Apr 6, 2009

WLIW21 apologizes for concentration-camp error

PubTV WLIW21 on Long Island has issued an apology to several Polish organizations regarding a an item in its current program guide, reports the Canada Free Press. The station apologized to the Polish American Congress, the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish Consulate for describing the Auschwitz concentration camp that Hitler’s SS operated in German-occupied Poland as “Polish” instead of German. The program in question, "Swimming in Auschwitz," is being broadcast "as part of WLIW21’s special programming in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day throughout April as a way of acknowledging all the victims of Nazi actions," the statement added.

NPR's coverage of itself deemed "excessive"

When NPR's Tovia Smith reported on March 24 about her network's record-setting audience growth, the coverage made "a few folks inside NPR" uncomfortable," reports Ombudsman Alicia Shepard in her latest column. Smith filed stories for NPR newscasts and for All Things Considered about dramatic growth of NPR's audience last fall, and she included details about NPR's recent financial troubles. To some NPR insiders it "sounded like an appeal for money," especially as it aired while some stations were running pledge drives, Shepard wrote. NPR Managing Editor Brian Duffy explained the assignment in an email: "My thinking was that NPR does a very good job of being transparent about the bad news--layoffs, cutting shows," he wrote. "I felt it was appropriate to report on the good, as well, but insisted that it be couched in the context of . . . the continuing financial challenges we face." Shepard said the combination of a 2-minute ATC piece and newscasts airing throughout the day was "excessive."

What about apps for other smartphones?

There ARE other smartphones capable of running apps besides the iPhone. Last week BlackBerry launched BlackBerry App World (you have to use Microsoft's browser for access), It offers Pandora, Clear Channel and Slacker audio players, AOL and Yahoo instant messengers, a New York Times shortcut, MySpace and Bloomberg apps. (BlackBerry's maker, RIM, gets a 20 percent cut of every app sale, and cell companies want a cut, too, according to MoCoNews.) Palm is inviting developers to write apps for its new smartphone operating system. The Pocket Tunes online radio player, recommended by satisifed listener Izzy Smith, is now offered for earlier Palm and Windows Mobile smartphones as well as iPhones. And T-Mobile, which offers smartphones with Google's Android operating system, says the average user has downloaded 40 apps -- most adding more than one a week. Google's Android Market offers a range of apps including a free NPR Podcast player (built by a developer who calls himself CodeShogun). Meanwhile, iPhone users can choose from 25,000 apps. As of tomorrow, for example, users of France Telecom's cell service, Orange, can install an iPhone app that lets them watch 20 channels of live TV, reports.

Pacifica in dire straits

The Pacifica Radio board is moving to "secure our broadcast signals should we need to prevent legal liability," according to a statement late last week. The precautionary measures will be taken at all Pacifica five stations under advice of counsel. New York's WBAI owes the Pacifica Foundation at least $800,000. It's been operating at a deficit of at least $30,000 per month. Fundraising has declined about 12 percent per year since 2003. Unpaid rent for the office and transmitter facility is nearly $198,000. "Pacifica no longer has the reserves to underwrite WBAI's continuing deficits," the statement says. Pacifica's interim CFO, LaVarn Williams, is traveling to WBAI assess the situation.

Praise for 21-year 'Doctors Diaries'

"Doctors' Diaries," the 21-year doc project concluding tomorrow on Nova, draws rave reviews from Baltimore Sun TV critic The editing is superb in its fluidity. In fact, I do not believe I have ever seen a PBS documentary that was more perfectly edited. As a viewer, you feel like you are skating along on a perfect sheet of words and imagery, and then, boom, suddenly [producer-director Michael] Barnes stops you in your tracks to make a major point about the price that must be paid to join the medical Harvard Medical School students, beginning in 1987, through their education, internships, professional careers and personal lives.