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).