Dec 18, 2008

New book details history of "Sesame Street"

Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by former TV Guide editor Michael Davis hits bookstores Dec. 26. The book "also covers early public television (then as ever an unwieldy, perplexing contraption). And it invokes the 1960s idealism that ignited Sesame Street and remains a fundamental part," writes Frazier Moore of the Associated Press.

NPR, pubTV holding steady for news viewers

NPR is maintaining a generally steady listenership among Americans for their daily news, Gallup polling shows. Some 18 percent of Americans listen to the pubradio network daily, which is the same figure as in 1995 -- but down slightly from 19 percent in December 2006. PubTV daily news viewership remains at 28 percent, same as in December 2006. Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,009 Americans ages 18 and older; polling was conducted Dec 4-7.

MPBN shutting down transmitters, cutting jobs, salaries

Cutbacks in state and federal funding have prompted changes at Maine Public Broadcasting Network, President Jim Dowe announced to staff on Dec. 18. Six jobs will be cut from a full-time staff of 86. There will be a hiring freeze on three additional open positions, temporary wage reductions of 5 percent to 20 percent through the end of the fiscal year next June, temporary suspension of the company’s contributions to employees’ 403(b) retirement plans and the shutting down of transmitters for WMED-DTV in Calais, WMEF-FM in Fort Kent and WMED-FM in Calais.

"Newspaper death spiral," and a proposal to avoid it, envisioned for pubcasting

The worst of the "Econolypse" is yet to come and public broadcasters need a plan of action, writes Robert Paterson, a consultant on NPR's New Realities project who also advises stations. Paterson plays out a grim scenario for the field in 2009 — continued cost reductions that put NPR on "the newspaper death spiral" and force stations to scale back until they become network repeaters. His solution? "In short there has to be a drive to create a true PUBLIC MEDIA NETWORK — to set up a network that can offer all the members the full value of the network effect," he writes. Paterson points to a proposal co-developed with Alaska Public Media's John Proffitt to reorganize the Alaska Public Radio Network as a collaborative public media entity, or "chaordic organization." A slide show from Proffitt's presentation to Alaska pubcasters is here, and Proffitt writes about it and takes questions on his blog, Gravity Medium.