Jul 29, 2005

Ten public interest groups have asked CPB for "increased openness and transparency in the way the CPB board operates and conducts its meetings." "Citizens should not be kept in the dark about how the CPB does its work," said Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause.
Another article about the Prairie Home Companion movie, this one from the Washington Post. "It's very difficult for him," says director Robert Altman of his collaborator, Garrison Keillor. "It's the first time he's had anybody that can override him." At PHC's website, Keillor responds to a dismissive comment about Lindsay Lohan, who recently wrapped her appearance in the film: "[A]ll of us around the movie set smile at the mention of her name and sort of miss her."

Jul 28, 2005

In a meeting with Washington Times staffers, CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson defended his efforts to correct what he sees as a liberal tilt in public broadcasting and said "NPR's got real problems." Tomlinson also appeared Sunday on C-SPAN's Q&A.
Writer Rick Moody critiques public radio at Transom: "Oh, here come the exotic sitars, to indicate that the story is from another part of the world."
The Public Radio Exchange v. 2.0 has arrived.
In an AP profile, On the Media hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield cite The Daily Show as a primary inspiration.

Jul 27, 2005

Columnist Nat Hentoff says CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson demeans Bush administration leaders by implying they need his "ham-handed" defense from criticism on public TV. Hentoff, however, concludes media should avoid these problems by rejecting government funding altogether.
The FCC has decided in favor of 14 Calvary Chapels seeking licenses for low-power FM stations. (PDF.) The National Lawyers Guild Center on Democratic Communications had opposed the would-be broadcasters, arguing that they had not sufficiently demonstrated a commitment to local broadcasting. The FCC at first agreed with the Guild, but the Chapels revised their applications and prevailed.
The winning of an award from Jazz Week magazine has prompted KUVO-FM in Denver to relax its dress code, reports the Denver Post. (A dress code in public radio? Must be a first.)

Jul 26, 2005

Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president of WETA-TV/FM in Washington, D.C., has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, according to FishbowlDC. She will receive treatment in coming months and will hand the reins over to Joe Bruns, WETA's executive v.p., during that time. (Statement from her husband, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.)) (Via DCRTV.)
David Boaz of the Cato Institute offers ten top reasons to privatize public broadcasting.
Will Shortz, puzzlemaster for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, has the hottest mind of the New York Times' male staffers, according to Gawker readers.
Columnist Robert Novak reports on the "surprising relationships" that weren't disclosed during the July 11 Senate hearing on public broadcasting, which he describes as an orchestrated ambush of CPB Board Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson.

Jul 25, 2005

The Chicago Sun-Times goes behind the scenes with Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!, which recently switched to live tapings before an audience. "[W]e did it so long without an audience it was almost like a rehearsal, a six-year rehearsal," says Doug Berman, e.p. "And we got so good at it that by the time we went out in front of an audience, it was great every time." (Via Romenesko.)
In the New York Times, This American Life host Ira Glass expresses mixed reactions about the show's recent experiments with television.
An executive council seeking the director of the new Iowa Public Radio network is looking for a candidate with "Midwestern cultural competency," according to the Iowa State Daily.
Producer Jay Allison offers stations tips for creating interstitial content on their airwaves, including "Sonic IDs".
The New York Times looks at Open Source, the new show from Christopher Lydon: "Because of the program's interactive component, its benchmark of success might be less the number of stations that ultimately carry the program and more the online presence Open Source establishes."
The New York Times drops in on the set of A Prairie Home Companion The Movie. "All of us understand and respond to the fact that this is his [Garrison Keillor's] baby, he is the creator, and that this is a 30-year project being immortalized on film," says actress Virginia Madsen. (Coverage in Current.)

Jul 23, 2005

Jul 20, 2005

A Harvard professor laments the cancellation of WBUR's The Connection: "While a growing audience is desirable, that should not be the chief criterion for a public broadcast outlet." And Mark Jurkowitz notes the firing of WBUR reporter Michael Goldfarb.

Jul 19, 2005

CPB's redesigned website includes detailed results from opinion polls that measured public perceptions of bias in pubcasting programs in 2002 and 2003. The survey findings don't support CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson's view of liberal bias on PBS and NPR. As researchers wrote in a summary, "[b]oth surveys confirm the same thing: The majority of the U.S. adult population does not believe that the news and information programming on public broadcasting is biased."

Jul 18, 2005

CPB denied funding to Theory of Everything, reports host Benjamen Walker, who adds that it might be "the beginning of the end for the radio program."
"Something fishy is going on at PBS," says Candorville.
Boston's WBUR will cancel The Connection and move On Point into the vacated morning time slot, reports the Boston Globe. A Globe columnist praises the changes at WBUR and competitor WGBH: "The Montagues at 'BUR are beefing up their signature local news, while the Capulets at 'GBH are finally pursuing their mandate as our arts and culture station with some juice." (More coverage from WBUR.)
The New York Times reviews two recently published histories of public radio: "Although the two books share a lot, they are separated by a substantial accomplishment gap."

Jul 15, 2005

Jim Terr offers a new song, "Hands Off My NPR" (MP3, Windows Media also available). "You can do anything to my blue suede shoes/You can splash mud on my car/But you’re gonna be awful sorry/If you mess with my NPR." Terr has also written a musical lament about Susan Stamberg's cranberry relish recipe.
Fitch Ratings affirmed Colorado Public Radio's bonds as stable but has downgraded Nashville Public Radio's bonds to negative, citing the station's negative operating margins and "resulting liquidity drawdowns to cover debt service costs."
Cheryl Halpern, a major Republican donor on the CPB Board, is likely successor to Ken Tomlinson as chair, the Washington Post reports. His term expires in September. Halpern stirred debate in a 2003 Senate hearing when she objected that the CPB Board lacks the power to do much about its balance mandate. When she and Tomlinson served on the board overseeing VOA, she said, they could remove journalists who editorialized.

Jul 14, 2005

The Senate Appropriations Committee today backed the addition of $111M to the $400M CPB advance appropriation for FY08 recently approved by the House, APTS reported. The Senate panel okayed $35M for DTV conversion, $40M for an upgrade of pubTV's satellite system, $25M for Ready to Learn and $11 million for Ready to Teach.
CPB has released an RFP for public radio music programming. Proposals will compete for $1 million of the $6.4 million available this year for national radio programming.
An upcoming Masterpiece Theater will feature Rupert Everett as Sherlock Holmes, prompting the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes to quip that the network "must now find a Masterpiece Theatre production starring a homophobic actor to preserve that perfect 'balance' demanded by Corporation for Public Broadcasting chief Ken Tomlinson."
"'[B]alance' is not the whole story and supporters of public broadcasting should not take it as some sort of gold standard," writes former CPB employee Elizabeth Spiro Clark on
Some newspapers misreported how much CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson spent to hire lobbyists and commission Fred Mann's report, CJR Daily points out.

Jul 13, 2005

The Public Radio Exchange Flickr stream offers a behind-the-scenes photographic peek into the innovative online content shop.
HearingVoices offers a pop quiz on radio with some questions related to public broadcasting.
Guests on yesterday's Democracy Now! debated whether public broadcasting should be federally funded and other matters. (A nimble argument from David Boaz of the Cato Institute: "[Y]our bias is subtle enough that most of your viewers don't recognize it, and that's the most effective bias of all.")
CPB's Inspector General will also investigate whether the agency's hiring of Patricia Harrison as president was inappropriately conducted, according to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who requested the inquiry. CPB Board member Ernest Wilson said on yesterday's Democracy Now! that he "was disturbed by the way in which the search was conducted." Meanwhile, PBS President Pat Mitchell called CPB's monitoring of public TV programming for liberal bias "very troubling," reports the Washington Post.
"16 seconds of audible breathing from one hour's worth of All Things Considered," courtesy of artist Chuck Jones. (MP3. Via WFMU-FM's excellent blog.)

Jul 12, 2005

The New York Times covers CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson's appearance in the Senate yesterday.
CPB's new ombudsmen have so far found no political bias on their beat, but instead "have been positively glowing in their assessments of the journalism heard on NPR and seen on news shows distributed by PBS," says the Washington Post.

Jul 11, 2005

Patricia Harrison, the controversially-appointed new president of CPB, today made her first public appearance in that role. In testimony before the Senate subcommittee overseeing CPB, Harrison pled pubcasting's case for greater federal funding than the House has approved to this point. "The federal dollars are critical to leveraging all the other resources," she said. "It opens the door for funding from state and local governments, universities, businesses, foundations, by providing a “seal of approval” from the federal government." Embattled CPB Board Chair Ken Tomlinson also appeared to add his two cents and take shots from senators regarding his efforts to hire consultants and otherwise act on his much-reported concerns about pubcasting balance. "You've perceived a problem the American people don't perceive," said Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) during a contentitous barrage of questions. Responding to a query from multiple lawmakers, Tomlinson said he'd "absolutely" be willing to meet Bill Moyers for a televised debate on pubTV balance issues, but said it "wouldn't be good for public broadcasting." Tomlinson's written statement also defended the much-maligned Hallmark, er, Mann study. PBS President Pat Mitchell and APTS President John Lawson also testified, as did David Boaz, executive v.p. of the Cato Institute, who argued that the government should end all federal funding for pubcasting within five years.
The Washington Post previews how digital broadcasting will change radio.

Jul 6, 2005

NPR should not have aired the testimony of the "BTK" killer, says NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin.
Betsy Gardella was named g.m. of New Hampshire Public Radio, replacing Mark Handley.
Slate blogger Mickey Kaus takes exception to the New York Times Magazine's fawning June 26 profile of KCRW's Nic Harcourt. "Harcourt's scared to rock," Kaus claims. (via
The Situation with Tucker Carlson may not be bad for America, but does seem to weaken the "intellectual standing" of its host, writes a New York Times critic.

Jul 5, 2005

With Apple's introduction of podcast features into iTunes, "every public radio station probably should be offering podcasts by now," writes Steve Outing.
Garrison Keillor blends optimism and wistfulness in his debut newspaper column.
A Berkeley Daily Planet article details some of the latest disputes engulfing Pacifica's KPFA-FM.
Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg says public TV is liberal ("it just is") and shot through with contradictions between its claims and its reality. Cal Thomas meanwhile focuses on Moyers, citing a Current article.
The progressive website Media Matters asked CPB to recognize the Freedom of Information Act and release the bias studies commissioned by Chairman Ken Tomlinson. CPB contends that it isn't subject to FOIA scrutiny but in the past has pledged to abide by it voluntarily.

Jul 2, 2005

Only 42 percent of Americans think the press generally stands up for America, says a study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The score on that question returns to pre-9/11 days. After 9/11 it soared to 69 percent. Views different greatly by party affiliation, Pew notes: The press is too critical, say 67 percent of Repubs, 24 percent of Dems.
The National Park Service is rebalancing the politics of a video shown to visitors of the Lincoln Memorial, adding footage of pro-gun and pro-war marches and other right-side events to scenes of civil rights rallies and the like, AP reported.

Jul 1, 2005

In today's Washington Post, public broadcasters and reporters labeled with the scarlet "L" respond to the content analysis study commissioned by CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. The Los Angeles Times and New York Times also report on the study in today's editions. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who released the study, called it "a little nutty."