May 16, 2009

WHUT dropping Sunday Mass

The "three nons" (nonpolitical, nonsectarian, noncommercial) have been creating discussion in the system lately--especially the "nonsectarian" point--since the PBS board sent the Station Services Committee's membership recommendations back out for comment in April. Now The Washington Post is reporting that D.C. pubcaster WHUT has told the Archdiocese of Washington that it is dropping "Mass for Shut-Ins," which has run Sundays since 1996. The Mass has continuously run on some D.C. station for 60 years. "It's kind of a shock to us," said Susan Gibbs, archdiocese spokeswoman. "They've been great partners of ours for a long time. . . . The Mass is a very local programming that provides a community service. You'd think public television would be about engaging the community."

Basketball whiz Lydia to join 'Arthur'

After a nationwide contest to invent a new character, a little girl who uses a wheelchair and plays a mean game of basketball will be joining the PBS Kids' show Arthur. A sketch (right) by Minnesota six-grader Connor Gordon was selected from some 8,500 entries. The producers were so impressed with Lydia they decided to write the character into the show instead of having her just visit. "The drawing is fabulous," Arthur senior producer Jacqui Deegan told The Pioneer Press. "And she just has that spirit of creativity and positive energy. We also love the idea of her being able to play wheelchair basketball. We like to show kids playing sports." After CVS Caremark All Kids Can came on last year as a corporate underwriter, the contest seemed a natural: The pharmacy's charity works to raise public awareness about children with disabilities. See all the finalists here.

A new tune, because we're not really in the money

Pubradio's Marketplace has altered its music for "The Numbers" segment of the business program, during which listeners learn if the stock market is up or down. If it's down, it's "Stormy Weather." If it's up, it used to be "We're in the Money." But even when the market is up, who's really in the money these days? So a composer was commissioned for a new version, which, according to the show, "better reflects the 'cheeriness' investors may be feeling when the markets tick up only a few points at a time when the Dow is hovering around 7,000 points." Hear both versions here.