May 5, 2011

WGBH, New Hampshire PTV to coordinate broadcast of "Freedom Riders"

In a first-time collaboration, WGBH Boston and New Hampshire Public Television are coordinating their television broadcast schedules to air "Freedom Riders," the highly anticipated American Experience documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of the famous civil rights effort

“This is the first feature-length film about the Freedom Rides, a pivotal moment in the American civil rights movement, and we wanted to maximize viewers’ opportunity to see it,” Maria Bruno-Ruiz, WGBH associate director of programming, said today (May 5) in a statement. “By coordinating the WGBH and NHPTV schedules, we better serve audiences in our region.”

“Our stations reach viewers in both states, so we’re essentially creating a joint schedule that is complementary and extends the broadcast of this powerful film,” said Dawn DeAngelis, NHPTV chief content officer.

The stations will alternate running the film on WGBH 2, 44 and World; and NHPTV Prime and Explore.

Smiley earns Lifelong Learning Award from WHYY

Pubcaster Tavis Smiley, host of shows on both PBS and Public Radio International, receives WHYY's Lifelong Learning Award today (May 5). "I was a bit shocked actually that WHYY called me and said they wanted to honor me," Smiley told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "in part because I was disappointed years ago when I made the switch from NPR to PRI and WHYY did not pick my radio program back up. So I was a bit shocked when they called to ask me to receive an award. I'm like, 'Y'all don't even carry my radio show.'"

However, "I'm grateful for the honor," he added.

Native Public Media announces new director of operations

Native Public Media has hired policy analyst Traci Morris as its director of operations, it announced today (May 5). She's the founder of  Homahota Consulting, which provides research on Internet use and development of broadband in Indian Country. Morris was co-author of the first quantitative and qualitative broadband study commissioned by Native Public Media, "New Media, Technology and Internet Use in Indian County." She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, and has a doctorate in American Indian studies and comparative culture and literary studies from University of Arizona. Morris has taught for more than a decade there, at Arizona State University and East Central Oklahoma University. She's the author of Native American Voices: A Reader, a primary teaching tool on American Indian culture at colleges nationwide.

Minnesota Republicans take aim at Legacy Fund aiding pubcasting

Public broadcasters in Minnesota could lose millions in state support for arts and cultural heritage programs under a proposal floated by Republicans in the statehouse. The Minnesota Legacy Fund, financed through a sales tax increase that Minnesota voters approved in 2008, awarded $11.6 million to the state's public broadcasters and community radio stations in its first two years. Republican lawmakers in the House want to end direct Legacy funding to specific organizations such as Minnesota Public Radio and adopt a competitive grant-making process. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that conservative lawmakers object to monies earmarked for MPR, which received $2.6 million in the last biennial funding cycle.

Another target: science fiction writer Neil Gaiman, whose $45,000 speaking fee for a four-hour appearance backed by the Legacy Fund angered House Majority Leader Matt Dean. The Republican lawmaker told the Strib that he hates Gaiman and described him as "pencil-necked little weasel." Gaiman reacted on his blog, disputing the amount of his compensation and comparing Dean to a school-yard bully. Dean has apologized.