Feb 18, 2011

Haarsager takes on leadership of Public Television Major Market Group

Longtime public broadcaster Dennis Haarsager, who led NPR in an interim capacity prior to President Vivian Schiller's arrival, is the new executive director of the Public Television Major Market Group, an influential consortium of pubTV stations from the nation’s 30 largest broadcast markets. He replaces Bill Kobin, the group's executive director for the last 14 years.

Haarsager retired in 2010 from NPR as its senior v.p. of system resources and technology. He previously spent three decades in Pullman, Wash., as associate v.p. and g.m. for Washington State University’s Educational and Public Media, which includes Northwest Public Radio and pubTV stations KWSU and KTNW. He held management positions with Idaho Public Broadcasting and South Dakota Public Broadcasting, where he began his pubcasting career as a broadcast technician in 1969.

Over the the past 30 years, Haarsager has been deeply involved in the system. He has served on 15 boards affiliated with public broadcasting, including the Small Station Association, the Association of Public Television Stations, PBS, American Public Television and the Station Resource Group. He has consulted for CPB, and numerous stations from Alaska to Florida.

In September 2010 he won the Association of Public Radio Engineers Technology Visionary Award, and in 2008 the Integrated Media Association presented him with a Golden Mouse, for vision and leadership in the challenges of new media for public broadcasting.

Haarsager also writes a popular blog, Technology360.

Top 30 TV markets should provide enough spectrum space, new white paper contends

A white paper (PDF)  presented this week to the FCC predicts there will be little need for spectrum givebacks outside the Top 30 TV markets, Broadcast Engineering reports. The study was conducted by CTIA/The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association, two trade organizations that strongly favor freeing up 120 MHz of spectrum for mobile devices. It also estimates that the federal government could net some $33 billion on the auctions, after compensating broadcasters that surrender licenses and paying for the technology to repack the DTV band.

Does Tehran Bureau site have "stamp of approval" from PBS and Frontline?

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler writes today (Feb. 18) on the Tehran Bureau, a news site founded in 2008 by Iranian-born and Massachusetts-based Kelly Golnoush Niknejad that entered into an editorial partnership with Frontline in 2009. "Where I have difficulty is in the close and unique association of this relatively new website focused on a single country with Frontline and PBS," Getler writes. "Tehran Bureau appears online under the Frontline and PBS banners as part of the Frontline site. That looks to me, and I assume to some others who come upon the site, like a big-time stamp of approval from two names that stand for journalistic credibility and distance."

Jefferson Public Radio to renovate two historic properties in Medford, Ore.

The JPR Foundation, which supports Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Ore., has big plans – $7 million in big plans, to be exact, reports the Mail Tribune in Medford, Ore. The NPR member station will be moving from a basement at Southern Oregon University into an historic 1910 brick warehouse in Medford that was donated to foundation earlier this month. After renovations, in addition to the pubradio offices and studios, the warehouse will contain the Western States Museum of Broadcasting, a cafe and auditorium. JPR also is closing a deal to buy the Holly Theatre in Medford this spring, with plans to remodel the 1930 building. JPR previously had renovated the Cascade Theatre in Redding, Calif. for its studios there (Current, Aug. 2, 1999).

"Will this be a challenge, and will it be taxing? It will be," said Ron Kramer, executive director of JPR. He said plans to build a 40,000-square-foot building on the SOU campus were scrapped after estimates came in between $16 million to $20 million – too expensive during a tough economy.