Aug 11, 2011

NCME director praises KLRU interactive pledge drive

"In public media, it’s getting more and more difficult to distinguish among content, engagement and fundraising. And that’s exactly as it should be," writes Charles Meyer, executive director of the National Center for Media Engagement, in blog post today (Aug. 11). Meyer cites Why KLRU? in Austin, an experimental interactive pledge drive. This month, the station is asking donors to share via social media outlets why they support the station. The resulting Tweets and Facebook status updates run on the air. Public media "are moving beyond simply aligning content, engagement and fundraising toward actually integrating them," Meyer notes. "That’s a good sign, as long as we maintain our editorial integrity and keep our focus on the community."

SiriusXM trying end-run around SoundExchange is reporting that SiriusXM Radio is attempting to directly license music from record labels, bypassing SoundExchange, the nonprofit performance rights organization. In a letter to independent labels via Music Reports Inc., Sirius is offering to pay a royalty rate of 7 percent of gross revenues. That's less than the 7.5 percent it now pays SoundExchange, which tracks airplay on radio stations for the purpose of collecting royalties for copyright owners.

Smiley alleges snub from President Obama

PBS talk-show host and social activist Tavis Smiley is creating a buzz today (Aug. 11) with comments on C-SPAN about his professional relationship with President Obama, of whom he is often critical. "Once he got elected," Smiley said, "and my critique of him about holding him accountable to various things didn’t sit so well with him or the people around him, he has not at this point come on my TV or radio programs one time since he’s been in the White House. This is the first president in my professional career that hasn’t invited me to the White House.”

Smiley and Princeton University professor Cornell West are currently on a 15-city "Poverty Tour," attempting to make the problem a higher-profile issue for the 2012 election.

Latest print issue of SF Public Press hits the streets

The fourth print edition of the SF Public Press is out, a news collaboration of several nonprofit organizations including KQED, KALW-FM and California Watch/Center for Investigative Reporting. In the feature article, reporters examine the city's budgeting process, exploring “participatory budgeting,” the use of the Internet to promote transparency and the "unfulfilled promise" for government audits to identify and eliminate millions of dollars in waste. SF Public Press also publishes new content daily online. It says it "aims to do for print and Web journalism what public broadcasting has done for radio and television."

PBS's commercial UK channel to launch Nov. 1

PBS is looking for advertising partners for its first international channel, according to the British-based Mediaweek news site. The PBS-branded channel, bankrolled by a Canadian oil entrepreneur (Current, Aug. 1), has obtained its commercial Ofcam broadcast license and will initially be available to more than 9 million households on the Sky Digital platform; carriage negotiations also continue with Virgin Media. Initial content will include major program strands such as Nova, American Experience and Frontline. Filmmaker Ken Burns' six-hour Prohibition series also will have its international premiere on the channel.

"This initiative is a logical next step in creating wider distribution for PBS programs," Anne Bentley, PBS spokesperson, told Current, "and the vision is to include most major icon series, as well as other films and specials, presenting the best of American culture to the UK."

The channel's general manager, Richard Kingsbury has hired two staffers from his former employer, UKTV: Katie Cook is heading up programming, and Rebecca Edwards is overseeing public relations and marketing. The project is a collaboration with PBS Distribution (PBSd), a partnership between PBS and WGBH, which holds international rights to most PBS content.