Apr 5, 2012

HBO developing series inspired by "This American Life" segment

Variety reports that This American Life host Ira Glass — along with actor Owen Wilson and Veronica Mars showrunner Rob Thomas — is developing and executive-producing an HBO drama series. The project, tentatively titled Thrillsville, will be a fictionalized adaptation of "Midlife Cowboy," a TAL segment that originally aired March 12, 2010. That segment told the true story of James Spring, a meth smuggler turned advertising copywriter who, right before his 40th birthday, attempted to rescue two young girls kidnapped by Mexican drug traffickers and smuggled to Baja California.

Glass will be joined by Alissa Shipp, a producer who handles TV and film rights and development for TAL, as a fellow executive producer on the HBO show. Thomas is writing the script for the project.

Tacoma pubTV partnering with state's public affairs channel for book show

KBTC, public TV in Tacoma, Wash., is partnering with that state’s public affairs cable channel, TVW, on a weekly book discussion and author interview show, Well Read, that premiered this week. For each 30-minute episode, host Terry Tazioli, a former editor with the Seattle Times, talks to local writers and then chats with Mary Ann Gwinn, book editor at the Times. First up for its premiere April 3 was Kent Hartman of Portland, author of The Wrecking Crew, which tells the story of a group of Los Angeles musicians who weren’t credited for performances on hundreds of Top 40 hits in the 1960s and early ’70s. Following that interview was a discussion of other interesting rock ’n’ roll memoirs. The show airs Tuesday evenings on both stations, and streams live on their websites. KBTC also carries TVW, the Washington State Public Affairs Network, as a multicast channel.

FCC backs WHDD-FM over alleged violations of Communications Act

The FCC is siding with WHDD-FM — tiny Robin Hood Radio — in Sharon, Conn., in a complaint filed last year by a local assistant schools superintendent. Diane Goncalves wrote to the FCC that on multiple occasions station co-founder Marshall Miles broadcast endorsements of candidates and criticized specific members of the Region 1 Board of Education, actions that Goncalves contended were violations of the Communications Act of 1934. Miles answered that complaint with the FCC on Jan. 13, saying the statements were identified on the air as his personal opinion. Goncalves also filed an answer to that letter.

In a decision on March 30, the FCC agreed, saying that Miles "should take care in the future that your personal views over the air continue to be clearly labeled as such.”

Miles told the newspaper that the word "continue" confirms what he has been doing. “The FCC, with that one word, validated what we’ve been doing and said we’re following the rules,” he said.

Washington News Council finds KUOW mishandled aspects of story

In a three-hour public hearing presided over by a former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice, the 11-member Washington News Council mainly sided with the anti-abortion Vitae Foundation in its dispute with KUOW-FM over an April 2011 story, CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan reports. The reporter from the Seattle pubradio news station had a journalistic responsibility to contact representatives of the Foundation before the story ran, the Council said in a unanimous vote. Also, the Council decided the story contained errors that merited on-air correction. However, the Council sided 10-1 with the station that it did not have a responsibility to provide the Foundation additional on-air coverage after the original story.

A summary of the proceedings is here, which includes the six questions before the Council.

Kaplan noted that Washington is the last news council remaining in the United States, designed to hear complaints from citizens and organizations that feel they have been unfairly treated by the news media.

UPDATE: Members of the Council voted unanimously that the KUOW reporter had a journalistic responsibility to contact representatives of the Vitae Foundation before the story aired. There were no abstentions, as this blog post originally stated. It has been corrected.