Jan 9, 2009

MPR asks St. Paul for assurance regarding light-rail plans

Minnesota Public Radio is locked in a dispute with city planners in its hometown of St. Paul over a proposed light-rail line that will run by the network’s headquarters. MPR says on its website that it fears the line “will cause irreparable harm” to its headquarters with excessive noise and vibrations near recording studios. If the city can’t provide a mitigation plan by March 1 that convinces MPR, the network said this week, the line should be moved. The city’s Metropolitan Council argues back on its website: “MPR should get on board with the Metropolitan Council, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Ramsey County and Hennepin County to help make this transit line a reality — not jeopardize its chances of winning federal funding that is essential for construction,” said planners. More coverage in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Past FCCers join call for DTV date push-back

Former FCCers William Kennard and Michael Powell support delaying the Feb. 17 DTV transition. In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, the two say: "There is no reason to rush toward a fiasco when we can just as well take the time to make sure the change happens smoothly."

Secretary of Culture idea gets grassroots support

Former National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William R. Ferris' idea for a Cabinet-level position to oversee the arts and humanities -- including CPB, NPR and PBS -- is generating excitement. An online petition now has more than 23,000 signatures. Music legend Quincy Jones is hot on the concept, and says he's going to be speaking directly with President-elect Obama about it.

Alabama net axes show, plans layoffs

Alabama Public Television will cancel a long-running public affairs show and lay off other staffers as it aims to offset state budget cuts, reports the Huntsville Times. For the Record will go off the air next month after a 25-year run, and anchor Tim Lennox will be let go. Other layoffs were expected to be announced today. The state has reduced its contribution to APT’s budget by more than $3 million since fiscal year 2008, when it gave $11 million in support to the network.

KPCC to open D.C. bureau

KPCC in Pasadena, Calif., will open a news bureau in Washington, D.C., making it the first public radio station in the country to have a satellite office in the nation’s capital. The bureau will be staffed by KPCC’s Kitty Felde. Details at LA Observed. KPCC is owned by American Public Media Group, the parent company of American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio. In 2007, APMG sought to launch a news station in D.C.

Cooney Center calls for mobile learning strategy

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop has released a report, Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning, detailing the "untapped potential" of education through devices such as iPods and cell phones. The report calls for new investments in R&D, establishing a digital teachers corps, creating a White House initiative on digital learning, and modifying classroom access. The report will be finalized next week.