May 5, 2010

Popular Web TEDTalks coming to TV, including WPSU

Penn State's WPSU is one of dozens of TV stations worldwide participating in the new TED Open TV Project, bringing speeches and appearances from the world of technology, entertainment and design to viewers (a bit of TED history here). Those are called TEDTalks, and have received some 200 million Web views since postings began in 2006 with such speakers as Bill Gates, Frank Gehry, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Billy Graham, Peter Gabriel, Quincy Jones and Bono. TEDTalks are the brainchild of the nonprofit Sapling Foundation, dedicated to "fostering the spread of great ideas." Now those speeches are coming from the Web to television. In a press release, the foundation said: "Built in response to strong demand from TV station managers around the world, TED's Open TV Project allows broadcasters to air TEDTalks for free, and encourages them to create custom programs for their communities."

Attention, indies: P.O.V. wants your entries

Big news in the indie production world, P.O.V.'s 2011 call for entries is now open. The pubcasting program is TV's longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction films, and many projects it has supported or aired have gone on to fame -- one good example is the recent Oscar nominee "Food, Inc." For filmmakers new to the application process, P.O.V. offers this handy video. For those who have applied before, good news: The form is much shorter this year, according to P.O.V.'s series producer Yance Ford. Log in here to apply.

Deadline pressures, not station relations, weighed heavily in bureau chief change

An NPR decision to change staffing arrangements for its western bureau chief has drawn objections from public radio station news directors and journalists. Two chiefs now share the job from two different cities--Kate Concannon in Seattle and Alisa Joyce-Barba from San Diego. NPR plans to hire a full-time bureau chief to work from its NPR West studios in Culver City, Calif. Public radio news consultant Michael Marcotte, a longtime advocate of expanding the bureau chief system, says the change will undercut the local/national news reporting relationships that NPR President Vivian Schiller says she wants to strengthen. "The bureau chiefs are the unsung heroes, the key linkages in the network-station editorial relationship, a relationship that must be tended and nourished," he writes. NPR news managers Steve Drummond and Philip Bruce explained the decision in a memo to stations: "A major reason is simply that this job-share no longer works. The razor-sharp deadlines of Newscast, Morning Edition and All Things Considered demand of us that we respond immediately to breaking news online and on-air. These pressures are intensified by the Western time zones and the vastness of the region. As NPR is increasingly a primary and immediate news source throughout this region, it’s clear that a part-time editing schedule with alternating days is no longer viable." Jonathan Ahl, president of Public Radio News Directors Inc. and news director at Iowa Public Radio, told Current that the bureau chief system is the "single greatest thing" to improve editorial relationships between NPR and its member stations and it needs to continue, if not expand. "Our chiefs know what we're working on, can get into editorial meetings and advocate for what's coming out of the region."

NPR, APT shows win coveted Beard Awards

NPR and APT both won James Beard Foundation Awards on Monday, known as "the Oscars of the food industry." The Kojo Nnamdi Show won for broadcast media; host is Nnamdi, producers are Tara Boyle, Michael Martinez, Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, Brendan Sweeney and Diane Vogel. For television show, on location, the winner is Chefs A'Field, "King of Alaska" (click on Episodes, then Episode 2) from presenting station KCTS in Seattle. Now in its fourth season, host is Rick Moonen, producers are Heidi Hanson and Chris Warner. WGBH is presenting station for Food Trip with Todd English, which won for television special; producers are English, Matt Cohen, Joel Coblenz and Gina Gargano. As the foundation website notes, "Nominees and winners are fĂȘted at a weekend of events in New York City that has become the social and gastronomic highlight of the year." A full list of winners here.

FCC looking at antenna structure regulations

The FCC on Monday released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) asking for comment on rules governing construction, marking and lighting of antenna structures. The FCC hopes the revisions will improve compliance and allow the agency to better enforce the regs. The proposed rules would also remove outdated and complicated requirements without compromising the FCC's responsibility to prevent antenna structures from being hazards to air navigation. A petition filed by the PCIA -- The Wireless Infrastructure Association back on Sept. 12, 2006, led to the proposal; it's being eyed now as part of an FCC biennial review of rules.