Mar 9, 2010

Wednesday webinar to explore Google broadband experiment

Pubcasters can learn more about Google’s Fiber for Communities during a webinar Wednesday sponsored by American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio and the National Center for Media Engagement. The project aims to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more locations across the country. Intrigued? Log on at 2 p.m. Eastern to learn how to nominate your community with advice from Minnie Ingersoll, product manager of Google's Access team; Joanne Hovis, president of Columbia Telecommunications Corporation; Marnie Webb, co-CEO of TechSoup Global; Bernadine Joselyn, Director of Public Policy and Engagement for rural Minnesota's Blandin Foundation; and JoaquĆ­n Alvarado, veep for Digital Innovation for American Public Media. Register here.

In the Loop, a NextGen show from MPR, ends run

Minnesota Public Radio has canceled production of In the Loop, a show that migrated from the broadcast airwaves to engage its audience of young adults where they lived--in the realm of on-demand media and social networking web platforms. Hosted by the earnest and talented Jeff Horwich, ITL was smart, off-beat and entertaining. "I always appreciated ITL as a Skunk Works for the sub-Boomer set, full of sparky 'story slams,' interactivity and Horwich's funky but not frivolous news sense," writes MinnPost media critic David Brauer. Horwich explains as much as he can on this FAQ. Both Horwich and producer Sanden Totten have been reassigned to work on MPR's Public Insight Network.

Minnesota pubcasters, Georgia's WUGA targeted in state budget battles

“I don’t want to overstate the case, but this could lead to signals going dark,” Allen Harmon, g.m. of WSDE-TV in Duluth, says in this MinnPost report on Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to zero-out funding for public broadcasters in the fiscal year beginning July 1. The governor's spending plan would cut more than $2 million in general appropriations support for public broadcasting in fiscal 2011 and beyond. It hits Minnesota's six public TV stations the hardest, eliminating $1.361 million in general-fund appropriations. Community radio stations would lose $387,000; Minnesota Public Radio, $250,000; and, Twin Cities regional cable, $17,000. Pubcasters tell MinnPost media critic David Brauer that the Legacy Amendment funds they're receiving for arts and cultural programming won't make up the difference in lost general support. Meanwhile, the University of Georgia recently threatened to shut down WUGA-FM, a Georgia Public Broadcasting station located on its Athens campus, in a draconian budget-cutting plan unveiled last week. The station is part of the GPB Radio network but cuts away for local classical music and other programming. "It’s one of the signature stations in our network," said Nancy Zintak, GPB spokeswoman. The proposed WUGA shut-off is part of a controversial plan by the University of Georgia's financial planners to cut $600 million in spending. “This is like a death knell for public education, and we’re not going to stand for it,” a student leader tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "There's a little bit of saber-rattling and posturing and people are saying some dramatic things," Zintak told Current. "We have no idea how the legislature is going to come down on this." Zintak referred questions on WUGA funding to the university's press office, which did not respond to a call seeking comment.

Knight Foundation, FCC broadband summit brings together policymakers

Today the Knight Foundation and the FCC are sponsoring "America's Digital Inclusion Summit" at the Newseum in Washington, and satellite locations in Akron, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Philadelphia. Reps from an array of agencies and organizations advocating for universal broadband access are taking questions from the public at NewMedia(at), or follow along at #BBPlan on Twitter. The summit is also streaming live and runs to 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Speakers include FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. (Photo: Robertson Adams, Knight Foundation) UPDATE: FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has announced the agency's effort to create a Digital Literacy Media Corps, a nationwide outreach of computer training for persons in communities including low-income housing, rural towns, tribal lands and areas with many racial and ethnic residents. "Basic literacy must be supplementetd by digital literacy," Clyburn told the crowd. The Knight Foundation also announced a partnership with the FCC on an "Apps for Inclusion" Challenge, an offer of $100,000 from Knight to software developers who can provide easier online access to civic affairs information such as tracking Congressional voting records.