Feb 20, 2008

Americans won't pay "twice" for TV?

"There's a fundamental difference between paying for radio and paying for a channel on TV," writes syndicated columnist Ben Grabow. People don't give money to PBS, he says, because "television, unlike radio, requires a subscription" and viewers don't want to "pay twice" for a TV connection and content. Not accounting for digital over-the-air signals, Grabow writes, "a new television fresh from the box, unlike its black and white predecessor, offers nothing but fuzz" and "with local stations scaling back the analog signal, [it] all but requires a monthly cable or satellite fee."

KUSP attempts to preempt other potential KAZU suitors

After an extended courtship that culminated in merger talks last year, two California pubradio stations serving the Monterey Bay area are reassessing their future relationship. Late last week KUSP in Santa Cruz offered to purchase or take over management of Pacific Grove's KAZU, but California State University at Monterey Bay's nonprofit foundation, which holds KAZU's license, was cool to the overture. The CSUMB Foundation withdrew from merger negotiations last December, and the KUSP Board put together its offer after learning that CSUMB was talking with broadcasters outside the region about managing KAZU. Local news organizations chasing down the story include the Register-Pajaronian, Santa Cruz Sentinel and local NBC affiliate KSBW. CSUMB's foundation is "in no hurry to sell," reports KSBW correspondent Dale Julin, "that means, meantime, both stations are continuing to annoy listeners by playing exactly the same NPR shows at exactly the same time." Update: In an op-ed published today, Democratic Rep. Sam Farr calls for CSUMB to reconsider the benefits of the proposed merger.

A better search tool

"Public radio and TV has so much wonderful inventory--if I cannot find it, has it any value?" asks Robert Patterson in his blog. Writing from the FASTForward tech conference about "search-driven innovation," he writes, "I have come to the conclusion that higher levels of search--enabling me to have it my way and to reflect back in real time my preferences to the producers--is going to be key to any system that public media rolls out."

Live from Toledo

"This is novel in public radio," says classical DJ Greg Kostraba about his live, in-studio program on WGTE-FM 91 in Toledo, Ohio. "You have to go to big cities for programs like this," he tells the Toledo Blade. Kostraba invites local and visiting musicians into a Steinway-equipped studio for the half-hour Live from FM 91, and he recently won a producer-of-the-year award from eTech, a state agency focused on education through technology.