Apr 2, 2012

WFDD hires Tom Dollenmayer of WUSF as new station manager

Tom Dollenmayer, former station manager of WUSF pubTV and radio in Tampa, Fla., has assumed that role at WFDD-FM at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Denise Franklin, who had been at the station for 11 years, departed as g.m. March 22. According to the local Business Journal, Franklin had been involved in recruiting and selecting Dollenmayer to fill the spot, which is a new position at the station. A decision about whether to hire a g.m. will be made after Dollenmayer settles in, station spokesperson Molly Davis told the publication.

Journalism hubs should continue, but with guidelines, evaluation says

A consultant who evaluated the performance of seven CPB-backed Local Journalism Centers has recommended that CPB continue funding the multimedia startups for another year.

But interactive-media consultant Rusty Coats advised CPB to qualify its continued support for LJCs by requiring the centers to adopt a set of best practices. These would help guide the centers through the more challenging aspects of their work, such as collaborating in multiplatform fundraising and media production.

In his evaluation of the seven regional LJCs launched with CPB aid in 2010, Coats found that four are performing relatively well, but the remainder struggle with issues of collaboration and long-term sustainability. The evaluation was presented March 26 at a meeting of the CPB Board in Washington, D.C.

The LJCs are entering an important time in their life cycle, said CPB radio chief Bruce Theriault. CPB backed them with the goal of establishing new models for producing multimedia journalism on specialized topics, bringing pubcasters together to report on subjects of particular regional interest. CPB initially provided $10.5 million to support the centers (Current, April 5, 2010)

CPB is now evaluating requests from each of the centers for their third year of operations. But one — Changing Gears, covering changes in the Midwest’s manufacturing sector — has opted to shut down rather than request additional aid.

The most successful LJCs have clearly defined their coverage areas and presented a compelling master narrative, Coats told the CPB Board. He cited in particular Fronteras, which covers the U.S. border with Mexico, and Harvest Public Media, with a focus on agriculture, as LJCs that have claimed their subjects and presented them coherently. Less successful in this regard was Healthy State which covers health issues in Florida and has lacked focus, Coats said.

Healthy State and Changing Gears are among the LJCs that struggled with cross-station collaboration, long-term sustainability and multimedia production, according to Coats. Fronteras and EarthFix, which focuses on environmental issues in the Northwest, have had the most success with collaboration, Coats said.

Although the stations behind Changing Gears — Chicago’s WBEZ, Michigan Radio and Cleveland’s ideastream — declined to request another year of funding, they will continue to collaborate, Theriault said. The broadcasters encountered conflicts in competing for foundation funding, fueled more by fear than reality, he said.

Coats told the CPB Board that the stations saw competition as a problem, but he didn’t see any evidence that they actually were competing with each other.

A PDF of the PowerPoint presentation Coats gave to the Board is available here.

USC to purchase KCNL for $7.5M to add to Classical Radio Nework

The University of Southern California is buying San Jose-area commercial radio station KCNL for $7.5 million to add to its Classical Public Radio Network, reports Radio Survivor. Currently KCNL airs a Spanish-language paid-programming talk format.

The sale is "big news" for CPRN, "which has been vocal about its desire to expand its programming into the South Bay area," the site notes. USC hopes to begin airing classical programming on KCNL in advance of the license transfer through a lease management agreement. USC also filed a request with the FCC to change the status of KCNL from commercial to noncom after the license transfer.

Here's background on CPRN from Current's Jan. 24, 2011, issue.

Three pubmedia series win IRE honors

"On Shaky Ground," a collaborative news report from nonprofit news organization California Watch and KQED in San Francisco, has won an IRE Medal, the highest award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. The judges called it "an extraordinary effort examining seismic safeguards in place to protect California’s schoolchildren from earthquakes," with "astonishing breadth, depth and creativity." Stories were published in more than 150 news outlets and translated into four languages, and video segments appeared in every major California media market.

Another pubmedia collaboration, among ProPublica, NPR and Frontline, received an award for multiplatform reporting. The judges called  "Post Mortem: Death Investigation in America" a "hard-driving investigation into this little-understood part of the criminal justice system."

In the radio category, NPR's Ina Jaffe and Quinn O'Toole won for "Rising Violence in California Psychiatric Hospitals." The judges "commend NPR for covering new ground on an important subject," IRE said.

A full list of winners and finalists is here.

Concussions report by ex-"Dateline" newsman Stone Phillips to air on "NewsHour"

PBS NewsHour will air a segment tonight (April 2) on concussions in youth football that former Dateline NBC correspondent Stone Phillips had reported and posted on his website. According to the New York Times, Neal Shapiro, president of WNET in New York, brought the report to the attention of Linda Winslow, NewsHour e.p.

Phillips suffered two concussions as a high school and college football player. He paid to produce his own news report on the topic. The segment is about 14 minutes long and features on-camera interviews with researchers. It's his first since leaving Dateline in 2007.

“I did not have any plans for it to be broadcast,” Phillips said. "I was perfectly happy to have it be on the Web site.” Phillips also plans on posting to his site segments on mental health and reading disabilities.