Dec 22, 2006

Profile of BBC's Katty Kay

MarketWatch's Jon Friedman profiles Katty Kay, a co-anchor on BBC World News and Washington correspondent for the British network. "Yes, BBC World reaches 281 million households worldwide," Friedman writes. "But, like soccer, the BBC remains second-string, and probably always will be, to the tradition-bound American audience."

With Congress in recess, Bush appoints Bell

With a recess appointment of Warren Bell to the CPB Board, President Bush circumvented Senate opposition to the controversial nominee, reports the Los Angeles Times. (CPB press release.)

Dec 20, 2006

More 'Postcards from Buster' on PBS

The New York Times reports on the return of Postcards from Buster, the PBS children's series that was "attacked by the secretary of education, pilloried by conservatives, then abandoned by its underwriters" after a 2005 episode portraying the lives of real kids with lesbian parents.

GAO reports on Smithsonian's TV deal

The Government Accountability Office concluded that the Smithsonian followed contracting guidelines in negotiating its controversial programming partnership with Showtime Networks, but the institution failed to provide sufficient information about the deal to policymakers and filmmakers. After reviewing the contract and Smithsonian internal policies, GAO investigators report that it's too early to determine whether the partnership will limit filmmakers' access to Smithsonian archives. Reporters for Associated Press (via freepress) and the Washington Post interpreted GAO's conclusions differently.

WFMU, WXXI get grants from payola fund

WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., and WFMU-FM in Jersey City, N.J., received grants from the New York State Music Fund, which was created from settlements between the state and major record labels over violations of payola laws.

Dec 18, 2006

WETA May Fill Classical Music Gap Left by WGMS -

WETA-FM in Washington, D.C., might return to airing classical music if the city's sole classical outlet, a commercial station, switches to sports news, reports the Washington Post. WETA abandoned classical for news/talk last year after losing audience for some time. The Post's Marc Fisher praises the potential return to classical: "Finally, the notion that public radio exists to serve the public in ways that commercial radio cannot or will not crept back to center stage." Meanwhile, pubradio consultant John Sutton calls it "a lost opportunity for all of public radio."

Dec 14, 2006

The Scientist profiles Radio Lab

The Scientist writes up NPR's Radio Lab. "People are still daunted by words like 'physics' and 'biology.' Say 'science' and they get a funny look in their eyes," says co-host Robert Krulwich. "Say 'Travolta' and they know exactly where they stand . . . You've got to bring them over gently." (Current article about the show.)

Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth: The NPR Holiday Road Race

Andy Carvin offers another peek into the wacky holiday customs of NPR employees. This time, it's the NPR Holiday Road Race.

Winer takes offense at This I Believe plea for funds

Blogger Dave Winer says he submitted an essay to This I Believe, the series airing on NPR's newsmags, and never heard back--until he got an e-mail asking him for a donation. "I poured my heart into the essay, after spending a year thinking about what to write," he writes. "Now I gotta wonder, if I don't send the money, will they consider my essay. Or if I do send the money will they run it?" TIB co-producer Dan Gediman apologized, Winer reports (scroll down), and NPR has tried to distance itself from the whole thing. (Via Romenesko.)

Bloggers blast 'GBH report

WGBH's Beat the Press took a beating for an erroneous report about bloggers who are funded by political campaigns. The Boston Herald and the Boston Phoenix report on the controversy and a blogger for Blue Mass Group proposes his own set of remedies.

Dec 13, 2006

Rieu tour rakes in moolah for PBS stations

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on the money-making prowess of telegenic Dutch violinist Andre Rieu, whose current U.S. tour is being co-sponsored by many PBS stations.

WDET-FM manager resigns - 12/12/06 - The Detroit News Online

Michael Coleman has resigned as g.m. of WDET-FM in Detroit after a year and a half in the job, reports the Detroit News. "I was hired to do a specific job and we changed the format, restored balance to programming, brought the roots music programs back and increased audience numbers substantially," Coleman said. "I'm looking forward to the next great adventure."

Lubinsky spins nostalgia for Sirius listeners

T.J. Lubinsky, producer of PBS's Doo Wop pledge specials, will spin vinyl and take listener requests on Doo Wop Gold, a weekly show debuting on Sirius Satellite Radio tonight, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Producer 'pulls the plug' on "Inside Albany"

AP reports that Inside Albany, a public affairs series broadcast by New York public TV stations since 1975, will shut down production on Dec. 31. "The frustration of not being able to cover more stories and the strain of running a business while running after news has caused us to decide to end Inside Albany’s long run," the producers said in a statement.

Dec 12, 2006

Coda for the Classics: Public Radio's Failed Mission - Raw Fisher

The Washington Post Marc Fisher surveys his city's public radio offerings in the wake of news that a commercial classical station is likely to be sold and change format. "Washington will now become the largest city in the country with no classical music on the radio at all," he writes. "Listeners will have no choice but to look to pay satellite radio for the classics--or for many other genres of music."

Discovery cuts education group jobs

Discovery is cutting 84 jobs from Discovery Education, the division that sells educational videos and digital educational material to schools, the Washington Post reports. Discovery Education aggressively expanded in 2004, buying up competitors as it tried to establish a leadership position in the K-12 market.

Dec 8, 2006

Redskins Owner Set to Buy Last Classical Station -

WGMS-FM, a commercial station in Washington, D.C., that is the city's sole classical outlet, could change hands and switch to a sports-talk format, reports the Washington Post. Dan DeVany, g.m. of public WETA-FM, would not speculate as to whether his station would return to a classical format if the sale of WGMS goes through. (Current article about WETA's switch to all-news, 2005.)

RadioSutton: Promoting the Competition?

John Sutton raises some questions about fears of competition from satellite radio: "If local programming is the future of public radio, especially the local content inserted in Morning Edition, then why is satellite radio considered serious competition? It shouldn't be, unless the talk about local programming being the future is more bravado than reality." Meanwhile, execs at Sirius Satellite Radio say they see value in a potential merger with XM Satellite Radio, their sole rival, reports the Washington Post.

Dec 7, 2006

Public radio and story

Robert Paterson contemplates what lies at the heart of the public radio experience: ". . . [A]t the heart of good public radio is Story. And that Story is a 'Transforming Process' that at its best tells each of us about how to be more human."

Boston newspapers on Becton's retirement

The Boston Globe reports on WGBH President Henry Becton's plans to retire and the Boston Herald posts the memo sent to WGBH staff this morning.

WGBH names Abbott to succeed Becton next October

Henry Becton will retire as WGBH president Oct. 1, 2007, and will be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Abbott, the Boston station's board unanimously decided Dec. 6. WGBH released this statement.

Dec 6, 2006

Audio clips of Bob Fass

The New Yorker has declined to post on its website the article about WBAI host and freeform pioneer Bob Fass that appears in this week's issue. But you can download two MP3s of clips from Fass's Radio Unnameable, one of which is 90 minutes of a 1966 appearance by Bob Dylan.

NPR : 'This American Life' Is Ready for Its TV Close-Up

NPR's Lynn Neary reports on the This American Life TV show as it prepares for its debut next year. "I don't see any positive aspect of being on camera," says host Ira Glass. "I am 47 years old, I don't like looking at myself. After a certain point, no one likes looking at themselves on television. There's just no upside."

LA Observed: Upheaval at 'Weekend America'

American Public Media has dropped Barbara Bogaev as co-host of Weekend America and is relocating some of the show's staffers to St. Paul, Minn., according to an internal memo posted at LA Observed.

Release: KOOP’s New Home -- Rolas de Aztlan: KPFT Notes

KOOP-FM in Austin, Texas, is moving into new studios this week, 10 months after its former studios burned to the ground.

PBS coffee said to be sweetly balanced

PBS Blend -- a coffee that's "sweetly balanced and smooth, with full flavor and a rich finish" -- will be sold by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which announced it today from Waterbury, Vt. The coffee is grown in Mexico with environmentally responsible practices, and its Fair Trade Certified label indicates the farmers get a fair price, the company said. Green Mountain ranked No. 1 in Business Ethics magazine's list 100 "best corporate citizens," not far above Starbucks, and No. 98 among Fortune Small Business magazine's top 100 fastest-growing small stockholder-owned companies, right after Peet's Coffee.

Dec 5, 2006

Old Media’s Options: Co-opt New Media, Take Its Lead—Or Both at Jake Shapiro blogs sometimes.

"I would argue that the nascent social media phenomenon and a threatened public media field would mutually benefit from an early embrace," writes Jake Shapiro on his blog. "Social media needs some of the articulation of the values and aspirations that have guided the best of what public broadcasting has achieved, and public media needs to break out of its broadcast borders to fulfill its public service media mission regardless of the particular technology delivery platform."

Verizon to add PBS Kids Sprout

Verizon will soon add the digital cable channel PBS Kids Sprout (Current story about the channel's launch here) to its FiOS TV service. The fiber-based digital TV service is currently available in parts of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, and will soon be available in parts of Delaware and New Jersey.

Dec 1, 2006

Buffalo News - Keillor is home on the prairie

"The sort of radio that seems to prevail is radio that has a very clear voice of its own," says Garrison Keillor in an interview in the Buffalo News.