Feb 4, 2011

Now primary station in Los Angeles, PBS SoCal's ratings are on the rise

As might be expected, PBS SoCal, which picked up primary station status and the PBS National Program Service in the L.A. market on Jan. 1, is experiencing a ratings spike, the Los Angeles Times reports. Last year at this time, the former KOCE-TV in Orange County was pulling in a 0.2 household rating for its programming day; now that's at 0.5 for January. Coincidentally, the Times points out, 0.5 is the same rating that KCET had during the same period last year. The station pulled out of PBS membership after a protracted fight over dues and overlap-market issues (Current, Oct. 18, 2010). Morning children's programming on PBS SoCal, however, is still scoring lower than KCET. Ratings for KLCS-TV and KVCR-TV, which are working toward a three-way collaboration with PBS SoCal, initially increased after KCET's departure but are now back at last year's levels.

NCME, CPB announce interactive portal detailing community engagement activities

There's a new interactive story portal launching today (Feb. 4), supported by CPB and building on the Public Media Maps project from the National Center for Media Engagement. The two said in a statement that the portal showcases public broadcasting's commitment to community engagement, as well as lets pubTV and radio stations identify opportunities for collaboration. It aggregates more than 300 stories to illustrate pubmedia’s local impact. Using Google Earth software, users click on green tags to pull up details on projects such as the High Risk High initiative from Prairie Public Broadcasting/KFME, which used a website, radio series and local town hall meetings to explore North Dakota’s problem of underage and binge drinking. Pubcasters can manipulate data sets, juxtaposing stories with activity in other areas to identify opportunities for increased content sharing around topics such as healthcare, the economy and education. NCME also plans to add data from other public service organizations to encourage development of community partnerships.

New York Public Radio gets new digital leader

Thomas Hjelm, a former digital strategy executive at NBC’s Local Integrated Media websites and AOL, has joined New York Public Radio as v.p. and chief digital officer, the station announced today (Feb. 5). Hjelm’s portfolio will include digital business development, product development and design, web/mobile analytics and research and technology. He served as senior director of content strategy and business operations for NBC’s local media initiative, overseeing operations, content and product strategy for 10 major-market local news-and-lifestyle websites; he also co-managed the reorganization of the division’s digital operations and relaunch of its online services in 2008. At AOL he was director of broadband premium services.

Glass disses 170 Million Americans campaign for skirting criticisms of bias

Ira Glass of This American Life criticizes the 170 million Americans advocacy campaign to defend public broadcasting's federal funding in today's Boston Globe. The campaign, developed by American Public Media and the Association of Public Television Stations to recruit public radio and TV supporters as advocates, fails to address conservatives' criticism that pubcasting programs have a liberal bias, he says.

“Weirdly, my betters in the public broadcasting community have decided they’re not even going to argue about that,’’ Glass tells the Globe. “Instead they have this kind of vanilla ad campaign based on the idea that 170 million Americans watch public TV or listen to public radio, and these Americans are from all walks of life and are conservatives and liberals. That’s fine, but I feel what’s being said about us is a branding issue about the product that we make.

“I feel like, [Republicans] want to have a discussion about the content we make, let’s have that discussion. We have nothing to be afraid of,’’ he says. “The notion that we’re not actually going to say, ‘No, you have this wrong,’ that this coverage is not biased . . . I find completely dispiriting.’’

"Keep Public Radio On," campaign says via new video

The 170 Million Americans campaign to support public broadcasting funding has posted on YouTube a short video titled, "Keep Public Radio On." The initiative aims to draw attention  to what it says is the average number of Americans that interact with public broadcasting each month via programming, websites and outreach (Current, Dec. 13, 2010).

Pubcasting execs from Alaksa, N.Y., pen Washington Post op-ed in support of funding

Laura R. Walker, president of New York Public Radio, and Jaclyn Sallee, president of Kohanic Broadcast Corp. in Anchorage, Alaska, a Native American station, wrote an op-ed in today's (Feb. 5) Washington Post headlined, "Why Congress shouldn't desert public media." The two assemble research facts to make a case that pubcasting provides value far beyond quality programs, and that "in the midst of cynicism, public media organizations firmly believe that learning is a lifelong and joyful pursuit."