Dec 29, 2003

Common Cause last week criticized the appointment of big Republican donors Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines to the CPB Board. Chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Halpern, with her family, has given more than $324,000 to GOP candidates and committees since 1989, Common Cause said. Gaines and family have given nearly $492,000 to national GOP candidates and committees since then. Halpern, who stirred fears of political meddling with her remarks at her confirmation hearing, was okayed by the Senate in December after the White House appointed her during a congressional recess last year. President Bush gave Gaines a recess appointment this month, along with Claudia Puig, a Miami broadcaster and Republican donor, according to the Washington Post.

Dec 24, 2003

The public TV operation in Richmond, Va., Community Idea Stations, will devote the early afternoon of its second over-the-air channel to state Senate coverage starting in mid-January. WCVW, which would ordinarily air PBS Kids, will return to the air in January after being sidelined by a transmitter failure in February 2003. The station ordered a low-power analog transmitter in the summer.
Starting in January NPR will distribute Creators at Carnegie -- a 13-part “genre-busting” series based on a concert series of Nonesuch Records artists performing at Carnegie Hall. Artists range from the Kronos Quartet to Emmylou Harris and Youssou N’Dour.
After accepting the KOCE Foundation’s bid for the Orange County public TV station, Coast Community College District greatly reduced the effective price, forgiving 30 years of interest payments and making other concessions, the Los Angeles Times reported. (Via AP.)

Dec 23, 2003

The Village Voice declares Now with Bill Moyers one of television's top achievements in 2003. (Via randomWalks.)
Noncoms KPLU, WXPN and WBUR are among webcasts with the highest TSL ratings for the week of Dec. 1, as ranked by Arbitron.

Dec 22, 2003

Public radio's Jim Nayder talks annoying holiday music with Newsweek. Most annoying perennial: "The one song that seems to stand the test of time is Tiny Tim's 'O Holy Night.'"
The Washington Post's ombudsman examines his paper's coverage of the WAMU crisis.

Dec 18, 2003

After steering KCTS through a major downsizing, interim chief Bill Mohler agreed to lead the station as its permanent president, reports the Seattle Times. "What happened is you get caught up in it with the people side," Mohler told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "You have a collection of some of the most creative people that I've met in my entire life that are working here ... and it was their jobs on the line."
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin defends his network's coverage of the capture of Saddam Hussein, which angered some listeners by interrupting their Sunday morning routines.

Dec 17, 2003

Intel is developing technology that could improve the quality of large-screen digital televisions and substantially lower their price, reports the New York Times.
NPR newswoman Peggy Girshman writes about the net's cookie mafia in the Washington Post.

Dec 16, 2003

Radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera have introduced music lovers and opera stars alike to the genre, reports the New York Times (registration required). ChevronTexaco's decision to stop backing the broadcasts has put their future in doubt.
It's been nearly 10 years since the infamous O.J. Simpson low-speed car chase, and L.A. TV stations have made recording such pursuits a staple of their news coverage. TelevisionWeek borrows from This American Life to recall one of the stranger examples.
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly features prominently in a TelevisionWeek story about how TV news covers religion in the post 9/11 era.

Dec 15, 2003

How about a glass of NPR wine? The New York Times reports that the net will partner with Signature Wines, a company that offers custom labeling for businesses and individuals, to promote its NPR wine club.

Dec 12, 2003

Monkey reminds you that Joan Kroc's gift to NPR doesn't excuse you from supporting your local station. "now, what i want to know is, what did mrs. kroc's estate get as a member incentive? millions of npr coffee mugs? carl kassel recording me [a] message on their answering machine? a tub of mama stamberg's cranberry relish?" Monkey's site also features some pics of KERA p.d. Abby Goldstein.
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin addresses NPR's online underwriting and possible e-mail e-litism in his latest Media Matters column.

Dec 11, 2003

"It was clear to us then that PBS could not retreat from Death of a Princess without compromising the integrity and independence of the network," recall Larry Grossman and Newton Minow in Columbia Journalism Review. The former PBS leaders compare their handling of the controversial PBS docudrama with CBS's cancellation of The Reagans.
Classical Public Radio Network host Mark Sheldon died Monday of cancer. More from Colorado Public Radio.
Tavis Smiley says in the New York Daily News that listeners complained when he enlisted the conservative J.C. Watts to provide commentaries. "I had people demanding to know if I'd lost my mind," he says. "But my belief is we need to hear and examine different perspectives, not just our own."

Dec 10, 2003

Tavis Smiley's criticism of Washington's WAMU hasn't helped his chances of being heard in the nation's capital, reports the Baltimore Sun. "There are ways to court program managers other than to complain in the media," says a station spokeswoman. [Earlier coverage in Current.]
In the same Geneva conference center where Internet summit participants are fighting over political control of the Web, broadcasters are holding their own summit, where they claim to be dealing with more significant issues, AP reported. Along with the BBC and many national nets, Pacifica's WBAI sent a rep.

Dec 8, 2003

Independent Lens is crafting an interactive version of its documentary series for the American Film Institute's Enhanced TV Workshop, reports the New York Times. Interactive TV could "attract additional tech-savvy viewers who are hungry for more information, and don't like to be passive when they watch," says Lois Vossen, a producer with ITVS.
Examine WAMU's budget and "there are no thousand-dollar designer trash cans lurking in the numbers, no junkets to Caribbean islands, nothing that smacks of illegality or unethical spending," reports the Washington Post. Instead the numbers reveal how an ambitious strategic plan failed to produce the results station leaders had hoped for.
German public television is defending two of its cultural channels from politicians' proposal that they be merged to save money, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported. Public TV is seeking to increase the tax on TV sets 6 percent to 17 euros ($21) a month.
Some Vermonters want their state public radio network to carry Democracy Now!, but the network's president says the show won't air because of its brand of advocacy journalism, reports the Rutland Herald. Other public radio managers say their listeners have been spearheading similar campaigns.
Virginia and the District of Columbia have begun to compete for the site of PBS headquarters, the Washington Business Journal reported. PBS's lease in Alexandria, Va., expires in 2006.

Dec 5, 2003

The Berkshire Eagle criticizes Bill Moyers for his Nov. 28 interview with Jim Bouton, former major league baseball pitcher and author who battled the newspaper over preservation of an old baseball park in Pittsfield, Mass. During the same broadcast, Moyers delivered an essay tying Bouton's experience in a one-newspaper town to the dangers of media consolidation [Via].

Dec 4, 2003

New York's WNET is looking for a few good donors, reports the Daily News. The station needs cash to digitally restore some of its most valuable programming, including "American Family" (1973) and "The Great American Dream Machine" (1971-72).
The Annenberg Foundation has given $3.5 million to the Metropolitan Opera to help keep the company's weekly broadcasts on the air, reports the New York Times (reg. req.). ChevronTexaco withdrew its support for the Met earlier this year.

Dec 3, 2003

KGNU-FM in Boulder, Colo., is working with Public Radio Capital to help buy an AM signal in Denver.
Former Connection host Christopher Lydon has started a new weblog devoted to the 2004 presidential election.
Maryland Public Television's contracting and bonus practices came under fire in a report released yesterday by the state's legislative auditor, reports the Baltimore Sun.
The Baltimore Sun runs down the history behind Joan Kroc's $200 million gift to NPR.

Dec 2, 2003

Nov 26, 2003

Interesting tidbit: Fox News's right-wing talker Sean Hannity got his start in broadcasting at public station KCSB in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Former NPR reporter Sarah Chayes writes in the Columbia Journalism Review that "a sense that [the U.S. press] had abdicated its duty to help the public think beyond instinctive reactions" drove her out of journalism and into advocacy work in Afghanistan.

Nov 25, 2003

Techno watcher Dennis Haarsager, a PBS activist and Washington State University official, has launched a weblog with his annotated links to media technology news.
Media critic Michael Wolff says PBS's NewsHour caved to outside pressure when it spiked his interview with correspondent Terence Smith, reports today's New York Daily News and Washington Post. "PBS, which is supposed to be the alternative to big media, is censoring my views because it fears they might offend the folks who run big media," he writes in a letter to Smith [via Romenesko].

Nov 21, 2003

The White House has nominated Republican activist Gay Hart Gaines of Palm Beach, Fla., to join the CPB Board. Gaines was chairman of Newt Gingrich's GOPAC and of the National Review Institute, founded by William F. Buckley Jr.
Kansas City Star critic Aaron Barnhart objects to Bill Moyers serving as both host and "axe-grinding opinionator" on his PBS show. Tonight's episode becomes "an infuriatingly one-sided diatribe," Barnhart says.

Nov 20, 2003

WAMU ran a $2.3 million deficit in fiscal 2003, depleting all of its cash reserves and putting the station nearly $500,000 in debt to license-holder American University, reports the Washington Post. The station released its 2003 audited financial statements this week (PDF).

Nov 19, 2003

Eleven SUNY Plattsburgh students have agreed to participate in a public TV program about hazing and alcohol abuse -- and help pay for it -- in a plea bargain after the fraternity pledging death of a freshman, The Saratogian reports. The media lab at Mountain Lake PBS is producing.
A journalist new to radio, John Solomon of WNYC's On the Media, exposes some of the artifice of radio postproduction, which makes pubradio people sound lots more articulate than they are. To make the point, co-host Bob Garfield is stripped bare and flogged. Solomon says the magic is better hidden in radio than in TV or print. [Audio file.]

Nov 18, 2003

Weak listener support at Pacifica's WBAI-FM in New York and KPFK in Los Angeles is prompting the network to cut back at the stations, with possible layoffs at WBAI, reports the Village Voice.
Big interview with NPR's Anne Garrels in The Morning News. We'll add a pithy quote after we've had a chance to read it (now welcoming suggestions).

Nov 17, 2003

The FCC fined Isothermal Community College, licensee of WNCW-FM in Spindale, N.C., $4,000 for improperly promoting an on-air raffle during a pledge drive. The agency had previously admonished Isothermal for WNCW's promotion of a local music festival. [Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the FCC had fined Isothermal for the earlier violation.]
The FCC has delayed the DTV simulcasting requirements for New Mexico's three PTV stations until May 2004. The stations are currently buying the necessary equipment to run their analog programs on their digital channels (PDF).

Nov 14, 2003

Public radio managers in Iowa are disputing a Board of Regents suggestion that their stations be replaced with a statewide network, reports the Associated Press.
What you don't know about Nightly Business Report's Susie Gharib.
"Wandering and wandering, lost in the desert, alluding to Vietnam and cryptic codes as well as to the bones of Butch Cassidy, 'Coyote Waits' struggles to give flavorless love stories emphasis with lazy ranchero chords," writes a New York Times reviewer. "Neither the murder nor the western expanse nor the intimations of mortality quicken the imagination."
"Public radio is riding high," writes devoted fan William Powers in the National Journal. "These days, my most powerful media experiences, the stuff I can't forget, are public radio experiences."

Nov 12, 2003

Ira Glass talks TV and much more with The Onion: "With a lot of shows, whatever my girlfriend is watching, that becomes my taste. I know everything that's happening on Gilmore Girls."
Joan Kroc's gift to NPR ought to inspire other donors to step up rather than shy away, editorializes the Indianapolis Star.

Nov 11, 2003

Conservative columnist Brent Bozell informs us that NPR didn't really need the $200 million gift from Joan "Mommy Peacebucks" Kroc. The Media Research Center also scoffs at the idea that Kroc saw NPR as "objective."
Ken Stern, NPR's executive v.p., tells the New York Daily News much of the income from Joan Kroc's $200 million gift will fund programming. "We see moving from an era of limitations to an era of possibilities," he says.

Nov 10, 2003

Kentucky's Georgetown College sold public station WRVG-FM, as Current reported, but got a permit last week to start a low-power FM station, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.
PBS will add a public affairs show featuring Tucker Carlson, conservative cohost of CNN's Crossfire, to its line-up by next June, reports Television Week and the Washington Post [scroll down].
In an Akron Beacon Journal article, a public radio g.m. worries that Joan Kroc's $200 million gift to NPR might discourage potential donors from giving to their local stations. The Boston Globe sends NPR a wish list. And a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial praises NPR.

Nov 7, 2003

More coverage of Joan Kroc's gift to NPR in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, New York Times and from NPR itself. (Some via Romenesko.) And John Gibson of Fox News asks, "Do you think this will teach NPR that they ought to be nicer about some things they don't agree with, like burgers and fries and eating cows?"

Nov 6, 2003

Miami Herald Publisher Albuerto Ibarguen is the new chairman of the PBS Board. He describes PBS's challenges to differentiate and finance its services in a report in today's Herald.
The late philanthropist Joan Kroc left NPR a gift of $200 million--about double the network's annual operating budget, reports the Washington Post. She also left $5 million to her hometown public station, KPBS, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The gift is the largest single donation in KPBS's history. (More via Google News.)

Nov 5, 2003

Tomorrow (Nov. 6) NPR will announce that it is receiving the largest monetary gift ever given to a U.S. cultural institution. No word yet on the donor or the amount.
Todd Mundt said he quit his NPR show because he was "burned out," according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.
MPT re-tools the format for Wall Street Week with Fortune: "It's not about a bunch of people on the set sitting around and picking stocks, that's for sure," executive producer Larry Moscow tells the Baltimore Sun.
The New Yorker takes note of Brooklyn's Pintchik Oracle, a feature on public radio's The Next Big Thing.
The FCC approved technology, called the "broadcast flag," to protect digital TV shows from being copied and distributed freely over the Internet. Broadcasters won a key concession from the commission, which declined to exempt news and public affairs programming from the new protections (PDF).

Nov 4, 2003

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on the Daystar Television Network, the Christian broadcasting service that is expanding its reach by acquiring licenses to public TV stations. Reporter Darren Barbee charts the network's rapid growth and examines the fundraising practices of its televangelists. This summer, Daystar bid on KOCE in Orange County, Calif., and purchased Dallas public TV outlet KDTN.
Benetton has hired Kurt Andersen, host of public radio's Studio 360, as editorial director of Colors, its multi-culti magazine.
Officials at Miami's WLRN-FM face charges of racism after axing two Caribbean-themed shows, reports The Miami Herald. WLRN's station manager defends the move as a way of making the station more consistently appealing to listeners.

Nov 3, 2003

The FCC has eased DTV simulcasting requirements for three public TV stations: KEDT in Corpus Christi, Texas; KTWU in Topeka, Kan.; and Pittsburgh's WQED. The commission requires all public stations to simulcast half of their analog programming on their digital channels (PDF).

Oct 31, 2003

American University President Benjamin Ladner decided to remove WAMU Executive Director Susan Clampitt after several private conversations with station employees, the Washington Post reports. Ladner said Clampitt's problems ran much deeper than a few disgruntled staff members, which Clampitt said explained certain frustrations.

Oct 30, 2003

WAMU Executive Director Susan Clampitt was forced out of her job today by American University President Benjamin Ladner. Clampitt had been heavily criticized for her handling of the station's finances since taking charge in 2000. Ladner named his chief of staff, David Taylor, to oversee the station during the search for Clampitt's replacement. Earlier Current coverage of the charges against the ousted e.d.

Oct 29, 2003

The University of Connecticut's winning women's basketball team has renewed a contract for Connecticut PTV to handle local broadcats of its games for five more years. The annual fee paid by CPTV for 17 or more games will rise from $600,000 to $1 million by the 2007-08 season.
Monday, Nov. 3 is National Traffic Directors Day, organized (of course) by Traffic Directors Guild of America. The guild is suggesting that bosses treat each TD and a guest to dinner on a tradeout deal with a nice restaurant. The guild is also compiling a salary survey for release in January, adding TV stations. Last year, 1,500 radio stations participated in the survey, the guild said.

Oct 28, 2003

USA Today profiles StoryCorps, the new oral history project from Sound Portraits Productions. "It's history, bottom-up," says Studs Terkel. [Current article.]
On the Media's Bob Garfield calls Terry Gross's talk with Bill O'Reilly "an uncharacteristically ham-fisted hatchet job." But he concedes, "[I]f I were face to face with him, it would be hard for me to resist what Gross could not resist." (Via Romenesko.)

Oct 27, 2003

A Washington Post reader decries WAMU's decision to drop bluegrass, while another supports the changes General Manager Susan Clampitt has made.
Technology analysts predict that Tivo will soon be eclipsed by the DVR-ready set-top boxes offered by cable companies, reports the New York Times.

Oct 23, 2003

New Hampshire Public Radio and Iowa's KUNI/KHKE have started a weblog devoted to 2004 election coverage.
"NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dworkin [sic] definitely needs to look for a new line of work," opines a Capital Times columnist, weighing in on, yes, the Gross/O'Reilly affair.
David Isay discussed StoryCorps, his new oral history project, on Morning Edition. Also, today's Talk of the Nation takes up the future of public television.
The creators of the Public Radio Exchange are discussing their monster over at

Oct 22, 2003

Jeffrey Dvorkin's column on the dustup between Bill O'Reilly and Terry Gross reveals that even NPR admits its own liberal bias, charges conservative columnist Brent Bozell on
In a letter to the station's listeners, WAMU Executive Director Susan Clampitt defends the station's spending despite mounting deficits and criticism of her leadership both within and outside of the station. The letter is posted to the WAMU website.
Bill O'Reilly and Terry Gross continue to hash over their confrontation, this time in the Buffalo News. "How thin-skinned can this guy be?" Gross asks of her sparring partner. (Via Romenesko.)

Oct 21, 2003

"Do you want to say a few words about my growing lust?" asks Terry Gross of Sean Penn in "The NPR Blooper Reel," over at The Morning News.
"I don't trust the woman, I feel that she's got an agenda," says Fox News host Bill O'Reilly of NPR's Terry Gross in the Philadelphia Daily News. "Her sensibilities lie in the area that I'm evil and what I'm doing is bad."

Oct 20, 2003

After a decade of failed efforts to reverse the tide and rescue the system, PBS is in crisis mode, reports Television Week.

Oct 17, 2003

"I don't like the East Coast," says roving public radio reporter Scott Carrier in The Salt Lake Tribune. "There's too many people, it's too flat and there's too many trees." A show of Carrier's photographs has opened in Salt Lake City.

Oct 16, 2003

KOCE will remain a public TV station, it appears. Its operator, a community college district in Orange County, Calif., rejected bids from religious broadcasters and accepted one from the KOCE Foundation last night, the Los Angeles Times reported. With strong fundraising, the foundation upped its original $10 million bid to $32 million despite the loss of KCET as a partner.

Oct 15, 2003

Coast Community College District, operator of KOCE in Orange County, Calif., will decide whether to sell the public TV station at a board meeting tonight. Two religious broadcasters remain as bidders along with the KOCE Foundation, which would keep the station in the pubTV camp, the Los Angeles Times reported. Via
NPR's Terry Gross was unfair to Bill O'Reilly in her much-discussed interview with the Fox News host, writes NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin. And he says her resorting to an "empty chair" interview approach was "an unethical technique and should not be used on NPR."
The National Association of Broadcasters is trying to discredit a MITRE study of low-power FM, claiming it is technically flawed and falls short of its congressional mandate. NPR also questions MITRE's methodology but, breaking from precedent, suggests ways the FCC could begin limited licensing of LPFMs on third-adjacent channels. (Comments are PDFs.) [Earlier coverage in Current.]

Oct 14, 2003

A contributor to describes a recent confrontation with NPR President Kevin Klose over low-power FM. "It almost seems like if [former FCC Chairman Bill] Kennard would have shown him some personal deference, Klose might have swung the other way on the issue," s/he writes. Paul at mediageek provides some additional background and links.
"We need public media more than ever," said Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman at a event in Tucson, Ariz., reports The Tucson Citizen.
"I put myself through the ordeal to get definitive proof of what NPR is," says Bill O'Reilly in The Philadelphia Inquirer of his appearance on NPR's Fresh Air. Letter-writers continue to discuss the interview in the Letters section of Romenesko. Says one: "I'm holding out hope for Mara Liasson . . . [S]he must know how her presence on Fox's air lets O'Reilly, Hannity, et al, keep tarring NPR with the 'far-left' brush."
The first anniversary edition of the Association of Independents in Radio Member Spotlight features all AIR members, tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

Oct 13, 2003

Rich Tucker of the Heritage Foundation hammers public TV as an anachronism on Cybercast News Service. Tucker jumps on the bandwagon recently revived by law student Daniel Lyons in the Baltimore Sun, Atlanta Journal Constitution and other papers.
In Slate magazine, Stephen Metcalf tells how America's Test Kitchen wins over viewers despite or perhaps because of its "overwhelming wonkishness" of its food talk and the "studied crumminess" of its production values. He suspects the co-hosts are flirting with each other in some nerdy low-key way.
Aaron Barnhart of the Kansas City Star advises viewers how they can catch PBS shows like Independent Lens that local station KCPT chooses not to air.
A Wisconsin company has introduced a board game based on public radio's Whad'Ya Know?, complete with a Michael Feldman bobblehead, reports The Capital Times.

Oct 10, 2003

In his latest "Media Matters" column, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin addresses the case of an incomplete transcript and suggests NPR should not shy from naming CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Andrea Levin charges in The New York Post that the effect of NPR's Middle East coverage "is to promote the views of Israel's detractors." Levin is executive director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
Sparks fly on WHYY's Fresh Air as Terry Gross interviews Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor and frequent critic of NPR. Listen to the interview on the show's website. The denizens of online community blog MetaFilter discuss the dust-up. An episode of The O'Reilly Factor posed the question, "Why did National Public Radio's Terry Gross ambush O'Reilly?" And a public radio news director calls O'Reilly "hypocritical." (Last link via Romenesko.)
The Baltimore Sun profiles Ira Glass and also notes the death of his mother.

Oct 9, 2003

Oct 8, 2003

WTMD (Towson, Md.) and WEMC (Harrisonburg, Va.) were among 28 radio stations fined $3,000 by the FCC today for failing to keep proper public files.
Heavy viewers of the Fox News Channel are nearly four times as likely to hold demonstrably untrue positions about the war in Iraq as are consumers of NPR and PBS, according to a study described in the Baltimore Sun.

Oct 7, 2003

Public TV execs and viewers respond to an anti-PBS op-ed that ran in several newspapers: the Salem Statesman Journal, the St. Petersburg Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (registration required).
The secret operations of a New York City agency obscure the likely sale of city TV and radio stations WNYE, reports the New York Times.
Talking with, Washington Post magazine critic Peter Carlson reveals a perk of his job is getting the New Yorker delivered to his door. "I thought I was really hot shit until early one Sunday morning he delivered the wrong copy to me, and it was addressed to Noah Adams of NPR," Carlson says. "I mean, Noah Adams is a fine human being, but we're not talking about Henry Kissinger here." (Via Romenesko.)

Oct 6, 2003

The Associated Press profiles
Executives at Denver's two public TV stations "can't agree whether it's a blessing or a curse that the city has two PBS channels with different programs and audiences," reports the Denver Business Journal.

Oct 1, 2003

The Public Broadcasting Button Collection collects promotional buttons from public radio and TV over the years. Sample: "1980. The year NPR stops being a secret. (don't tell anybody)"
Richard Pearce discusses his film "The Road to Memphis," an installment in PBS's The Blues, on the Washington Post's website.
Twenty-three more public TV organizations received digital conversion funding in the year's second round of Public Telecommunications Facilities Program grants. Aid went to state networks in 10 states, Connecticut, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia, as well as to 13 stations in other states.
Gerald Boyd, the former New York Times editor who stepped down after the Jayson Blair flap, is talking with NPR's Tavis Smiley about becoming executive producer of Smiley's show, reports the New York Post's gossip column. (Via Romenesko.)

Sep 30, 2003

Noncommercial radio broadcasters can apply to the FCC to reserve certain vacant FM allotments. The deadline is Nov. 21. (PDF.)
As the number of TV channels grows, the number that the average household watches grows much more slowly, illustrating the squeeze on audience size. It's now 15 out of 102. In terms of percentage, that's a new low of 15 percent, reports MediaPost. (Thanks to Benton Foundation for the link.)
KCET, Los Angeles, has backed out of a joint bid for the license of KOCE in Orange County, the Los Angeles Times reported. The public TV station's licensee, Coast Community College District, is expected to choose a buyer Oct. 15. This leaves KOCE's nonprofit fundraising arm competing against higher bids from three religious broadcasters.

Sep 29, 2003

"It wasn't until I was 28 that I could write confidently," says Ira Glass in ReadyMade. "I had been living with a woman for seven years who thought I was a moron. The day after she moved out, I wrote my first good story."
Kentucky's Georgetown College is going to sell WRVG, its public radio station. Since this article was published, Current has learned that a group of station members has expressed interest in buying the station.
A retired physics professor and former Republican state legislator wants license holders to clamp down on a lefty bias that he discerns in programs broadcast by Montana PBS, according to AP.

Sep 26, 2003

The Blues, a seven-film PBS series debuting Sept. 28, is "overreaching and uneven," writes New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell. He faults the series for ignoring the racial shift of the music's fans. "[T]hat Chuck D finally appears on public television at a time when Public Enemy is as safe an oldies act as B. B. King may offer a hint as to what's in store."

Sep 25, 2003

Some record labels and music publishers complain that PBS is underpaying the artists featured in its upcoming series The Blues, according to the New York Times.
Information about the upcoming Pacifica elections is online.

Sep 24, 2003

WABE-FM in Atlanta is standing by the classical music format, even as other public radio stations trade it in for more news, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The article sparked exchanges among news and classical fans in the AJC's letters pages (Sept. 14, Sept. 21). Also weighing in: a communications professor suggests Atlanta's public stations cooperate to provide diverse formats.
"The paradox is that the thing that burns me out is the thing that keeps me going," says NPR's Terry Gross in the Sacramento Bee.

Sep 23, 2003

A Baltimore Sun op-ed makes the case for eliminating taxpayer support for PBS.
NPR ought to correct its imbalanced coverage of the Democratic presidential candidates, argues Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin in his latest column.

Sep 18, 2003

USA Today says Naked in Baghdad, the new book by NPR's Anne Garrels, is an "engaging and instructive diary." (Via Romenesko.)

Sep 16, 2003

The Columbia Journalism Review profiles the low-power FM movement. CJR's website also features an interview with Pete Tridish of the Prometheus Radio Project, the low-power advocacy group that recently won a stay on the FCC's new media ownership rules. "I really hope that NPR comes to its senses on this issue," he says of the network's stance on LPFM.
Barring yet another internecine squabble or legal challenge, the board of the Pacifica Foundation has passed new bylaws. By some estimates, the bylaws make Pacifica the world's most democratic media organization, granting its listeners, staff members and volunteers a role in electing local and national boards.

Sep 11, 2003

The FCC has adopted rules for digital "plug and play" cable compatibility, which will allow viewers to plug their cable directly into their digital TV sets without the need for a set-top box. (PDF.)

Sep 9, 2003

Torey Malatia, president of Chicago Public Radio, chats tonight at 8 pm Eastern Time on the website of the Association of Independents in Radio.

Sep 5, 2003

Discovery Communications plans to expand delivery of its media content to schools through its acquisition of United Learning, a major partner with public TV stations in delivering streamed instructional content to schools.
"From the very moment the troops came in on the ground it was clear not enough thought had gone into what would happen when the war was over," says NPR's Anne Garrels about Iraq in the Buffalo News. (Via Romenesko.)

Sep 4, 2003

Want to know who owns a station or cable company? The Center for Public Integrity, an investigative outfit in Washington, D.C., has put 65,000 scraps of FCC info into a searchable database at Data on commercial stations is extensive, on public stations incomplete.

Sep 3, 2003

Record label honchos salivate over PBS's upcoming musical extravaganza, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, in a Billboard wire story. "If the films convey the excitement and the intensity of emotion of blues, then people will want the music," says Bruce Iglauer, owner of Chicago-based label Alligator Records.

Aug 29, 2003

The FCC has released its notice of proposed rule making for the digital conversion of low-power TV stations, translators and booster stations. The commission announced the proposal at its Aug. 6 meeting (PDF). The agency also extended the filing deadline by a month for comments on an interference study of low-power FM. NPR and IAAIS had asked for 90 days. [Coverage in Current.]
The performing rights organization SESAC will use a new "digital fingerprinting technology" to keep tabs on which of its artists are being played on college and other noncommercial radio stations, reports Radio World.

Aug 28, 2003

Bill Moyers discusses the Bush administration's environmental record in the online mag Grist: "You have to go all the way back to the crony capitalism of the Harding administration to find a president who invited such open and crass exploitation of the common wealth."

Aug 27, 2003

Isothermal Community College in Spindale, N.C., will hold on to noncommercial station WNCW-FM, reports The Greenville News.
Members of the Association of Independents in Radio recently discussed the Public Radio Exchange at length with PRX's executive director, Jake Shapiro.
KQED in San Francisco has produced i5, its first web-only documentary.

Aug 25, 2003

The Pacifica Foundation adopted new bylaws Aug. 23, allowing for the election of a new national board and Local Advisory Boards.
Washington Week's Gwen Ifill shares her favorite foods, books, music and so forth with the Washingtonian. (Second item.)
The folks at Public Radio Weekend have posted a new pilot episode of their show. This time they're going for more substance and more of a "live" sound.
New Hampshire Public Radio is sharing its classical music library with a new low-power FM station in Concord devoted to classical, reports the Concord Monitor.

Aug 20, 2003

FCC Chairman Michael Powell says he'll soon open a low-power FM settlement window as part of a new "Localism in Broadcasting" initiative. (Release in PDF, Word document.)
San Francisco Chronicle critic Jon Carroll calls NPR's new Day to Day "regrettable" and says KQED's TV lineup needs a boost. [Current coverage of Day to Day.]

Aug 18, 2003

NPR and the International Association of Audio Information Services have asked the FCC for more time to reply to a study of low-power FM interference. They requested a 90-day extension of the deadline, originally set for Sept. 12.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bob Graham showed up on a recent (off-the-air) performance of Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, reports the Concord Monitor.
Radio drama isn't dead, notes the New York Times, but it's not exactly thriving either.

Aug 14, 2003

Bob Edwards tells The Tennessean that union-management relations at NPR have been "a little testy" lately: "A nonprofit thinks it's doing God's work, whether it's NPR, the Red Cross or NATO. They're doing God's work and how can you argue with God? -- that's their attitude. So sometimes you need a union to just cut through that."
A decision on the fate of WNCW-FM in Spindale, N.C., has been postponed for two weeks, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times. [More coverage in the Rutherford County Daily Courier and the Hendersonville Times-News.]

Aug 13, 2003

iBiquity Digital Corp. says it has resolved problems with audio encoding at low bit rates by using HDC, a newly developed codec. Engineers who have heard tests back up iBiquity's claims. iBiquity has also extended its licensing fee waiver to public stations until Aug. 29 and agreed to waive royalties on ancillary data services used for noncommercial programming.

Aug 12, 2003

Psychologist Shirley Glass (Ira Glass's mom!) talks about marriage and infidelity in the Baltimore Sun.
Read the advance hype for Naked in Baghdad, in which NPR's Anne Garrels details her experiences covering the war in Iraq.
Trustees at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, N.C., meet tonight to decide the future of WNCW-FM, which belongs to the school. A sale is unlikely, but the board wants to spend less on the station, reports the Ashville Citizen-Times.
Today's Doonesbury digs on NPR.
Officials at WETA in Washington, D.C., have resigned themselves to the prospect of day laborers--mostly Latino men--gathering at a new pavilion near their offices, reports the Washington Post.

Aug 11, 2003

A Dayton Daily News report revisits a year-long dispute between WYSO-FM in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and disgruntled listeners who protest the station's decision to end locally produced jazz and folk programs.
Two Stanford profs have started Philosophy Talk, a public radio show concerned more with timeless conundrums than with car repair.
Geov Parrish writes that MITRE's recent report on low-power FM may mark a welcome swing toward localized broadcasting. "The damage that LPFM would supposedly cause to broadcasters simply didn't exist, and the case for re-instating the original proposal is overwhelming," he writes for AlterNet. (Coverage in Current.)
"Their shows are making money, that's why I air them over and over again," says a Maryland Public TV pledge producer, referring to pledge programs produced by Long Island station WLIW. Newsday examines the growth of WLIW's pledge production business.
BE Radio gives an engineer's view of NPR's West Coast production facility.

Aug 7, 2003

KUOW-FM in Seattle is paying tribute to Cynthia Doyon, a swing jazz host for the station who committed suicide earlier this week. The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran obituaries.
"Because public radio is a resource for us as citizens, it makes sense to have our participation," says Jay Allison of Transom, his watering hole for independent producers, in the New York Times.
The University of Massachusetts in Lowell has upset students and community activists by giving 25 hours a week of its FM station's airtime to a local newspaper, according to the Boston Phoenix. [More coverage in the Lowell Sun and the Boston Globe.]

Aug 5, 2003

Chicago's WBEZ-FM is studying ways to acquire a second frequency in the city, reports the Sun-Times.
Public radio engineers say that iBiquity Digital Corp. has improved its digital audio codec, reports BE Radio. Meanwhile, WGUC-FM in Cincinnati has gone digital.
KPCC-FM in Los Angeles and K-Mozart, a local commercial classical station, will promote each other on their airwaves, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Aug 4, 2003

The New York Times reports on choices in cable and satellite TV for video-on-demand and high-def programming, and how these services may change in the next year.

Jul 31, 2003

Alex Chadwick is keeping an online diary for Slate about the launch of Day to Day, the new NPR newsmag that is being produced in partnership with ... Slate. Revelation: Chadwick made an intern cry.
A Yankee remake of the BBC's Coupling, coming to NBC this fall, will feature rewrites of the British scripts, the New York Daily News reported. The original Britcom now airs in the States on public TV stations.
Undercut fiscally by underwriting declines, San Francisco's KQED trimmed its work week and salaries 10 percent and reduced its staff 11 percent (including nine layoffs), the Associated Press reports.
In a New York Times op-ed, Yale political scientist David Greenberg weighs the meaning of a revelation in the new PBS Watergate documentary -- Nixon aide Jeb Magruder's remark that he heard Nixon okay the Watergate break-in. As reprinted in the Charlotte Observer.

Jul 30, 2003

Conservative writer Rob Long writes in the L.A. Times why he donates to NPR though its programming drives him to shout back, spraying his dashboard with angry spittle.
A Venice Beach bike repairman told coworkers a recent pledge to KCRW scored him "a kick-ass tote bag," "reports" the humor mag The Onion. (Last item under "News in Brief.")

Jul 28, 2003

WNET's Bill Baker decries the twin disasters of FCC deregulation and diminished support for pubcasters in an op-ed for the University of Minnesota's student newspaper.
The new Broadway show Avenue Q, produced by former employees of Sesame Street, spoofs the kids' show by dragging it "into a curse-filled world of Gen-X angst, unemployment and promiscuous, drunken sex," writes Jake Tapper in The New York Times.
Public television producer John Schott has a weblog.
"We've changed our strategy from being an exporter of British programming into being a creator of global programs," says Mark Young, president of BBC Worldwide Americas, in the L.A. Times.

Jul 25, 2003

FCC Chairman Michael Powell is paying a hefty political price for ignoring populist concerns about big media, reports the Washington Post.
The team behind Day to Day, NPR's new midday newsmagazine, hope the show will be "looser" and "more spontaneous" than other network fare, reports The Los Angeles Times. Day to Day debuts Monday, July 28.

Jul 24, 2003

Marketplace host David Brancaccio is leaving the show to co-host PBS's Now with Bill Moyers. TV Barn has the PBS press release.
Religious broadcasters are among the entities bidding in the sale of Orange County public TV station KOCE, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Jul 23, 2003

New York Times columnist Frank Rich contemplates why liberals can't get a foothold on talk show TV.
A new genre of makeover programs flourishes in Britain, reports the New York Times. "Their proliferation has led to criticisms that British television, once known for its quality and innovation, has deteriorated into a showcase for relatively inexpensive programs that cater to viewers' lazier and meaner instincts."

Jul 22, 2003

A new report discusses the future of WNCW-FM in Spindale, N.C., according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. In the report, administrators at Isothermal Community College, the station's owner, tell their board that other broadcasters want to buy or manage WNCW. They also suggest changes to the station if the board decides not to sell. [Earlier coverage of WNCW in Current.]
Joe Hagan reports in the New York Observer that PBS talk host Charlie Rose rushed back to Manhattan when deposed New York Times Editor Howell Raines offered an interview. In the newsmaking interview, Raines came off about as poorly as Jayson Blair in HIS post-scandal debut.
Sept. 16 is the application deadline for rural public TV stations to apply for aid to put their digital signals on the air. The Agriculture Department is making $15 million available, according to a press release. APTS sought the aid as part of a strategy to find federal money beyond the CPB appropriation, as President John Lawson wrote in a commentary this spring.

Jul 18, 2003

Maria Martin, executive producer of public radio's Latino USA, is leaving the show as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. She says she's leaving to keep a CPB grant that drew objections from the University of Texas, where the show is produced.

Jul 15, 2003

The MITRE Corp. has released its study of whether low-power FM stations can operate on third-adjacent channels to full-power stations. The Prometheus Radio Project, a group of low-power activists, say the study proves the FCC could safely license many more LPFMs. Other stakeholders have yet to comment. [Earlier coverage in Current.]
San Francisco Chronicle critic Tim Goodman has some scathing words for PBS, which he says is "hopelessly broken." President Pat Mitchell and her programmers "can't form a declarative sentence to save their lives." (Via Romenesko.)

Jul 14, 2003

The Association of Independents in Radio has published an online version of its newsletter, Airspace--and this one is devoted exclusively to independent producing and the Web.
The executive director of Pacifica says the network's move back to Berkeley is "symbolic of Pacifica returning to its roots, returning to its mission," reports the Los Angeles Times.

Jul 11, 2003

Execs at San Francisco's KQED are looking for ways to reduce expenses and may cut up to 40 jobs, reports the Contra Costa Times. (More in the Mercury News.)

Jul 9, 2003

The press fails when it allows "the principle of objectivity to make us passive recipients of news, rather than aggressive analyzers and explainers of it," writes Brent Cunningham in the Columbia Journalism Review.
The BBC is embroiled in "unusually nasty and high-stakes clashes" over its news coverage with political leaders in two countries--British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the LA Times reports.

Jul 7, 2003

NPR's political coverage should include more than just the Democratic front-runners, even third-party candidates such as Lyndon LaRouche, argues network ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin.
Media Life ranked public radio's Marketplace among its "Best of the Best."
JJ Sutherland, creator of NPR's upcoming midday newsmag Day to Day, discusses the show's development at
KUSC-FM in Los Angeles has outsourced its underwriting sales to media behemoth Clear Channel, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Jul 1, 2003

Chicago Tribune critic Steve Johnson looks at what one year of competition from Louis Rukeyser on CNBC has done for Wall Street Week with Fortune and finds that the ex-PBS host has much to crow about (via Romenesko).

Jun 26, 2003

Criticism of NPR's partnership with Slate "sort of infuriated" staffers at the online mag, says editor Jacob Weisberg in Online Journalism Review.

Jun 25, 2003

Local people have organized a nonprofit to keep a public TV production facility going in Green Bay, Wis., after Wisconsin PTV closes it, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports.
In a bid to boost its online listenership and raise its profile nationally, Santa Monica's KCRW is sponsoring a series of concerts in the entertainment capital of the East Coast. The sponsorships help "cement who we are as a place that is breaking and taking chances on new music," says Nic Harcourt, KCRW music director, in the LA Times.

Jun 24, 2003

Henry Hampton's last documentary series, This Far By Faith, airs on many PBS stations tonight. The Los Angeles Times retells how the production faltered after Hampton's death. Although a New York Times critic finds that dramatic reenactments and time sequences in early episodes are uneven, she ultimately describes the series, aided by its musical soundtrack, as "splendid viewing."

Jun 23, 2003

Boston's WBUR-FM reinstates Fresh Air today after airing it sporadically since the war in Iraq, reports the Boston Globe.

Jun 20, 2003

A House subcommittee is proposing that CPB take $100 million from its fiscal year 2004 appropriation of $380 million to pay for digital conversion and public TV's new interconnection system. CPB says that would result in a possible 26 percent cut in operating grants to public TV and radio stations.

Jun 19, 2003

Tavis Smiley's NPR show has taken off, but some listeners who aren't black feel excluded. Network ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin considers their complaints.
The Onion reports that a college-radio DJ in Illinois believes he has a huge fan base. "Though 'Rock Blossom' is heard mainly by his girlfriend and a handful of friends who request songs while they get stoned, Haley said his show is distinctive because of his personality," the paper says.

Jun 18, 2003

NPR and WOI Radio in Iowa will co-sponsor a radio-only debate with the Democratic presidential candidates Jan. 6, 2004.
The Pacifica radio network has begun moving back to its spiritual home of Berkeley, reports the Daily Planet.

Jun 17, 2003

The foundation of KBPS-FM in Portland, Ore., will buy its independence from the city's school board. Public Radio Capital, which represented the station's foundation during negotiations, was profiled earlier this year in Corporate Board Member.
The FCC should force commercial broadcasters to fund their local public brethren, argues Rich Hanley on

Jun 16, 2003

The new head of drama for Britain's Channel Four plans to reposition the broadcaster as the "punk rock star" of TV drama, shifting away from big-budget period epics, reports the Guardian.
"Sure, Reading Rainbow is good for you, but is it any good?" A Seattle mother writing for the New York Times thinks so.
Filmmaker Michael Moore unexpectedly chipped in to help KVMR-FM in Nevada City, Calif., raise some cash during its fund drive. (Last item.)

Jun 13, 2003

Portland's KBPS is moving to buy its FM station from the city's public schools for $5.5 million. The school board will vote on the sale Monday.

Jun 12, 2003

WMHT in Schenectady laid off four on-air radio staff yesterday in an effort to break even financially. The station had already laid off 16 employees last month.
Maryland's Salisbury University will not sell WSCL-FM, but wants to strengthen the public radio station's ties to campus, reports the Salisbury Daily Times. A university English teacher says WSCL has been "snobbish" and "stand-offish," the paper reported.

Jun 11, 2003

WYPR-FM in Baltimore has grown since buying its independence from Johns Hopkins University a year ago, but has it been at a cost? "Public radio is increasingly treating its listeners as consumers, including at WYPR," says consultant John Sutton in The Baltimore Sun.

Jun 10, 2003

NPR is protesting the possible addition of a new strip club to its neighborhood, reports the Washington Business Journal. (Fourth item, registration required.)

Jun 9, 2003

Missed this one: Carl Kasell tied the knot May 24, reports The Washington Post, with many from his NPR family in tow. (Via DCRTV.)
Like most commercial news shows, PBS's NewsHour relied heavily on officials and pro-war sources for coverage of the Iraq war and included few anti-war voices, according to a study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).
The board of directors of WSCL-FM in Salisbury, Md., voted against selling the station to Baltimore's WYPR, reports the Salisbury Daily Times. Officials with Salisbury University, the station's owner, favor a sale and expect to decide the matter this month.
Sunni Khalid settled a racial and religious discrimination lawsuit filed against NPR in 1997. (Fifth item.) [Earlier coverage in Current.]
Cincinnati's Xavier University sold public station WVXG to HON Broadcasting Co. of Columbus, a commercial broadcaster, reports the Marion Star.
Fun Fact about Ira Glass No. 483: He is a vegetarian who sometimes gets "obsessed with meat," reports The Oregonian.

Jun 6, 2003

WNED's third annual Buffalo Niagara Guitar Festival opens June 15 with acts including the Yardbirds, Buddy Guy, Larry and Murali Coryell and Christopher Parkening. Why in Buffalo? The Buffalo News asks and answers the question.
KERA in Dallas may run a city-owned classical station under a plan being considered by city government, reports the Star-Telegram. An Observer columnist (5/29 , 6/5) questions whether the public station is up to the task.

Jun 4, 2003

Cartoonist Ted Rall has an idea for PBS's next reality show.
NPR's new deal with the online mag Slate to co-produce a daily newsmag uncomfortably smacks of commercialism, say Mark Glaser of the Online Journalism Review and others.

Jun 3, 2003

The Weekly Standard takes aim at Bill Moyers for failing to acknowledge that many of his Now interview subjects have received money from the Schumann Foundation, which Moyers heads. Moyers responds on the Now website.
Only NPR and PBS gave serious coverage to the FCC's revision of media ownership rules in the weeks before the decision, says the Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins.

Jun 2, 2003

Boston's WBUR-FM dropped Fresh Air and has no definite plans for its reinstatement, angering some fans, according to the Boston Herald.

May 28, 2003

Children's TV producers for WGBH and Reading Rainbow have taken unusual steps to keep their programs on the air. For the first time ever, WGBH will produce a new preschool series for a commercial outlet. Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton appealled publicly for outside funding to keep the award-winning series going.

May 22, 2003

Uncooperative Iraqi prisoners of war are being forced to listen to Barney's "I Love You" song, the Sesame Street theme and heavy metal music, reports the BBC. [Via randomWalks.]

May 21, 2003

Chevron Texaco said May 20 that it will end its longterm sponsorship of Metropolitan Opera broadcasts next April, the San Francisco Examiner reported. The opera company vowed to find new sponsors. Texaco began sponsoring the broadcasts in 1940, according to a company press release.

May 20, 2003

Maryland's Salisbury University is considering selling radio station WSCL, reports The Salisbury Daily Times.
"Public broadcasting's super salesman" David Ives, who led WGBH as it became a national production powerhouse, died on May 16. "As the man who approved major projects at WGBH, he became linked with enduring national favorites," such as Nova, Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery!, recalls the New York Times in an obit.

May 19, 2003

Race: The Power of an Illusion, a three-part public TV series, "could more aptly be titled 'PBS: The Power of Self-Delusion,' a study of how a publicly owned television network with a mandate to challenge the mind can instead put even the most caffeinated brains to sleep," writes Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times.

May 15, 2003

The FCC has fined WCVE in Richmond, Va., $10,000 for illegally constructing and operating a new antenna site. The station started broadcasting from the site before it requested FCC permission to do so. The commission later denied WCVE's petition. Read the FCC order (PDF).
Fortune magazine profiles Christina Cooks, the public TV show from Christina Pirello and her husband/partner Robert. Her combination of macrobiotic cooking and flavor makes a business that grosses $300,000 from underwriters and $350,000 from books, workshops and other sources. See also the Christina Cooks website.

May 9, 2003

White Teeth, a television adaptation of the best-selling book, "captures a more complicated and satisfying aspect of the novel: the poignancy and redemptive sweetness of the losers who populate [Zadie] Smith's comic vision," writes a New York Times reviewer. The two-part Masterpiece Theatre mini-series debuts on PBS May 11.
David Isay will unveil StoryCorps, a national oral history project, later this year. As he tells the New York Times, "This is our beachhead against 'The Bachelor.'"

May 7, 2003

Walter Cronkite and CNN anchor Aaron Brown are the latest TV journalists to agree to appear on public TV stations in infomercials paid for by manufacturers. The New York Times put the spotlight on American Review and other series of shorts produced for a fee by WJMK Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla. Also featured was Healthology, a series of modules produced in Manhattan. The economics are similar to that of shorts World Business Review and Spotlight On and the series Visionaries, described in Current last year.

May 5, 2003

A Star Tribune review of Studio 360 calls PRI "public radio's equivalent of HBO in terms of turning out cutting-edge programming."

May 1, 2003

Astronomers have named asteroid #26858 "Misterrogers" in honor of the late children's TV host, reports NEPA News. (Via randomWalks.) PBS will distribute a live broadcast of Rogers' memorial service May 3.

Apr 29, 2003

The Jewish Action Taskforce has rescheduled protests against NPR's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They will take place at NPR's D.C. headquarters and at member stations May 14.
The Miami Herald has agreed to produce news segments for the city's WLRN-FM, reports the Herald.
"What he reminds me of is that quirky, kind of odd friend you had in high school but never wanted to admit you knew," says a This American Life fan of host Ira Glass, in a St. Paul Pioneer Press article. "But now you think, 'Gee, I wish I had gotten to know him better.' "
Police arrested Minnesota Public Radio talk show host Katherine Lanpher April 12 on suspicion of drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident, report local media.
The FCC has given public TV stations an extra six months to simulcast half of their analog programming on their digital channels. The original deadline for the 50 percent simulcast requirement was May 1.

Apr 28, 2003

Tom Shales blasts commercial coverage of the Iraqi war while praising PBS's Bill Moyers and NPR's Bob Edwards in his TelevisionWeek column.
Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen talks with The Rake. "[W]hen I hear Ira Glass at public radio conventions sort of light into the audience saying, 'You've become conservative, you accept mediocrity,' I say hear, hear," he says.

Apr 23, 2003

NPR's Carl Kasell will marry psychotherapist Mary Ann Foster May 24, reports the Washington Post. Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! host Peter Sagal will officiate. (Last item.)
NPR's Anne Garrels tells colleague Susan Stamberg that, after Iraq, she might not cover another war. "I can't do it to my husband again," she says. (Via Romenesko.)

Apr 22, 2003

Amy Goodman in Newsday on her work as host of Democracy Now!: "I have what most journalists look for -- independence."
NPR's Bob Edwards shared some forthright opinions with a Kentucky audience earlier this month. "The rise of cable TV and the Internet were supposed to democratize the media and give us many voices and numerous points of view," he said. "Instead, market forces and deregulation have clobbered diversity."
All Things Considered host Michele Norris tells that producing the show each day "is a miracle on the order of loaves and fishes."

Apr 21, 2003

NPR's Steve Inskeep tells The Washington Post Magazine about his experiences covering war. "I miss going to Fresh Fields and buying cat food," he confides.
WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill and a local group of critics recently met to discuss the station's news fare, which came under fire for being too Establishment and dependent on NPR. "Most of the crowd characterized the network as not merely stuck inside the box, but as being the box," writes The Independent Weekly.

Apr 18, 2003

Burnie Clark, president of Seattle's KCTS for 16 years, resigned abruptly Thursday, before publication of a Seattle Times series on problems at the station. The Times reported that KCTS owes $2.8 million in back payments to PBS and $229,000 in rent to the city. Eleven staffers were laid off and more than 20 may follow. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer said the station declined to renew the contract of production chief David Rabinovitch last week. Current reported earlier that KCTS had run deficits for six of the past seven years.

Apr 17, 2003

The Poynter Institute profiles Michele Norris, new host of NPR's All Things Considered.

Apr 16, 2003

Looks like Christopher Lydon's running a weblog.
The NewsHour Extra website practices a "new hybrid online genre" that combines daily journalism with lesson plans, reports the New York Times.

Apr 14, 2003

Embedding "has been a public relations bonanza for the military," says NPR host Bob Edwards, who shared other criticisms of the media with an audience in Kentucky, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Apr 11, 2003

"Where should journalists draw a line separating news from opinion? Throughout much of Fox, the question never arises." Howard Rosenberg reviews the Fox News Channel's war coverage in the LA Times.

Apr 10, 2003

The contract for Mark Keefe, program manager of WNCW-FM in Spindale, N.C., will not be renewed after expiring June 30, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. But Keefe told that "the report was premature." WNCW recently faced FCC scrutiny over fundraising practices. [An earlier version of this post misrepresented the Citizen-Times article.]
The FCC released a Report and Order today explaining how it will handle situations in which commercial and non-commercial broadcasters compete for non-reserved spectrum. Report and Order: PDF, Word, text. Concurring statement by Commissioner Michael Copps: PDF, Word, text. News release: PDF, Word, text.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer profiles ideastream, the merger of local public stations WVIZ-TV and WCPN-FM.

Apr 8, 2003

Educational TV can't exist without marketing tie-ins, but some toys teach better than others, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
The American Journalism Review profiles Jefferson Public Radio, an extensive regional network based in Ashland, Ore. "It's the tie that binds the region together," says a former news director.
New media staffers at Boston's WBUR-FM have created a weblog devoted to the war against Iraq.
Chicago police believe that Fe Corizon Cruz-Fabunan, the retired WTTW finance manager accused of embezzling $260,000 from the station, is on the lam, reports Chicago Business.
John Willis, WGBH's new national production chief, is returning to the U.K. to direct BBC's Factual and Learning programs, reports the Guardian. In a February speech to documentarians, he said an "infection of entertainment" dilutes news programs in the U.S.
Sesame Street launches its 34th season on PBS today. The long-running series is as "creative and vibrant as ever," writes Lynne Heffley in an LA Times review. Heffley also reviews three new preschool shows debuting today on Noggin, Nickelodeon's digital channel of kiddie edutaiment.
The New York Times reports on how war coverage has altered the TV habits of viewers in Millville, N.J.

Apr 7, 2003

Corey Flintoff name-checked in the Apr. 5 Zippy comic strip.
The Chicago Sun-Times' Lloyd Sachs praises NPR's Anne Garrels, one of the few American journalists still in Baghdad. "There may be no one on the air who better conveys the difficult mood swings that this kind of assignment can produce, or its utter lack of glamor," he writes. (Via Romenesko.)
"The spirit of documentary filmmaking is thriving, but it is against the odds that you will make money doing it," comments filmmaker Thom Powers, in an LA Times feature about the financial struggles of documentarians. Powers' film "Guns and Mothers," about women who lost sons to gun violence, airs on PBS's Independent Lens in May.