Nov 23, 2011

TuneIn announces successful launch of donation app at KQED

TuneIn, a free streaming audio aggregation app that lets listeners hear music, sports and news from around the world, has launched TuneIn Donate, which enables listeners to contribute to pubradio stations. KQED in San Francisco is piloting the new app, available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android smartphones. TuneIn said in a statement that since using TuneIn Donate, KQED "has seen a meaningful increase in traffic" to its website donation page, although it provided no details. "KQED donors are some of the earliest adopters of new technologies," said Tim Olson, station v.p. of digital media and education. "We are excited to be part of this groundbreaking initiative and are encouraged with the initial results.” TuneIn plans to offer TuneIn Donate to listener-supported stations worldwide by the end of the year, it said, adding that 100 percent of donations go to stations.

Human skull, bones, discovered in KCAW building in Sitka, Alaska

Contractors working in the basement of KCAW/Raven Radio in Sitka, Alaska, uncovered human remains that may predate the 103-year-old building, the Associated Press is reporting in the Anchorage Daily News. When workers found the skull and skeleton between two slabs of bedrock, work immediately stopped. "And the first thing we had to do was figure out what to do," said KCAW General Manager Ken Fate. Police and an archeologist determined the bones were not part of a crime scene. Then, "erring on the side of caution," Fate said, "we determined that we better treat them as if they might be culturally significant." Fate contacted the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and tribal elders said the site was not a previous village or ceremonies, but conducted a blessing ceremony nevertheless. The contractors have cordoned off the area containing the bones and the work continues.

Thank you, public broadcasting

Here's a nice Thanksgiving tribute to public media from the staff of the National Center for Media Engagement, talking about what they're most thankful for. From Charles Meyer, NCME executive director: "I’m grateful for the times I’ve giggled uncontrollably while listening to This American Life podcasts. I’m thankful for being moved deeply every time I watch Ken Burns’s documentary about Lewis and Clark. And I’ve never been more proud and grateful to be part of public media as I was when my family and I watched the recent NewsHour segment about American Graduate and the Nine Network Teacher Town Hall. I could tell that my son understood the importance of school in a way he never had before, and I could see in my family’s eyes that they realized the enormous value and potential of what public media can do in communities. Thank you."

Brian Eckstein of Indiana Public Radio dies at 40

Brian Eckstein, production manager at Indiana Public Radio and a volunteer at the station since high school, died unexpectedly Monday (Nov. 21) at his home in Muncie, Ind. He was 40.

"Chances are, if you live around here, your life has been touched somehow, in some way, by Brian Eckstein," wrote the Star Press in Muncie.

"His small shoes leave an enormous space to fill at the radio station, and in our hearts," Angie Rapp, marketing manager of WIPB and IPR, told the paper. Eckstein was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus by the Disabled Student Development Office of Ball State University.

Eckstein had long battled health problems: Two kidney transplants, cancer (twice), leg braces and near-blindness. "But he never complained," the paper said. "He never played the sympathy card."

He received a kidney in 2004 from friend Lee Ann Mengelt. "I felt blessed being able to share something I had with a man who truly touched absolutely every person that he met," she said. "One thing Brian always carried with him was his dignity and compassion. I'll now carry that with me, forever."

His funeral Mass will be 3 p.m. Friday at St. Francis of Assisi (1200 West Riverside Ave., Muncie, Ind., 47303-3692). Gant Funeral Home, Yorktown Chapel, is handling arrangements.

California governor taps pubcaster for prison media relations post

California Gov. Jerry Brown has named Jeffrey Callison of Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, as press secretary of media relations in the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Callison, with his distinctive Scottish brogue, is host of the daily pubaffairs show Insight. "I'm happy what I'm doing," Callison told the Sacramento Bee. "It's not that I don't like what I'm doing or that I'm not happy at Cap Radio. I just felt it was time for a new challenge." Salary for the position is $102,015.

CPB ombudsman gets complaint over station's Occupy Wall Street button premiums

CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan looks into a complaint that during a recent fundraising campaign at WAMC Northeast Public Radio in Albany, N.Y., the station sold buttons that read "I support WAMC & Occupy Wall Street — 99%" for an additional 99-cent contribution. Also, the listener writes to Kaplan, during that campaign, station President Alan Chartock "constantly referred to the Republicans in the House as 'radical' intent on silencing public radio because it is an answer to Rush Limbaugh. This speaks directly to how Dr. Chartock views himself. If he is the answer to Rush Limbaugh, he should raise the money from sponsors and not the taxpayers."

Chartock told Kaplan: "I am the president of the radio station but we have a First Amendment in this country and I can say anything I want. I won't be silenced by those who don't like what I say." And the Occupy Wall Street buttons?  Selma Kaplan, vice president of WAMC, said the station received more than 1,000 calls asking for the premium.

"I think the premium offer, despite its success, was a mistake," the CPB ombudsman writes, adding, "WAMC is a remarkably successful public radio station. But its board of directors might want to rethink whether it is the best policy for WAMC's president and c.e.o. to use that radio station as a forum to voice his personal opinions."

Two political parties protest Dutch pubcasting plan to cut channels from 21 to eight

Two Dutch political parties are opposing a plan to cut the number of public broadcasting organizations in the Netherlands from the 21 to eight, because they think two channels will end up with an unfair advantage over the others, according to Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The VVD and Freedom Party are lobbying media minister Marja van Bijsterveldt to ban the merger, supported by the Dutch Public Broadcaster authority (NPO), which would give 10 million euros extra to two of the broadcasters.

"The Dutch government is shaving up to €127 million off the national TV/radio budgets, demanding that broadcasters merge rather than co-operate," explains Dutch media consultant Jonathan Marks on his Critical Distance blog, which explains the proposal in depth.