Dec 14, 2010

Big Bird lands in China to help kids deal with disasters

Big Bird visited Beijing today (Dec. 14) to help kick off a new outreach to produce and distribute emergency response and preparedness content for children and their families in China. “A flood came through Sesame Street and destroyed my nest,” Big Bird said. “It was really scary. But the good thing is that it didn’t hurt any of my friends and they all helped me make a new home. Today I found out about what other things we could do to keep safe and how we can help each other when something like that happens. Gosh, I can’t wait to tell all my friends what I learned!” The educational materials addressing needs before and after a natural disaster feature Big Bird and his Sesame Street neighbors.

CPB announces appointment of Jennifer Lawson as s.v.p. of TV/digital content

Jennifer Lawson has returned to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this time as senior vice president of television and digital video content. Lawson, currently g.m. of WHUT/Howard University Television in Washington, D.C., will work with PBS, pubTV stations and independent producers to develop content. She recently ended her term as vice chair of the PBS board of directors.

Lawson originally was hired by CPB in 1980, working as associate director of the fund's drama and arts program and later television program fund director. She left for PBS in 1989 as executive vice president for national programming and promotion (Current, October 1989), back when Congress ordered CPB to work more closely with PBS to determine how to improve the national production funding process.

Ebert's latest show will air in 192 markets

Movie critic Roger Ebert has Tweeted that his new show, Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies is being picked up in 192 markets and the Armed Forces Network. Debut is January.

Two local pubradio stations now qualify for CSGs

Two public radio stations are receiving their first Community Service Grants from CPB. KCNP-FM in Ada, Okla., licensed to the Chickasaw Nation, gets $104,813. It began broadcasting in 2009. It covers the central and southeastern regions of the state with tribal, local and national news and issues; cultural programs; and music and talk shows. WSGE-FM, in Dallas, N.C., signed on in 1980. It will receive $69,875. Its motto: "Your Eclectic Music Station."

Founding father of Hawaii pubradio dies at 86

The first general manager of Hawaii Public Radio, Cliff Elben, died Dec. 11 in Honolulu. He was 86.

Eblen arrived in Hawaii in January 1966 as program manager for ETV, Hawaii's first public television station, which launched that April. That ultimately became KHET-TV, now PBS Hawaii. Eblen and ETV colleague Bob Miller often discussed Hawaii's need for a pubradio station, so Elben quit KHET-TV in 1980 to give that a go. KHPR-FM, with a startup budget of $7,000, signed on in November 1981.

Eblen also was active with Hawaii theater groups and played a recurring role as an FBI agent in early episodes of the original Hawaii Five-0.