May 31, 2004

First Broadcasting, a commercial radio group, is petitioning the FCC to change its procedures for licensing stations. Some of the changes, if adopted, would affect public radio, including how the agency handles vacant allotments and community-of-license switches.
PBS President Pat Mitchell is one of three candidates for chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America named in a New York Times report. MPAA has found it hard to find a successor for Jack Valenti.

May 30, 2004

Lori Robertson of American Journalism Review chews over threats to depth and innovation at NPR News as the network adds hours of news programming for reporters to fill. When asked to file for three shows in a day, Nina Totenberg recalls replying: "If you want me to know anything for me to report, you have to leave me alone for a few hours to do it."
After a year of operating a transmitter in Sacramento, San Francisco's KQED has a weekly cume of just 19,000, while the local pubradio station, KXJZ, has 140,000 -- up 3,000 from last year, the Sacramento Bee reported. The Bay Area station competes head-on with KXJZ, running Morning Edition, TOTN, ATC and Marketplace at the same times (with one half-hour discrepancy).

May 27, 2004

Sounds like the Public Broadcasting Metadata Dictionary is now in beta release, for pubcasters who want to try digital asset management. [Text of the dictionary's present version. Earlier Current article.] Panelists from all corners of pubcasting looked at the alpha version in February during a comment period. Now the CPB-funded dictionary of metadata terms is being tested. Version 1.0 is due out in the fall.

May 25, 2004

Does NPR have a liberal bias? Hardly, according to lefty media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. In its study of NPR signature programming, FAIR found the network's partisan sources are more likely to be Republican. The study titled "How Public is Public Radio?" also claims NPR "relies on the same elite and influential sources that dominate mainstream commercial news, and falls short of reflecting the diversity of the American public."
"I intend to become much more of an advocate for public broadcasting than when I am on the air and seem to be acting in self-interest." In a Texas Monthly interview, Bill Moyers discusses the price public broadcasting pays for federal funding and what he intends to do about it.
Bob Edwards, back in D.C. in a break from his book tour, said NPR bosses didn't give him the option of co-hosting the show before they reassigned him [RealAudio file.]. "I was never asked to be a co-host, I was never told I would have a co-host. None of that came up," Edwards said on Diane Rehm's talk show May 21. Program chief Jay Kernis has said NPR wanted two hosts for the show that Edwards hosted alone. He said he will remain at NPR "for the time being," but owes it to himself and his family to review "attractive options" offered by others.

May 20, 2004

In the New York Daily News, WNYC talk show host Brian Lehrer relates a tale of being abruptly cut off during an interview with Meet the Press host Tim Russert. Two days later, Russert found that what goes around comes around.

May 19, 2004

Continuing her 70-city tour, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman explained in a Washington Post online chat why she recently interviewed sources familiar with the Palestinian refugees' situation: "Our role as journalists is to go where the silence is."
Bill McGinley, g.m. of WOI Radio in Ames, Iowa, tells the Ames Tribune that Iowa is nearing the point at which a statewide public radio network would make sense.
The Washington Post profiles, which recently became the first stand-alone website to win a Peabody.

May 18, 2004

"Real diversity. Real public television" is the slogan for Philadelphia's maverick public TV station WYBE, and the phrase could be a précis of General Manager Sherri Hope Culver's article in Television Quarterly, posted on the station's site. (Beware -- it's a long PDF download.) Not a member of PBS, the station specializes in underserved minorities and is guided in part by 12 ethnic councils.
The New York Times reports on newlyweds who met through a fund drive on WAMC-FM in Albany.
Minnesota Public Radio violated its conflict-of-interest policy when it bought a mansion to resell earlier this year, reports the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Democracy Now! host and touring author Amy Goodwin criticizes mainstream media's "access of evil" in this Newsweek Q-and-A. (via

May 17, 2004

"Does anyone in public TV realize that people have lives?" Kansas City Star critic Aaron Barnhart faults PBS's scheduling of Colonial House as a marathon viewing experience.
The New York Times reports on WFUV's plans for a new radio tower.
A Boston Globe article places Ira Glass among a throng of semiotics grads from Brown University that, "if they don't exactly dominate the cultural mainstream, certainly have grown famous sparring with it." Via randomWalks.

May 14, 2004

NPR's Tavis Smiley appears tonight as a "Power Player" on Jeopardy.
Morning Edition without Bob Edwards will succeed by featuring energetic hosts and "fewer interviews with novelists," among other changes, predicts commercial broadcaster Randall Bloomquist in the Wall Street Journal.
WFUV-FM in New York has at long last found a site for its broadcast tower, ending a decade-long struggle with the New York Botanical Garden.

May 12, 2004

Bob Edwards tells the Seattle Post-Intelligencer his next book might be an autobiography. "The audience is writing it for me," he says. "You should see the e-mails."
Native producer Peggy Berryhill discussed new media's effect on Native stations and many other topics in a recent chat on AIR's website.
In a May 11 ruling, the D.C. Circuit Court upheld the FCC's point system for resolving mutually exclusive noncommercial applications, rebuffing challenges from the American Family Association and Jefferson Public Radio. (PDF.) The decision removes a major obstacle to the FCC's acceptance of new applications for reserved spectrum.
CPB gave more than $2.3 million in grants to 29 public radio stations to help them convert to digital broadcasting.
NPR's Anne Garrels received CPB's 2004 Edward R. Murrow Award this week, the most prestigious honor in public radio.
Bill O'Reilly reportedly is barring Fresh Air from relicensing segments of his much-discussed appearance on the show.
A McSweeney's writer recasts Bob Edwards' book tour as a Grateful Dead experience: "With the NPR tours, it's like, I can't even express it, it's just too big, spiritually, and nobody else understands. Unless you're on tour you can't understand."

May 11, 2004

"It kind of bothers me two people are doing it, because they're going to do half my job," says Bob Edwards in the Seattle Times. "No one's ever going to know what my job was like."
Researchers at Ball State University's Center for Media Design found by observing a (small) sample of media consumers that Americans use media much more than they acknowledged in phone surveys. People used TV and online more than twice as much as indicated in phone surveys and used radio almost twice as much. Users' diaries yielded usage data closer to those obtained by observation. [PDF file of full study. Center for Media Design.] Thanks to and other postings.
Filmmaker Michael Moore calls Democracy Now host Amy Goodman a "national treasure" in the Buffalo News.
The Washington Post's Marc Fisher touches on the ongoing tussle between news and music programming on public radio.
In the New York Times Magazine, Ira Glass reflects on how the FCC's crusade for decency brings him closer to Howard Stern.
Alexander Acosta, assistant attorney general for civil rights, said the Justice Department reopened the 1955 Emmett Till murder case after recent films about the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, including Stanley Nelson's American Experience doc indicated that participants in the murder may still be living, AP reported. The films were Nelson's "The Murder of Emmett Till" and Keith A. Beauchamp's "The Untold Story of Emmett Till."

May 7, 2004

San Francisco Chronicle TV critic Tim Goodman marks the 50th anniversary of KQED with a column excoriating PBS and its local member station: "Rarely has a media outlet lost pace with the needs and wants of its audience and been more in denial about it than PBS."
A teacher in Utah was suspended after showing Frontline's "Merchants of Cool" to middle school students. A school official told the Associated Press that the documentary, which examines marketing strategies used to target teenagers, is "clearly inappropriate."

May 6, 2004

Ira Glass's girlfriend tells the Houston Chronicle that Glass is "not the master storyteller he's made out to be" and thinks too much about work. "But at the same time I want everyone to know that he's taken, and you really don't have a chance with him because you couldn't possibly measure up to me."
Blogger Dru Blood shares a dream about Bob Edwards.
Film critic Elvis Mitchell, who recently left The New York Times, tells Journal-isms that he might not continue his weekly chats on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. (Via Romenesko.)

May 5, 2004

NPR's decision to reassign Bob Edwards followed sound corporate strategy--and that's a good thing, writes Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post. "If you don't find a way to disrupt your own success, the theory goes, someone else will." (Pearlstein discusses his column.)

May 4, 2004

Last week's Frontline doc on President Bush's born-again faith "appears to be a balanced look at the impact of faith on politics," cautiously admits a writer for the conservative Focus on the Famiily website.
Louis Rukeyser, longtime host of Wall Street programs on public TV, has taken leave from TV for health reasons, the Baltimore Sun reported. Doctors said he needs treatment for a low-grade malignancy, CNBC said. Since October, guests have hosted Rukeyser's CNBC program, carried on many public TV stations. Rukeyser promised to return, according to news reports.

May 3, 2004

Philadelphia's WRTI-FM will use digital radio technology to offer two channels--full-time jazz and classical streams--on its one frequency. (PDF of a Philadelphia Inquirer article.)
More on Bob Edwards and his last day as host of Morning Edition, via Google News.