May 11, 2011

Burns signs as regular guest on Olbermann’s Current TV series

Ken Burns, star PBS documentarian, and Michael Moore, a onetime sensation on PBS’s POV series, will among the regulars on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, scheduled to appear weeknightly on Al Gore’s Current TV channel starting June 20. Olbermann left the MSNBC cable channel in January after NBC execs discovered to their dismay that their lead anchorman, known for ceaseless, vehement criticism of the Bush administration, had contributed to Democratic campaigns. Current TV is carried on cable systems reaching 60 million households in this country and on its website, (or 

FCC commissioner heading for Comcast

Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker is leaving the agency to oversee government affairs for Comcast, the New York Times reports. The move comes just four months after Baker voted to approve the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal. Craig Aaron, president of the media reform group Free Press, said the departure is “just the latest, though perhaps most blatant, example of a so-called public servant cashing in at a company she is supposed to be regulating.”

PBS claims top spot in daytime Emmy nominations

Nominations for the 2011 Daytime Emmy Awards were announced today (May 11) and sitting atop the pack is PBS with 57 nods. Kids shows did well: Sesame Street had the third-highest total of nominations for a program, at 16; Electric Company, seven; Between the Lions, four; three each for Biz Kid$, FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman and SciGirls; and two each for The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Dinosaur Train and Word Girl. America's Test Kitchen also got two nods. Awards will be presented on June 19 from Las Vegas. A full list from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is here.

KPBS Radio format change builds on news-driven gains in online audience

KPBS Radio in San Diego will go all-news, dropping classical music from its evening and overnight schedule as of May 23. The format change, announced late yesterday, includes an overhaul of its local midday talk show These Days, which will reduce its footprint to a one-hour broadcast and be re-titled Midday Edition. A Friday news round-up will scale back from a stand-alone show to a segment within Midday Edition.

The changes position KPBS's local talk show in the noon timeslot when more listeners tune in, and allow producers to focus the on news of the day, rather than news of yesterday, according to the Voice of San Diego. "We wanted to have more quality and less quantity" as KPBS's TV, web and radio operations work toward a vision of being the "premier source" of news in San Diego, KPBS chief Tom Karlo told the Voice.

KPBS is one of a handful of major market pubcasting stations that have made impressive gains in Web traffic by expanding their capacity for multi-platform news delivery. Public media analyst Mark Fuerst reported on the tactics behind KPBS's success in the May 2 edition of Current.

KPBS's classical music service, which is essentially a feed of American Public Media's Classical 24, has moved online and to an HD Radio channel. Programmers plan to feature local music performances on weekends.