Oct 31, 2006

Woodruff to host Bloomberg election coverage

TV news vet Judy Woodruff, special correspondent for the NewsHour, will host Election Night coverage next week on Bloomberg TV, a 24-hour business-and-financial news cable channel, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer (via CTAM SmartBrief). Woodruff spent much of last summer working on a broad youth-focused multimedia PBS initiative, Generation Next. An hour-long doc will debut on PBS in January.

Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth: Chick or Treat

"The Chicken Man is in the house today" at NPR. Consider yourself warned.

Oct 27, 2006

NPR asks FCC for modulator recall

NPR has asked the FCC to recall millions of FM modulators that enable drivers to play iPods and satellite radios through their car stereos, reports the Baltimore Sun. The network found that nearly 40 percent of the devices have signal strengths that exceed FCC limits, "enabling them to break into FM broadcasts in nearby cars with unwanted programming." Non-commercial radio stations are especially vulnerable to interference because while newer modulators can be tuned to any FM frequency, older models still in use only offer consumers a choice from frequencies below 89 MHz. The FCC says NPR's request is under review. See also Radio World.

KQED members disenfranchise themselves

The membership of San Francisco's KQED gave up their right to elect the station's board of directors in a three-week mail balloting, the San Francisco Chronicle reports today. They voted two-to-one to end the board elections, which the station said were expensive ($250,000 was the cost cited) and delayed decision- making. Large majorities also voted to change the licensee's name to Northern California Public Broadcasting and make five other changes to its legal documents, according to KQED's announcement yesterday. KQED said it received about 30,000 ballots from its membership of 190,000, or about 15 percent of those eligible. Most stations have self-elected boards or are parts of larger nonprofits that do.

Oct 26, 2006

Iowa Public Radio starts blogging

Iowa Public Radio has started a blog for communicating with its listeners as it morphs its three formerly disparate stations into a unified statewide network. "Iowans will be able to talk back to us, and they’ll be able to talk among themselves," writes Todd Mundt, IPR's director of content and media, on his blog. (Earlier coverage in Current of the network's genesis.)

Yahoo highlights blog

Yahoo made Remotely Connected, a collaborative review blog, its website pick of the day for Oct. 26. The PBS project invites "a small, diverse group of bloggers" to comment "on major PBS programs airing in October and November, in an open forum."

Survey: 1 in 10 online consumers use Internet to watch TV

A new survey by the the Conference Board's Consumer Internet Barometer says 1 in 10 online consumers now watches TV online, reports Multichannel Newswire. The most popular methods for viewing the broadcasts are streaming and free download, according to the survey: "Very few consumers are willing to pay per download or enroll in subscription services."

Oct 25, 2006

NPR won't air ads for controversial film

NPR won't carry sponsor credits for the British film, "Death of a President," Reuters and others report. The movie is presented as a documentary following the investigation into President Bush's murder in October 2007. NPR says the film is likely to generate controversy and news stories, and doesn't want listeners to suspect that coverage is influenced by a sponsor relationship. CNN, which is also refusing ads for the film, is doing so because of "the extreme nature of the movie's subject matter," Reuters reports.

Morrill profile

Boise Weekly profiles Peter Morrill, g.m. of Idaho PTV.

Oct 24, 2006

Founder of WXXI dies

Harold Hacker, a founding director of WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., has died at the age of 90, reports the Associated Press.

MacArthur unveils digital media initiative

How does the widespread use of digital media affect young people and change the way they learn? The MacArthur Foundation will spend $50 million over five years to help answer this question. In addition to funding research and learning projects for its Digital Media and Learning Initiative, the foundation also launched Spotlight, a blog covering developments in in the field. PBS TeacherSource blogger Andy Carvin reports on the initiative in his latest column.

Pledge drive photos

Savor the vicarious thrills of a public radio pledge drive thanks to these photos from Spokane Public Radio. Mmmm mmmm, smell that bacon!

WFDD considers citizen journalism center

WFDD-FM in Winston-Salem, N.C., is considering creating a center for citizen journalism, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.

Global "Sesame Street ": more than numbers and letters

The Los Angeles Times reviews The World According to Sesame Street, a documentary examining Sesame Workshop's international co-productions in three countries. The film launches the new season of Independent Lens.

Oct 23, 2006

MPR's Buzenberg heads to Center for Public Integrity

Bill Buzenberg will join the Center for Public Integrity next year as its executive director. He is now senior v.p. of news for American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and served as news v.p. at NPR in the '90s. Based in Washington, D.C., CPI does investigative reporting and research on public policy issues.

Mixing journalism and social favors

After interviewing Wal-Mart Chief Executive H. Lee Scott in August about the company's new environmental initiative, PBS's Charlie Rose will co-host a private dinner tonight honoring Scott for his environmental work. Is there something wrong with this? PBS doesn't think so, but PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler does.

Pacifica, FSRN Reach Deal -- Rolas de Aztlan: KPFT Notes

The Pacifica Foundation and Free Speech Radio News have agreed to work toward integrating FSRN into the radio network, Pacifica announced last week. The progressive newscast airs on more than 90 stations.

Vermont Public Radio bars candidate for fear of profanity -

Vermont Public Radio barred a third-party candidate for the U.S. Senate from an upcoming forum because of fears that he might use profanity on the air, reports the Associated Press. Peter Diamondstone, a Liberty Union party candidate, was expelled from a debate last week and handcuffed after using profanity and exceeding time limits.

Katherine Lanpher's midlife adventure could inspire others to take a leap, too

The St. Paul Pioneer Press profiles Katherine Lanpher, the former host of a talk show on Minnesota Public Radio who left for New York to join Air America. "There were nights in those first months when I wondered if I'd wrecked the rest of my life," she says. "That is what's so great about the book. I wrote my own rescue."

Technology360: HD Radio PAD: solutions in search of problems?

Yet more skepticism about HD Radio -- this from John Proffitt of KAKM-TV/KSKA-FM in Anchorage, Alaska. "I'm just deeply concerned that the 'neat' stuff HD Radio 'could' do is oversold and cannot possibly deliver -- not technologically, but in terms of market acceptance."

Oct 19, 2006

NPR : We've Run Our Course, But Stay Tuned...

NPR is ending its "Mixed Signals" blog but expects to create some new ones. "The scattershot nature of Mixed Signals didn't really work," writes JJ Sutherland, who asks the blog's readers to share their ideas for NPR's future blogs and online interactions with listeners.

Oct 18, 2006

John Sutton: NPR may be overstating cume

Consultant John Sutton looks at how different methods of calculating cume audience for public radio produce varying results. "There is strong evidence that the National Public Radio network Cume is overstated by as much as 15 percent," he says.

Oct 17, 2006

Study finds link between autism, tots' TV

Slate reports on a Cornell University study that found a statistically significant link between autism rates and television viewing by children under the age of three.

WFMU's Beware of the Blog: Open Post: College Radio Stories

Commenters on WFMU's blog share stories about working in college radio.

Discovery thriving with smarter fare

Discovery has boosted its ratings by returning to its educational roots, says Advertising Age (via SmartBrief, from the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing).

Nielsen-funded study to examine new media use

Ball State University's Center for Media Design will conduct a pilot study "examining how individuals consume traditional and emerging video platforms inside and outside the home," reports Adweek. The study, commissioned by the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence, is part of the ratings giant's efforts to get a better handle on measuring emerging platforms such as video-on-demand and broadband video.

Oct 16, 2006

UMass Lowell to pull support for Open Source

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell will end support for public radio's Open Source as of December, reports the Lowell Sun. "It's basically an expensive program that, given our financial situation, doesn't make sense for the university," said David MacKenzie, the university's interim chancellor. "I just felt we had other things that were higher on the priority list." The show's producers "haven't the least hesitation" in promising to keep it going, writes host and co-creator Christopher Lydon on Open Source's blog. "We need your help and encouragement as we have from the start, or maybe just a little more so," he tells listeners. (Current article on the show.)

Disney gains audience, buzz factor

In the kid's media biz, "the buzz today is around Disney," according to the New York Times.

Andy Carvin reviews Google for Educators

PBS TeacherSource blogger Andy Carvin is underwhelmed by Google for Educators, a new website for K-12 teachers.

CPB hires ad exec to lead public awareness campaign

CPB hired ad and PR veteran Del Galloway to lead its Public Awareness initiative.

Moyers: "Tomlinson had a chilling effect"

Bill Moyers on PBS, from a Boston Globe Q-and-A: "It’s a place where if you fight you can survive, but it’s not easy. The fact of the matter is that Kenneth Tomlinson had a chilling effect down the line."

WRFG's Ebon Dooley dies

Ebon Dooley, co-founder and broadcast director of WRFG-FM in Atlanta, died Oct. 12, according to the station. Dooley also represented affiliate stations on the Board of Directors of the Pacifica Foundation. Greg Guma, Pacifica's executive director, called Dooley "a warm and courageous man." "He was truly committed to the idea that radio could bring about social change, that the things we do make an actual difference," said a WRFG host in the Atlanta Progressive News.

Marimow steps down as head of news at NPR

More on the resignation of NPR's Bill Marimow in the Baltimore Sun. "He was committed to excellent journalism, but the job also requires attention to other things, to radio programming and the connection of that programming to member stations," Jay Kernis, NPR's v.p. of programming, tells the paper. "His attention was focused on part of the picture, and we needed focus on a bigger picture." Also, the latest version of the New York Times' article.

Oct 13, 2006

NPR's Marimow steps down as news veep

Bill Marimow resigned last night as NPR's v.p. of news and will become its ombudsman, reports the Washington Post. NPR staffers told the Post that Marimow and Jay Kernis, v.p. of programming and his immediate boss, had clashed about "the scope and nature of his responsibilities." UPDATE: The New York Times has posted an expanded version of its original article. "Colleagues said that Mr. Marimow, a long-time print journalist and investigative reporter, was perceived as having failed to adapt quickly enough to radio, particularly as radio converges with the Internet," the Times reports. "They also said that he was on the wrong side of an internal power struggle." NPR's Nell Boyce, blogging at Mixed Signals, writes about the decision from the inside in a long post. She says the mood at the meeting where Marimow's resignation was announced was "solemn" and that Marimow was conspicuously absent.

This American Life offers podcasts

This American Life will offer its show in podcast form for the first time starting this weekend. Each episode will be available free for a week, and subscribers to the show's podcast through will get a refund. TAL's listeners have been critical of the show's approach to digital delivery.

Radio World NewsBytes

The FCC will not accept minor change applications during the application window for an upcoming auction, according to Radio World.

Oct 12, 2006

Women of NPR lend names to goats

Your next cheeses from Wisconsin might come from goats named after Cokie Roberts and Nina Totenberg, notes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Fantome Farm in Ridgeway, Wis., is home to a herd of goats named after "inspiring women," including the NPR analyst and reporter. (Via NPR's Mixed Signals.)

CPB Board's Pryor recovering after major heart surgery

Former U.S. Sen. David Pryor, named last month to the CPB Board, is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark., reports the Arkansas News Bureau. Pryor was admitted to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Monday night after complaining of chest tightness and pressure, the paper reports. The 72-year-old Pryor previously underwent bypass surgery following a heart attack in 1991.

Grant turns up volume on UB program - Business First of Buffalo:

WNED in Buffalo, N.Y., and the University of Buffalo are preparing to launch a public radio series based on oral histories of African-American women, reports Buffalo Business First. The producers received $280,000 for the project last year from CPB.

Oct 11, 2006

Austin City Limits to leave longtime home

Austin City Limits will move out of its studio on the University of Texas campus, its home for the past 32 years, and into a new downtown Austin facility in 2009, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Bill Stotesberry, KRLU g.m., says the new theater will be roughly the same size as the current studio but will accomodate three times as many seats.

PRPD general sessions

The Public Radio Program Directors Association has posted audio files of general sessions from this year's PRPD conference at its website.

O'Bryon fills Boland's chair in SF

Linda O'Bryon, a creator and onetime co-anchor of pubTV's Nightly Business Report at WPBT in Miami, joins San Francisco-based Northern California Public Broadcasting (KQED/KTEH) as chief content officer, says the Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. O'Bryon is now NBR's executive editor and g.m. of WPBT's NBR Enterprises. John Boland, her predecessor in San Francisco, set off an instance of musical chairs when he moved to PBS as its first chief content officer in June.

Oct 10, 2006

WITF Spotlight: I Can Laugh About It Now: My Most Embarrassing Moment On-Air (or In-Print)

Staffers at WITF in Harrisburg, Pa., share embarrassing moments from their broadcasting career: "I have one, but it involves transposing the initial consonants in the phrase 'forty bucks,' so I'm guessing it'll be inappropriate to share."

Habeas Motion by PNB

The Pacifica Foundation passed a resolution last week empowering its executive director to "use the resources of the foundation to educate and inform the public" about U.S. Senate Bill 3930, which addresses the rights of detainees. The legislation "has given President Bush extraordinary and chilling power to indefinitely detain and try prisoners in the so-called war on terror," the resolution says.

RadioSutton: New Arbitron Survey, Same Results (mostly)

John Sutton looks at the latest national Arbitron data for public radio's audience, which shows continuing declines in most measurements, although cume rebounded somewhat. "The loss of Share means public radio is losing ground in the radio marketplace," he writes. "A decline in Loyalty, if further analysis shows that's the case, means that public radio listeners are still using the radio but choosing to spend an increasing amount of the radio listening time with commercial broadcasters."

An Interview with NPR Digital's GM Maria Thomas | Digital Media Wire

NPR's upcoming music website will not directly offer song downloads, says Maria Thomas, v.p. of digital media, in an interview with Digital Media Wire. Thomas also says that it's unlikely public radio will create a central web portal, an idea espoused by Mark Fuerst, executive director of the Integrated Media Association, in a Current commentary.

Motorola to offer pubradio content

Motorola announced yesterday that it will offer programs from NPR, Public Radio International and American Public Media to mobile phones via its iRadio service.

Oct 5, 2006

Cal State Long Beach picks Mt. Wilson as prospective operator of KKJZ-FM

The California State Long Beach Foundation has chosen Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters Inc. as the prospective operator of KKJZ-FM (PDF). The foundation's Board of Directors heard recommendations tonight from an evaluation committee. Also bidding were Pacific Public Radio, the nonprofit that has run the station since 1987; Southern California Public Radio, the L.A. sibling of Minnesota Public Radio; and the Jazz Institute of Los Angeles. Mt. Wilson already operates two commercial outlets: K-Mozart, an FM classical station, and KKGO-AM, which airs adult standards. (More coverage in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.)

Ohio county to lose NPR

Adams County in Ohio stands to lose its sole NPR station with the sale of WVXW-FM to a Christian broadcaster, reports the (West Union) People's Defender. Cincinnati Public Radio is selling the station after acquiring it from Xavier University last year. The county's Chamber of Commerce is urging residents to ask the FCC to block the sale.

KQED asks members to give up the vote

In a ballot mailing to 190,000 local supporters, KQED asks its members to waive their rights to vote on major corporate decisions and elections of the board of directors. "This is about money and this is about responsiveness," Board Chair Nick Donatiello told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's up to the members if they want to spend this money on elections. It could buy a lot of programming."

Oct 4, 2006

This American Gripe

A devoted fan of This American Life takes issue with Chicago Public Radio's approach to offering the show's audio online: "They could save money by encouraging filesharing of their shows instead of wasting money fighting it."

Online Q&A with Frontline's Martin Smith

Martin Smith answered online questions about "Return of the Taliban," his Frontline documentary that debuted on PBS last night.

Louisiana g.m. arrested for sex solicitation

The g.m. of a public radio station in Shreveport, La., was arrested Monday for soliciting sex from a minor over the Internet, reports the Shreveport Times. The minor was in fact an undercover officer.

The Doc Searls Weblog : Monday, October 2, 2006

Doc Searls shares six pieces of advice for public radio as it adapts to changes in media. (Via Jake Shapiro.)

FAIR finds rightward bias on "NewsHour"

In a study released yesterday, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting tracked the guests appearing on PBS's NewsHour and found that Republican males were over-represented as news sources, according to this AP wire story.

Oct 3, 2006

KOCE supporters react to veto

"We'll do everything we have to do to try and retain the license," KOCE President Mel Rogers tells the Los Angeles Times, reacting to Gov. Schwarzenegger's veto of a bill designed to end the legal wrangling for control of the station.

Study finds PBS Kids promotes fast food too

When her preschooler began humming the jingle from a McDonald's commercial, Cleveland pediatrician Susan Connor decided to analyze the sponsorship spots that surround TV shows for tots. She found that fast-food companies are the predominant sponsors of preschool fare on PBS Kids and the Disney Channel, both of which "promote themselves as ad-free," reports the Associated Press. The study, published this month in the medical journal Pediatrics, concluded that the ads targeting preschoolers on Nickelodeon and sponsorship messages on PBS and Disney "took similar approaches and used similar appeals, seeming to promote the equation that food equals fun and happiness." [abstract]

Whiting's Writings - Diatribes - War in Heaven

John Whiting reviews Uneasy Listening, Matthew Lasar's latest chronicle of the battles within Pacifica Radio. "As the backroom plots continually recycle, the story begins to read like an endless reality-TV pirate game in which the protagonists are made to walk the plank and then try to get voted back on board," he writes.

Oct 2, 2006 MEDIA - Is there anything he isn't doing?

The Los Angeles Times profiles Tavis Smiley: "In an era where Jay Leno and David Letterman use guests as comedy fodder and Charlie Rose has become a courtier to the barons of the Eastern media elite, Smiley is a reminder of the days when talk show hosts were conversationalists, not sycophants or joke meters."

Conservatives should stick up for Tomlinson, NRO says.

National Review Online blogger Stephen Spruiell comes to Kenneth Tomlinson's defense, urging fellow conservatives not to "stay silent while Democrats tear down Tomlinson’s reputation just because he’s a conservative."

With 'Radio Lab,' Krulwich and Co. Will Stretch the Shape -- and Sound -- of Reporting -

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher profiles NPR's Radio Lab, which enters its second season this fall. ". . . [T]here is a music to these nonfiction stories, a beat and a rhythm that feel fresh, and that's something that good old public radio dearly needs," he writes. -- News - Staying Smooth amid the Storm

The future of KCEP-FM in Las Vegas is in doubt as the station's parent organization, the Economic Opportunity Board, struggles with a debt of $1.9 million, reports the city's Review-Journal. "We're being sued by a sausage company," says the EOB's executive director. "That was definitely a low point."