Mar 13, 2008

Extended plans announced with Henry Louis Gates, Ken Burns

CPB, meeting with station leaders this week near Washington, announced extended funding for two pubTV stars, Ken Burns and Harvard's Henry Louis Gates Jr. PBS joined CPB in announcing three new Gates series: for 2010, The Faces of America, a four-parter about the ancestry of famed Americans; for 2011, the eight-part Searching for Our Roots: The History of the African American People, and for 2012, African American Lives III: Reclaiming Our Past. They will be produced by WNET in New York, Kunhardt Productions and Inkwell Films. New Ken Burns projects under consideration for the next decade include a joint bio of Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt and a series on the Vietnam War, according to CPB, which announced a funding agreement with Burns that runs through 2017. Also under consideration: the previously announced series on Prohibition, plus an update of Baseball called The Tenth Inning, which follows the sport from 1994 through 2009 against the social change of the period.

Pubcasting donor says KCPW owners should play fair with local supporters

"In a moral sense or in a fair game sense, we who pledged on pledge drives and gave money to building the station deserve a chance to raise the money to buy it," says Steve Denkers, a philanthropist whose family foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Salt Lake City's KCPW, in today's Deseret Morning News. Denkers, a major contributor to public broadcasting outlets in Utah through the Stephen G. and Susan E. Denkers Family Foundation, was responding to recent news that KCPW licensee Community Wireless has demanded that Wasatch Public Media, a new local nonprofit, match the bid terms of California-based religious broadcasters. Supporters of the local effort to purchase KCPW and continue operating it an independent NPR news station rallied outside the KCPW on Tuesday, and many told the Morning News that neither Community Wireless board members nor KCPW staff are responding to their inquiries about the pending sale. "They are not returning calls, and that bothers me a great deal," said one donor.

Get My Vote: NPR launches public beta website of user-generated content

Get My Vote, a new NPR website presenting user-generated content, launched in public beta yesterday. NPR's Andy Carvin, who led development of the site, explains the ideas behind Get My Vote and its various elements here.

Dvorkin on Stern's ouster: NPR execs who ignore stations "do so at their peril"

"NPR's weakness is that is has too often undervalued the quality of radio-ness in building the organization," writes Jeffrey Dvorkin, former NPR News exec and ombudsman, in a blog commentary about Ken Stern's firing as NPR ceo. This was especially the case during the last decade with Stern at the helm, he writes, when NPR recruited "non-radio people" in false belief that "true journalistic legitimacy is found among the world of newspaper reporters and editors." NPR succeeded in attracting bigger news audiences, but "clarity of purpose of the organization became more confused" and Stern's vision for NPR diverged from that of stations. "Inevitably, these competing visions were bound to clash," Dvorkin writes. "Managers who ignore the reality that at NPR, the customers (the stations) own the company, do so at their peril."