Aug 17, 2010

Fundraiser aims to save "Style Wars" film, a 1984 graffiti doc on PBS

The Brooklyn Academy of Music is hosting a Sept. 9 restoration fundraiser for a historic graffiti/hip-hop documentary that aired on PBS in 1984. "Style Wars" is widely regarded as the first doc to focus on the cultural genres. "Nearly 25 years since it first stunned viewers, the film's negative stock is beginning to decay," reports the HipHopDX website. The event will feature three screenings of the film, a question and answer session with filmmaker Henry Chalfant, a catered reception and -- of course -- hip-hop beats courtesy of DJ Kay Slay on the turntables. More about the restoration project here, tickets for the fundraiser here.

StoryCorps animated shorts debut on POV tonight

A new animated series debuts on PBS this evening--short adaptations of audio recordings collected by StoryCorps, the oral history project and NPR series created by public radio producer David Isay.

POV, the indie film series now airing its 23rd season on PBS, will present Danny and Annie, Parts I and II, the stories of love and loss of Brooklyn couple Danny and Annie Perasa, who came to personify the StoryCorps motto, "listening is an act of love." The animation will be paired with Salt, an "exquisite film about environment, artistry and solitude" by Australian photographer Murray Fredericks.

The CPB-backed animated shorts, the first of five to be showcased on POV through Sept. 7, were created by Mike and Tim Rauch, brothers who began animating StoryCorps audio stories before presenting their ideas to Isay. "StoryCorps connected to things we were into as kids," said Mike Rauch, "everyday people from all walks of life, documentary stories and the relationships between people." Mike was working as a StoryCorps intern and facilitator when he proposed the idea to his younger brother Tim, whom he credits for creating the drawings and character designs. "It's all coming from his hand."

StoryCorps first unveiled the shorts this spring with the online release of Q&A, an animation of 12-year-old Joshua Littman's interview with his mother Sarah that has its broadcast debut on Aug. 24. Immediately after the POV broadcasts, each of the forthcoming shorts will be distributed online and offered to public TV stations as interstitials. CPB awarded more than $325,000 for creation and pubTV distribution of seven StoryCorps animations.

Get your Wookie on in Alaska

Got plans for Aug. 28? You might drop by Juneau, Alaska, for KXLL's "Star Wars" party. It's the latest event sponsored by the funky, eclectic pubcasting station that attracts an 18- to 34-year-old audience, said Bill Legere, g.m. of KTOO. It picked up KXLL ("Excellent Radio") and another station "in a fire sale" three years ago (Current, Feb. 26, 2007). KXLL has planned several happenings for the young crowd, such as a pre-fireworks Fourth of July party drew that around 800. There was also a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" night and a Cinco de Mayo bash, "stuff that's campy and fun," as Legere told Current. The events are simple to organize, and ticket and refreshment sales usually generate between $4,000 and $5,000 for the station. Legere said KXLL airs 20 or more volunteer disc jockeys who are quickly becoming celebs in town.

Interesting aside: Legere said the station did an "informal focus group" with young listeners. One finding was that "they'd never heard of 'making a pledge,'" he said. To them, a straightforward request to "give money" made a lot more sense.

Houston's KUHF pursuing dual-service strategy with purchase of KTRU

Houston's KUHF-FM plans to buy KTRU 91.7 FM, a 50,000-watt student radio station owned by Rice University, and convert it to a full-time classical music service under the new call letters KUHC, the Houston Chronicle reports. KUHF, a broadcast service of the University of Houston that now airs classical music and NPR News on 88.7, will become an all-news station.

The $9.5 million deal, approved this morning by UH's Board of Regents, is to be financed by enhanced underwriting and major gifts fundraising.

“The acquisition of a second public radio station delivers on our promise to keep the University of Houston at the forefront of creating strong cultural, educational and artistic opportunities that benefit students and the city of Houston,” said Renu Khator, chancellor of the UH System and president of the University of Houston, in a news release.

Rice University students campaigned to save the station, which has long been an outlet for underground and local music, according to the Houston Press. Under the terms of the deal, will continue streaming a student-programmed music service.

PBS chef opening two O'Hare Airport restaurants

Rick Bayless, star of Mexico: One Plate at a Time on PBS, will open two restaurants in Chicago's O'Hare Airport, Crain's Chicago Business is reporting. Look for them in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 this fall.

KET programs could suffer under furlough plan, station spokesman says

Proposed furloughs of state employees could adversely affect Kentucky Educational Television programming, station spokesman Tim Bischoff said Monday (Aug. 16). According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, KET is requesting "flexibility" from the state Personnel Cabinet in the implementation of the furloughs, scheduled as a cost-saving measure for three days adjacent to holiday weekends in the upcoming year: Friday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day weekend); Friday, Nov. 12 (Veterans Day weekend); and Friday, May 27 (Memorial Day weekend). Six state workers from various departments testified at a circuit court hearing about how the public would suffer under the furlough plan. The judge delayed ruling on a motion to block the unpaid leave while he gathers more information.

UPDATE: Bischoff contacted Current to clarify that his statements were not presented at the hearing but rather in an email in response to a reporter's questions. Here is what he said in that message: "In order to ensure KET’s services – including Comment on Kentucky – continue uninterrupted, we’re seeking permission to treat the three designated furlough days as we typically do with state holidays that fall on a Friday. Sometimes in those cases, we will pre-tape Comment, rather than producing it live. In this case, we’ve not yet made the decision on when Comment will be produced."

Station staffers eligible for ONA grants

Are you a PBS affiliate pubcaster who'd like to attend the Online News Association conference Oct. 28-30 in Washington, D.C.? You might want to apply for one of six all-expenses-paid grants. Deadline is Sept. 15, more information and application here.

Job training is focus of online project at Vegas PBS

Vegas PBS is now providing viewers with job assistance through its Vegas Virtual Workforce, reports the Las Vegas Business Press. There'll be more than 350 online, for-credit job training programs for unemployed or underemployed residents, as well as those wanting to change careers. "We have people who need jobs here and we can provide training," KLVX General Manager Tom Axtell said. "We look at this as part of our programming mission." The station is partnering with Workforce Connections and the Southern Nevada Housing Authority.

Nonprofs continue to struggle, GuideStar report says

The recession is still adversely affecting public charities and private foundations, according to new research from GuideStar, a nonprofit information clearinghouse. Around 40 percent of some 7,000 responding organizations reported contributions dropped during the first five months of 2010 compared with that time last year. Other findings: 17 percent of respondents reduced program services, and 11 percent laid off employees. In organizations that use volunteers, 17 percent put one or more in what had been paid positions. And 8 percent said their organizations was were in imminent danger of closing. Click here for the free report, "The Effect of the Economy on the Nonprofit Sector: A June 2010 Survey."