Apr 2, 2009

'Now' segment prompts messages to PBS ombudsman

PBS ombudsman Michael Getler's latest column is up. An interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Now on PBS prompted much of the viewer feedback. Arpaio is sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, which borders Mexico. In the show critics accused him of racial profiling.

NPR Labs plans further study of HD Radio power tradeoffs

NPR Labs will do additional research to determine how much broadcasters should increase power to increase the reach of digital HD Radio signals without unduly interfering with analog FM reception. The study, funded by CPB, would be completed in time for the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia Sept. 23-25. NPR Labs said last fall that boosting HD Radio power tenfold, as proposed by major commercial radio groups, would have significant costs in listening quality in certain geographical areas. The earlier study found that 41 percent of pubradio stations could no longer be heard on one-third or more of the car radios they can now reach.

"Contrary" host says abortions "not a bad choice"

Bonnie Erbe, host of To the Contrary on PBS, is drawing attention with her U.S. News & World Report blog post titled, "In a Recession, Abortions are Not a Bad Choice."

PBS tech officer discusses challenges, possibilities

John McCoskey, PBS' chief technology officer, spoke with TV Technology about ongoing financial and DTV challenges, as well as the upcoming PBS Technology Conference. PBS's continuing goal for stations, McCoskey says, "is to have normal workflows [that] require little human interaction, freeing-up staff to focus on things that need expertise and decision-making." He cited the NOC staff in Springfield, Va., that is remotely managing station operations for some members, "so they can run unattended for several hours a day to reduce operational costs."

Committee begins work on Universal Service Fund reform

In a first move toward reforming the Universal Service Fund, leaders of the the House Energy & Commerce Committee are requesting information on the program from FCC Chairman Michael Copps. Telecom firms pay into the fund to support rural communications services. Word on the Hill is there's support on both sides of the aisle for the committee's work on the issue. One idea: Extend the fund to cover broadband access.