Feb 28, 2003

"The old-fashioned idea of the airwaves as public property still excites both ends of the political spectrum . . .," reports The Washington Post's Marc Fisher from the FCC's media consolidation hearing in Richmond.
NPR's Bob Edwards interviewed Pacifica's Brian DeShazor about the radio network's efforts to preserve its valuable archive of historic audio tapes. NPR's page includes an extended version of the DeShazor interview and clips from archive recordings.
The Onion needles NPR's Corey Flintoff this week--see fifth item, "News in Brief." (Warning: gratuitous explicit language.)

Feb 27, 2003

Pubcasters are again calling on FCC Chairman Michael Powell to require cable to carry both public TV's analog and digital signals during the DTV transition. The new request follows a similar appeal made in June 2001. Read the letter to Powell (PDF).
CPB honored Ted Stevens, Alaska's senior senator, with its Ralph Lowell Award, public TV's highest honor. As chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Stevens has steered millions of dollars in financial aid to pubcasters.
New York's WAMC will buy an AM station to complement its stronger FM signal in Albany.
College radio stations are fuming that College Music Journal, their sole tie to the record industry, seems to be fiddling with their playlist data to promote its own ventures.
Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen tells Adweek he's working on a second novel (set in the 19th century) and hates Craig Kilborn.
Fred Rogers died of cancer early today at the age of 74. There's additional information at the Family Communications website. Current covered his retirement in 2000. And in a Current commentary, media scholar George Gerbner explained how Rogers' storytelling addresssed childrens' needs. "In this world of too many manufactured dreams, Fred Rogers is hand-crafting--for us as well as for our children--the dreams that heal," he wrote.

Feb 26, 2003

New research from the Sesame Workshop reveals children worry more about the bully next door than Osama bin Laden, reports the Washington Post.
NPR has hired GetActive Software to provide member stations with fundraising software and e-marketing tools. PBS hired the company for the same purposes in March 2002.
NPR President Kevin Klose visited Baltimore to face critics of his network's Middle East coverage, reports the Sun. "There are people on all sides of this issue who want us to tell only their story using their names and their nomenclature -- and we're not going to do it," he said.
"We're always up front with the fact that this is advocacy journalism," says a producer at WPKN in Bridgeport, Conn., a community radio station profiled in the Hartford Courant.
NPR named Walt Swanston director of diversity management and Michael Riksen v.p. of national affairs.

Feb 25, 2003

Nielsen Media Research announced plans to expand its use of people meters, a change likely to boost cable ratings, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"Unsettling hours about the airborne evils that Americans have been told to await"--"Dirty Bombs," airing tonight on PBS's Nova, and "Bioterror: The Invisible Enemy," debuting tomorrow on the Discovery Channel. The New York Times reviewer says both offer "dreadful insights and fodder for fear."

Feb 24, 2003

"A woman whose first child was born nine months and five days after her wedding recalls that the realization of 'how easy it was to get pregnant' was quickly followed by panic." The New York Times reviews "The Pill," airing tonight on PBS's American Experience.
WHYY in Philadelphia upped Terry Gross's salary from the $85,000 she made in 2001, reports the Inquirer. The paper also reports what hosts including Bob Edwards and David Brancaccio pulled in.
WDET-FM in Detroit stopped its Web audio stream today because of new limits on how Internet broadcasters can program music.
A live chat on eating disorders gets underway at 2 p.m. ET today at Author Marya Hornbacher, whose book "Wasted" chronicles her struggle with anorexia and bulimia, participates in the chat. She is one of several young women profiled in "Perfect Illusions: Eating Disorders and the Family," a documentary airing tonight on many PBS stations.
"I was always attracted to this part of the world and wanted to make some contribution in trying to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together,"says NPR Middle East correspondent Linda Gradstein in a Los Angeles Times profile. (Via Romenesko.)
The Prometheus Radio Project has posted an information sheet about translators in advance of next month's filing window at the FCC.
Paste magazine covers triple-A and Americana music, with some emphasis given to noncommercial triple-A stations. Their site now features a profile of eclectic KEXP in Seattle.

Feb 21, 2003

The FCC has overturned a $7,000 fine levied against Portland's KBOO for airing the sexually explicit song "Your Revolution" by rap artist Sarah Jones (FCC's ruling in PDF).

Feb 20, 2003

The city council in Whitesburg, Ky., also declined to endorse an state funding application from the Appalshop community media center--but not because of any alleged anti-Americanism. (See below.)
Marketplace host David Brancaccio discusses his show's raison d'etre with the Boston Globe. (Via Romenesko.)
PBS and MTV air programs tonight on the threat of war with Iraq, Frontline's "The War Behind Closed Doors" and an MTV news special that serves as a "more elementary but also intelligent primer" for its young viewers. The New York Times reviewed both.

Feb 19, 2003

Fast Company named Susan Clampitt, g.m. of WAMU in Washington, D.C., one of its "Fast 50."
NPR's Steve Inskeep is a finalist for the 2003 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, awarded by the Shorenstein Center. (Via Romenesko.)

Feb 18, 2003

Public radio stations in New Hampshire and Vermont expect the FCC will soon decide on their application for a jointly owned classical music station.

Feb 14, 2003

Ellen Kushner, host of public radio's Sound and Spirit, has helped launch the Interstitial Arts movement.
Maigstrates in Kentucky have refused to endorse a grant application from Whitesburg's Appalshop because of an alleged unpatriotic remark by a DJ on WMMT-FM, reports the Associated Press. Appalshop operates WMMT, a community radio station.
The Daily Northwestern goes behind the scenes at NPR's Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me! Host Peter Sagal acknowledges he's achieve a modicum of fame but will "never reach Bitch Goddess level." (Via Romenesko.)
After fielding more advocates on the Hill than ever before, APTS reported that Congress had reduced the amount it will rescind from this year's CPB funding. Instead of cutting $10 mil to $15 mil, Congress applied a smaller cut of 0.65% or $2.37 million. APTS called it a "tremendous victory." Congress also agreed to lay out its largest amount for the digital transition -- $48.7 million -- in addition to $43.5 million for PTFP, which will spend much of its budget this year on digital.
Some Pacificans are urging the network's board to guarantee seats for women and people of color.

Feb 13, 2003

The theme of this year's Public Radio Collaboration (Nov. 1-9) is democracy in America.
WRYR in Churchton, Md., one of the first low-power FM stations to go on the air, is "definitely starting to catch on," says founder Mike Shay in the Baltimore Sun.
Frontline's cameras will not record jury deliberations in the capital murder trial of 17-year-old Cedric Harrison. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals yesterday issued its opinion in the controversial proposal. (Reports in today's Houston Chronicle and New York Times.)
Public radio stations will have their first chance in five years to file for translators on non-reserved FM frequencies. The FCC window is March 10-14 (release in PDF, text and Word formats). Communications attorney John Crigler believes this means the FCC will soon decide--possibly before the window opens--how to handle situations in which commercial and noncommercial broadcasters vie for the same frequency.
There's no escape from rant media: a Washington Post feature on "nasty name calling, vindictive invective and unrelenting venting" doesn't mention cross-channel exchanges between PBS's Bill Moyers and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.

Feb 12, 2003

Willing to give up your modern, interconnected lifestyle and experience life as it was in the American colonies? Producers of Colonial House, a PBS series that goes into production this June, are accepting online applications.
The reds of Nazi banners and congealed blood, "oranges of flame-throwers and of the explosions caused by kamikaze pilots" bring emotional immediacy to The Perilous Fight, a World War II documentary debuting on PBS stations tonight, writes a New York Times reviewer. "[I]t provides views of World War II that few besides those who actually fought have ever seen," recommends a Los Angeles Times critic.

Feb 11, 2003

Forum, a talk show on San Francisco's KQED-FM, celebrates its tenth anniversary this week. Host Michael Krasny, who also teaches English lit, says his goal is "to bring discourse up, bottom line."
Jonathan Mitchell, producer of public radio's Shades of Gray, chats tonight (Tues., Feb. 11) on the website of the Association of Independents in Radio. Not last night. Sorry.
Pacifica's revenues are rising, but it will have to cut wages and may be in debt for another two years, reports Executive Director Dan Coughlin.

Feb 10, 2003

A lengthy Boston Globe story about the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America includes an account of the group's ongoing campaign against NPR and Boston member station WBUR. (Via Romenesko.)
As if a Dan Schorr Cupid weren't enough, NPR's special e-Valentines also include some annoying music.
Documentaries airing on HBO and PBS tonight are "among the most inventive, expressive programs produced this year in observation of Black History Month," writes a New York Times reviewer.

Feb 7, 2003

Frontline producer Barak Goodman discusses "Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files" on
Michael Lazar, president of Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, tells the Sacramento Bee that new competitor KQED is "not going to be offering the listeners a true alternative." (More coverage in the Sacramento Business Journal.)

Feb 6, 2003

San Francisco's KQED will move into Sacramento next year with its $3 million purchase of a religious FM station.
Another ethics watchdog takes issue with NPR's Cokie Roberts serving on a presidential panel. "Few news organizations would allow their journalists to become involved in an activity comparable to the one Cokie Roberts has chosen and ABC News has approved," writes Bob Steele, director of the ethics program at the Poynter Institute.

Feb 5, 2003

A NOVA producer and a Lockheed Martin engineer will discuss the "Battle of the X-Planes" documentary today at the Washington Post's website.
The New York Times profiles peace activist Leslie Cagan, who (as the article fails to mention) is also chair of the interim board of public radio's Pacifica Foundation.
The only camera crew at a recent New York hearing on media ownership was from PBS's NOW with Bill Moyers, notes the L.A. Times's Brian Lowry.
The latest Eastern Public Radio newsletter includes updates on digital radio, station hires and more.

Feb 4, 2003

WUSF in Tampa let go of eight employees in a reorganization.
Technical problems have knocked WCVW-TV in Richmond, Va., off the air.
"We've ridden the tiger before," says PBS's Wayne Godwin of the tough market for PBS underwriting sales. The Los Angeles Times reports on why companies are less inclined these days to sponsor PBS programs (Reg. required).
The Washington Post takes note of the federal budget's possible blow to pubcasting.

Feb 3, 2003

With its proposed fiscal year 2004 budget the Bush administration not only rejects pleas for DTV transition funding for public TV, but recommends suspending the Commerce Department's ongoing Public Telecommunications Facilities Program. APTS, PBS, CPB and NPR issued a joint statement saying the cutbacks would "deeply" threaten public service. [Link to administration's proposed budget on OMB website.]
Residents of Olsburg, Kan., are surprised to have their own public radio station, though their rural town is already "pretty famous" for its Swedish supper the first weekend in December.
Maryland's Gazette explores the political leanings of Marc Steiner, talk show host and executive v.p. of programming at WYPR-FM in Baltimore. Steiner led a group last year that bought WYPR from its former owner, Johns Hopkins University.