Nov 17, 2009

WNET rolls out pieces of its WordPress CMS toolkit and Brooklyn web developer Tierra Innovation Inc. promoted their WordPress CMS Toolkit at the regional WordCamp NYC last week. Their first four freely available, open-source plugins for WordPress are available online now and “lots more” are coming, says Tierra President Jamie Trowbridge. Also coming are templates for a content management system abstracted from the ones used by to build 50 sites for its shows, stations and projects, Trowbridge tells Current. Outside of West 33rd Street, Dallas’s KERA recently used the toolkit to build a site for KXT-FM, its new sister station (“Music to the Core”), and Chicago’s WTTW created one for its coproduction with Brian Boyer, Retirement Revolution. Among the available WP plugin modules: Audio Playlist Manager, for embedding a series of clips in a website, and WPDB Profiling, which helps a site-builder find causes of undue server loads. Soon to be released are Billboard Manager, which creates a Flash slide show; prettyPhoto Gallery and two other plugins.

FTC journalism summit to include numerous pubcasters

Public broadcasters will be well-represented at the FTC's upcoming summit, “How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?”, Dec. 1 and 2 in Washington. The confab will explore issues such as the economics of journalism in print and online, new business and nonprofit news models, and ways to reduce journalism costs without sacrificing quality. Panelists announced by the FTC so far (PDF) include pubcasters Joaquin Alvarado, CPB's senior veep for diversity and innovation; NPR head Vivian Schiller; Jon McTaggart, senior veep and COO, American Public Media; Alisa Miller, president and CEO, Public Radio International; and Jason Seiken, senior veep, PBS Interactive. Other participants include newsmen Rupert Murdoch and Len Downie, former FCC Chair Reed Hundt, and blogger Arianna Huffington.

WFYI provides backdrop ambiance for MasterCard commercial

WFYI's studios in Indianapolis co-star in a new MasterCard holiday ad. David DeMumbrun, station director of production operations, told Current a scouting crew visited local commercial stations, but when they got to the state-of-the-art pubcasting studios (opened in August 2008), "they found nirvana." The spot stars Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (hence, the filming location) and How I Met Your Mother actress Alyson Hannigan. Hannigan's part in the ad was filmed at the studio and Manning's in an Indy home. What a production day it was on Oct. 13 at WFYI: The ad's cast and crew numbered around 155. Director of photography was Russell Carpenter, who shot the big-screen Titanic. A catering bus drove in from Chicago for breakfast and lunch. The shoot went from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. "It was quite a circus that day," DeMumbrun said. "They were everywhere. They took up pretty much the whole building." Staffers were warned in advance of the disruption, which was planned for a day with no local work in the studios. Although no WFYI staffers are in the ad, they did assist the visiting crew. Overall, a pretty exciting experience, "and a way to make a little money for the station," DeMumbrun said, declining to reveal that figure, but "it was in the thousands."

PBS, APTS state case for spectrum to FCC

PBS last week told the FCC that pubcasters should be allowed to continue their multiplatform efforts and and that over-the-air DTV is important to that work, reports Broadcasting & Cable. It's an important argument as the FCC decides how to free up spectrum for wireless broadband. "The free and universal nature of over-the-air broadcasting enables PBS and its member stations to ensure that virtually every household has access" to content, PBS said in FCC filings and in a meeting with FCC staffers. On Nov. 3, APTS representatives also discussed pubcasting spectrum issues with the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

Over-the-air tower for MontanaPBS nears full funding

MontanaPBS is just $20,000 away from its $1.3 million goal for an over-the-air broadcast tower for viewers in the Great Falls area, reports the Great Falls Tribune. Currently, Great Falls may be the largest American city without an over-the-air PBS signal. Sally Newhall, co-chair of the "Tower to the People" fundraising effort, said the project has a construction deadline of the end of the year, and an October 2010 deadline to match a $75,000 Murdoch Foundation grant. "I feel really positive about it," Newhall added.