Nov 17, 2011

Attention RSSers: Interview with new c.e.o. of "Nightly Business Report"

Don't miss Current's story on Rick Ray, who has taken over at Nightly Business Report. Mykalai Kontilai, the educational video salesman who purchased the show in August 2010, will no longer "be involved as an owner," Ray said. Atalaya Capital Management, a New York investment firm that backed Kontilai’s purchase, now owns the program, it announced Nov. 16.

Nine Network unveils $25 million campaign

The Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis today (Nov. 17) launched the public portion of $25 million funding campaign, "Igniting the Spirit of Possibility." Gifts and commitments already total more than $13 million, including $1.5 million from Emerson, a global manufacturing and technology company headquartered in the city. The campaign has five components: The Annual Fund, Future Fund, Venture Fund, a Capital Improvement and Technical Capacity Fund and a Public Media Commons Fund. Jack Galmiche, president of Nine Network, said that the campaign has already received commitments from all members of the Nine Network Board of Directors, as well as members of the organization’s Legacy Nine planned giving society and from the network staff.

APT picks up distribution of "Nightly Business Report"

American Public Television just announced that it will now distribute Nightly Business Report once again. PBS had distributed the show for the past five years; it was in the NPS from March 2005 through June 2011 and on PBS Plus since this July. "NBR Worldwide Inc. has determined that for various business reasons, APT is a better fit for the distribution of their series," PBS told stations in a memo. On Wednesday (Nov. 16), longtime commercial broadcaster Rick Ray took over as c.e.o. of NBR Worldwide, the show's parent organization, a position formerly held by Mykalai Kontilai.

NPR test-drives personalized Infinite Player

NPR Digital Services is experimenting with a new personalized streaming interface for public radio listening, the Infinite Player.

"It's dead simple: you press a button and it plays," writes Michael Yoch, director of product development. "First you hear the latest NPR newscast. That's followed by stories we think you'll like from NPR's three main focus areas, news, arts and life, and music. The only controls are skip, pause and 30-second rewind."

"We're calling it the Infinite Player because it will continue playing stories until you turn it off, just like the radio." Listeners can use the "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons to indicate whether they like a story, and the player will adapt to their preferences.

"The player should deliver the type of serendipitous experience you expect from NPR, with recommendations based on your input, NPR editors' judgment and story popularity," Yoch writes.

For the test launch, NPR also developed localized players for three stations -- San Francisco's KQED, Michigan Radio and KPLU in Seattle. The product team is working with stations to create a player that mixes national and local content together.

The player is a product of NPR Digital Service's "culture of rapid iteration," writes Andrew Phelps in a review for the Nieman Journalism Lab. NPR Digital chief Kinsey Wilson tells him it's not a traditional product launch. “It’s not nearly as baked as something we would launch even as a beta project," Wilson says. "But it’s a way to do some rapid innovation and see if we’re even close to the mark and how people react to it."

Infinite Player works on recent versions of Google Chrome and Safari browsers.