence Phoenix.
New radio episodes of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series debut this month on BBC Radio 4. Meanwhile, production is underway on the film version, which stars John Malkovich, Mos Def and Martin Freeman (who played Tim on BBC's The Office).

Sep 3, 2004

Westword looks at the competition KGNU could face in Denver from Air America, which Clear Channel is now piping into the city.
Garrison Keillor breathes fire in In These Times. "Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous," he writes in an excerpt from his latest book, Homegrown Democrat.
NPR's coverage of the lead-up to the Iraq war was mostly balanced, but Morning Edition interviews were soft and the domestic angle was neglected, says NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin in his Media Matters column.

Sep 2, 2004

The anti-Kerry Swift Boat smear was "dishonest in the extreme," writes journalism observer Jay Rosen, but the mainstream press is stunned to find that investigative stories on the campaign failed to "knock down" the accusations and stop replication of the "media virus" that may decide the presidential election.
With mainstream media folks tut-tutting about Fox and bloggers bringing viewpoint into news reporting, Poynter Institute's Geneva Overholser, herself a mainstream journalist and former ombudsman, points out: "Traditional media have a viewpoint. It's a good old conventional, "acceptable," middle-of-the-road viewpoint. It's the viewpoint, generally speaking, of the powerful -- which is by and large, even today, the view of well-to-do male white folks."

Sep 1, 2004

A would-be broadcaster in Indiana is exploiting a little-used FCC rule in an effort to share airtime with unwilling educational stations, reports the (Johnson County) Daily Journal.
CPB has brought back Peggy O'Brien as senior v.p., educational programming and services. In 1994-2000, she headed CPB's earliest Ready to Learn efforts and served as v.p. of education. Cheryl Williams, now v.p., will report to her. She comes from Cable in the Classroom, where she was executive director.

Aug 31, 2004

Members of Azerbaijan's parliament and its national TV and radio council left last week to study public TV in the United States, Baku Today reported. The tour, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, will stop in D.C., Ohio, Texas and New York.

Aug 30, 2004

The New York Times reports on the tensions stations feel about competing against NPR for major donors, and against satellite radio for listeners.
Clear Channel is distributing programming from liberal network Air America in five cities, reports the New York Times. Though public radio could lose listeners to the format, San Diego public station KPBS-FM has sold underwriting to Clear Channel as it advertises the change. Also in the Times, more coverage of KGNU-FM's purchase of a station in Denver.
In the Boston Globe's take on PBS's Friday-night pundit zone, hard-core lefties and righties alike accuse pubTV of kissing up to Congress. PBS still speaks only of "diversity."

Aug 27, 2004

Aug 26, 2004

Retired PBS newsman Robert MacNeil discusses the sanguinary political landscape in today's San Franciso Chronicle, claiming, "Democrats want to see more blood flow from the arrows of journalists and Republicans want more red meat out there going after Democrats." MacNeil also derides the Fox News Channel and wonders if journalism is returning to its partisan roots. (via
Beat reporters can be "secret weapons" for online news sites when they prepare FAQs, primers and other nondeadline pieces that web users would love, writes Dan Froomkin in the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review. He's talking about newspaper reporters, but the same could be said about people on the beat for pubradio.
More coverage of KGNU-FM's purchase of a Denver AM station in Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Business Journal and the (Boulder, Colo.) Daily Camera.

Aug 25, 2004

Development Exchange Inc. has posted an overview and white papers from May's Public Radio Leadership Forum.
David Lieberman reports in USA Today the view of Wall Street analyst Tom Wolzien: cable networks won't take much more audience from broadcasters unless cable spends heavily for more attractive programs. Cable nets already increased spending 30 percent in three years, but Wolzien says growing cable carriage and not programs explain cable's growth.
Community station KGNU-FM in Boulder, Colo., is paying $4.1 million for an AM station in nearby Denver.

Aug 24, 2004

North Dakota's Prairie Public Television lost its transmitter near Devil's Lake in an ice storm last May and hopes to restore it by spring 2005, the Grand Forks Herald reports. The capital cost to restore service to 9,000 people: $2 million.

Aug 23, 2004

Responding to a listener's gripe, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin supports reporting results from Olympic competitions as they come in. NPR reporter Howard Berkes concurs in a Poynter Online interview: "Holding the news to meet the scheduling preferences of rights-holding broadcasters does a disservice to listeners."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette examines the growth of WYEP-FM and the related tensions between funky eclecticism and buttoned-up professionalism.
The Cincinnati Enquirer explains why Robin Gehl, p.d. at all-classical WGUC-FM, is known as the "velvet steamroller."

Aug 22, 2004

A former finance-office employee at WTTW in Chicago was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from the station, AP reported. Fe Corizon Cruz-Fabunan agreed to pay back $370,000. [Earlier Current story.]

Aug 18, 2004

American University defended the firing of Susan Clampitt in a response to the lawsuit filed by the former g.m. of WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C. The university also denied Clampitt's charges against it and its president, Benjamin Ladner.

Aug 17, 2004

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher takes a quick look at the operating costs of D.C.-area public radio stations.

Aug 16, 2004

Wal-Mart is salving its public-relations wounds by buying underwriting credits on KCET (The Tavis Smiley Show) in addition to NPR, which has been running blurbs for the big retailer since February, reports the New York Times (as reprinted in the Wilmington, N.C., Star-News).
A Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer questions whether Minnesota Public Radio needed to buy WCAL: "[I]t's hard to understand how a virtual MPR monopoly in the state is a positive."

Aug 13, 2004

Staff and volunteers at KPFA-FM in Berkeley, Calif., are accusing the station's recently elected Local Station Board of micromanagment and unmerited attacks on staff. (Related Berkeley Daily Planet article.) In a letter to listeners, Interim General Manager Jim Bennett warns that "[t]he progressive politics that are sometimes put forward on the air will not flourish in a repressive mode of trying to get certain agendas rammed through." Pacifica's bylaws, enacted last year, provided for the creation and election of LSBs. Meanwhile, Pacifica pointed out that three of its stations have weekly cumulative audiences that put them among the top 30 in the country.
In The Nation, Eric Alterman, author of What Liberal Media?, concludes the funding of PBS's Tucker Carlson and Wall Street Journal shows resulted from "naked political pressure" by "crybaby conservatives."
A University of Wisconsin study finds that media ownership by national conglomerates doesn't reduce local news coverage -- in quantity, at least.

Aug 11, 2004

This article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian explores KALW's FCC troubles and wonders why the city's commercial stations aren't being held to the same standard. The story, titled "Squashing David, ignoring Goliath," quotes FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, who said they are "troubled by the message we send when we send small, independent stations to hearings but give a pass to stations owned by larger media companies for troubling allegations."
The school board in Austin, Minn., approved transfer of public TV station KSMQ to a new community nonprofit, the Austin Daily Herald reported. Consultant Don Thigpen, former head of WCEU in Daytona Beach, Fla., is acting manager.
St. Olaf's College will sell WCAL to Minnesota Public Radio for $10.5 milliion, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The college founded an AM precursor to the FM classical music station more than 80 years ago. Last year the station had member revenues of $860,000 and aid of $130,000 from the college, but the college discontinued its assistance this year, according to the Twin Cities Business Journal.

Aug 10, 2004

The Cartoon Network will launch a new block of preschool programs that aims to be "fun, funny, and fearless." Humor is a "skill kids need to know," said Alice Cahn, v.p. of development and programming, a former director of children's programs at PBS.

Aug 6, 2004

The Wall Street Journal will produce a new Friday-night roundtable, Journal Editorial Report, for PBS starting Sept. 17, WNET announced. The show has major funding from CPB and will feature members of the paper's famously conservative editorial board. They won't be "lapdogs" for the Bush administration, WNET's Stephen Segaller told the Hollywood Reporter.
In Bethlehem, Pa., the Lehigh Valley's public TV and radio stations, WLVT and WDIY, are talking merger, the Morning Call reports.
Martha Stewart Living will offer public TV stations a new half-hour program sharing the name of its Everyday Food magazine, WETA announced this week. Stewart's company, struggling to reestablish itself with its founder going to jail, lost $19 million in the second quarter, according to

Aug 3, 2004

Bob Wright, NBC Universal c.e.o. and now talent spotter, answered an indie dream by picking a documentary on capital punishment out of the Sundance Festival lineup and buying it for network broadcast, the New York Times reported. "Deadline" aired July 30 on NBC's Dateline. Kirsten Johnson, co-director and cinematographer for the doc, has run camera for several PBS programs.

Jul 29, 2004

The NewsHour's coverage of the Democratic National Convention is posting big audience gains for PBS, reports the New York Times.
The Washington Post has the details about Bob Edwards' new XM Radio gig.

Jul 28, 2004

Bob Edwards is leaving NPR to host a morning show on XM Radio, reports NPR. The network's initial reports that the show would involve Public Radio International were erroneous.

Jul 27, 2004

"Trying to track the unproven innuendoes and conspiracies in a Michael Moore film or book is as futile as trying to count the flatulence jokes in one by Adam Sandler," says NPR's Scott Simon in The Wall Street Journal.

Jul 26, 2004

WHUT in Washington, D.C., just launched its first pledge drive in eight years. "Our attitude is that every dollar we raise through this drive is a dollar more than we had last year," says Jennifer Lawson, general manager.
"By default, documentary filmmakers are put in a dissident position because we are being critical of what's happening in the world," says film director Mark Achbar in the Washington Post.
Lehrer tells Brokaw, Jennings and Rather: "You guys are a hell of a lot more important than your bosses are willing to admit." During a seminar yesterday on political reporting, Lehrer scolded the big networks for sparse primetime coverage of the party conventions. PBS's senior newsman elaborates on Poynter Online: "Journalism organizations that say the conventions are not important are essentially saying the election of a president is not important."

Jul 23, 2004

Microsoft is considering selling Slate, its online magazine, according to the Washington Post and New York Times. NPR partners with Slate to produce Day to Day, its midday newsmag.

Jul 22, 2004

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved today a bill that would allow for more low-power FM stations.
Bob Edwards declined to tell the (White River Junction, Vt.) Valley News whether he'll return to NPR after his book tour ends in two weeks. (Via Romenesko.)

Jul 21, 2004

After a $12,000 travel spree charged to the credit cards of public TV donors in North Carolina, a former temp for UNC-TV was arrested last weekend on charges of grand larceny and identity theft.
Contrary to reports in August's Vanity Fair, Bob Edwards is not shrinking. A miscommunication led the glossy monthly to list the 6'4 Edwards as 5'7. The Washington Post's Richard Leiby reports that NPR alerted him to the gaffe in an e-mail with the subject "Bob Edwards is not a midget."

Jul 20, 2004

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation meets Thursday to consider Sen. John McCain's low-power FM bill.
In a content analysis of WTTW's flagship series Chicago Tonight, the activist group Chicago Media Action determined that more than half of the stories broadcast over three months dealt with sports and entertainment and that guests and commentators were predominantly white males.

Jul 19, 2004

Thomas Madigan, who produced an Emmy-winning PBS documentary, died at the age of 85, reports the New York Times. Madigan also oversaw corporate underwriting at several big public TV stations.
Democracy Now host Amy Goodman in Clamor Magazine, addressing the media's reporting on the Iraq War: "And now that we know they got it wrong — and they know it — they’re still bringing on the same people, asking how did we get it wrong? What about letting someone who didn’t get it wrong speak?"

Jul 16, 2004

The Senate Commerce Committee will vote Tuesday on Sen. John McCain's low-power FM bill, reports Radio World. McCain's bill would remove most third-adjacent protections for full-power stations, allowing more LPFM stations to get on the air.

Jul 15, 2004

The Star-Telegram analyzes the press tour spin on why PBS gave a new show to CNN host Tucker Carlson. (Registration required.)
McSweeney's presents "My Son's Appearance on Fresh Air". It's good to know the specialized field of public radio satire is finding a ready outlet.

Jul 14, 2004

Susan Clampitt, former g.m. of WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., has filed a $12 million lawsuit against American University over her dismissal, reports the Washington Times (second item). Clampitt came under fire for alleged problems of overspending and low morale at the station, as Current reported last year.

Jul 13, 2004

Tim Goodman, the TV critic who described PBS as the "worst-run media company in the world," reflects on what it's like to meet face-to-face with the media executives he lambasts in the San Francisco Chronicle. (PBS responded to Goodman's "vitriol" in a letter to the editor published in May.)
Nashville Public Television recently severed all ties to the Metro Public Schools that once held its license, but it faces a $1.1 million shortfall with the end of local subsidies, reports the Tennessean. NPT looks to replace the public monies with datacasting revenues.
In the Chicago Sun-Times, public radio bigshots including Terry Gross, Ira Glass and Larry Josephson weigh in on the appeal of Howard Stern.

Jul 12, 2004

The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes pokes fun at PBS President Pat Mitchell's explanation of why Tucker Carlson deserves a show on PBS (scroll down). But other TV critics loved it when Carlson, appearing at the TCA summer press tour, ripped Fox's Bill O'Reilly. "Tucker Carlson is funny, disarming, charming even," opines a critic for the Times-Picayune.
Jeff Smith, enthusiastic host of The Frugal Gourmet, died at age 65, reports the Seattle Times. Once one of public TV's most popular talents, Smith's broadcast career ended after a sex scandal.
"Having now been bleeped, I can only say that it doesn't feel very good. It feels kind of dirty." Richard Dreyfuss, star of a new PBS police drama that was edited for naughty words, lambasted the FCC's crackdown on broadcast indecency and its chilling effects on speech and creativity. The San Francisco Chronicle's Tim Goodman reports on the controversy and why PBS is in no position to challenge the FCC.

Jul 8, 2004

Jul 7, 2004

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin looks at perceived contradictions in the network's reporting — including use of the terms "terrorist" and "militant," a dilemma which has dogged NPR (and other news outlets) before.
Broadcasters commenting on the FCC's proposed rules for digital radio have generally asked for loose restrictions and freedom to apportion digital bandwidth as they see fit, according to a Radio Magazine summary.

Jun 30, 2004

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin asks whether the network's music reviews are too "incomprehensible" to most listeners. "They seem to tell most of us not to bother listening -- this information is not for you, but only for the people who are part of the scene," he writes.
NPR's Bob Edwards has received about 20 job offers in radio, TV and academia since March, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader. "I'm listening," he says.
Other print media have failed to make the transition to TV, but a report published in the San Jose Mercury News about the New York Times's TV venture with Discovery Communications says the cable channel has a distinct Timesness.
The Washington Post reports on Discovery Communications' new business delivering streamed video to classrooms. "The long-term hope is that as households become better wired, we can provide a digital library," says Donald Baer, senior executive of strategy. "Once we deliver in the education field, Discovery will be the brand you can trust and bring into the home."

Jun 29, 2004

Bob Edwards tells the Memphis Commercial Appeal that he has "not a clue" what his specific reporting duties will be at NPR, and doesn't quibble with a reporter's assertion that Morning Edition has lost its distinctiveness.
Blogger and public radio programmer Eric Nuzum is joining NPR in August as program and acquisitions manager, a new position.

Jun 24, 2004

NPR ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin addresses listener queries about the influence of fundraising concerns on the network's editorial decisions in this column on Though he writes that there is a growing concern about the issue "both outside and inside NPR," Dvorkin concludes that "it would take more than a few Wal-Mart underwriting messages" to corrupt the network's journalistic integrity. (via Romenesko)

Jun 23, 2004

Big PDF of a conversation between Ira Glass, host of This American Life, and graphic novelist Chris Ware.
In a financial report (PDF), the c.f.o. of Pacifica warns that the network "cannot survive" its current level of spending on governance, which includes the cost of its elaborate board elections.
You won't see Bob Edwards on TV anytime soon. "It's so bogus," he tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "They put makeup on you. There are cardboard bookcases behind you. I can't feel normal."
"If you can make it through this show without crying, consider yourself a stoic." The Boston Globe reviews Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues, an American Masters documentary debuting tonight on PBS.
Around Town, WETA-TV's last regularly scheduled local series, is being reformatted into interstitial spots, reports the Washington Post. Television V.P. Kevin Harris, who decided to end the show's 18-year run as a weekly, aims to reach more viewers by sprinkling segments on local arts and culture into primetime program breaks. "We think it's changing into a really dynamic format," Harris told the Post.

Jun 21, 2004

The St. Paul Pioneer Press covers Minnesota Public Radio's groundbreaking on its big new headquarters in downtown St. Paul. (Reg. req.)
In a June 16 New York Times op-ed, NPR's Juan Williams praised George W. Bush and advised him on how to attract more black votes. On Morning Edition, Williams regularly interviews members of Bush's administration.

Jun 18, 2004

Nap Turner, a fixture on the Washington, D.C., jazz and blues scene and a deejay on Pacifica's WPFW-FM, died yesterday. The Washington Post's Marc Fisher remembers him.

Jun 17, 2004

St. Louis Post-Dispatch media writer Eric Mink lauds Frontline's Ofra Bikel in this column. (via

Jun 16, 2004

Jun 15, 2004

NPR will invest $15 million over the next three years in news programming, the network announced today. The money comes from the payout of the invested Joan Kroc gift.
KVCR-FM in San Bernardino, Calif., may drop A Prairie Home Companion, reports the San Bernardino County Sun. Larry Ciecalone, g.m. of KVCR, tells Current that a new affiliation fee from Minnesota Public Radio has prompted the decision. The crunch also led to program cuts at WRVO-FM in Oswego, N.Y.

Jun 11, 2004

The Christian Science Monitor writes up low-power FM and, in an editorial, backs the Senate bill that would expand LPFM.
Appearing on On the Media, New Yorker writer Ken Auletta says CPB's decision to back new shows with conservative hosts, but not Bill Moyers' Now, exposes an agenda at work.

Jun 10, 2004

The big religious broadcaster Daystar Television has bought its second public TV station in recent months -- WTBU in Indianapolis, sold by Butler University for $4 million, local TV station WRTV reported June 9. The university explained earlier why it was cashing in. Last summer, KERA in Dallas sold one of its two channels to Daystar for $20 million. Daystar is also suing an Orange County college to buy public TV station KOCE. The network says it owns and operates more than 30 stations.

Jun 9, 2004

Comcast is in advanced negotiations to create a 24-hour preschool channel with PBS and producers of Barney and Sesame Street, according to a Wall Street Journal report summarized by Reuters. (Earlier coverage in Current.)
Democracy Now host Amy Goodman sat down for a long interview with C-Span's Brian Lamb on Booknotes.
Public Radio International will distribute Odyssey, the weekday talk show from WBEZ in Chicago, beginning July 1.

Jun 7, 2004

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher details why Washington, D.C., has almost no college radio stations.
The Weekly Standard discusses at length the tensions between news/talk and classical programming on public radio. Audience researcher David Giovannoni says a lot of classical music programmers "are living in the past."
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a bill Friday that would allow more low-power FM stations to get on the air. (PDF of bill.) Their effort follows an FCC-commissioned study that recommended relaxing interference protections on full-power stations. (More in the Washington Post.)
An analyst tells Forbes that the market for digital radio will start to pick up next year or in 2006.
The war in Iraq--especially the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal--have eclipsed Bono and Janet Jackson, the New York Times reports. This article says indecency legislation crafted this spring is increasingly unlikely to reach President Bush's desk before the November election. The story claims politicians "who push too hard on the decency issue may risk appearing to have their priorities out of whack." Also: Broadcasting & Cable reports that an upcoming episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will "explore the rights of those who express their views over public airwaves." The show will hinge on the alleged offenses of a Howard Stern stand-in.

Jun 4, 2004

Rising program costs have prompted WRVO-FM in Oswego, N.Y., to drop some PRI shows and consider axing The Splendid Table, reports the Syracuse Post-Standard. MPR will soon distribute its own shows, which costs stations that air its programming an additional affiliation fee.