Jun 30, 2004

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin asks whether the network's music reviews are too "incomprehensible" to most listeners. "They seem to tell most of us not to bother listening -- this information is not for you, but only for the people who are part of the scene," he writes.
NPR's Bob Edwards has received about 20 job offers in radio, TV and academia since March, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader. "I'm listening," he says.
Other print media have failed to make the transition to TV, but a report published in the San Jose Mercury News about the New York Times's TV venture with Discovery Communications says the cable channel has a distinct Timesness.
The Washington Post reports on Discovery Communications' new business delivering streamed video to classrooms. "The long-term hope is that as households become better wired, we can provide a digital library," says Donald Baer, senior executive of strategy. "Once we deliver in the education field, Discovery will be the brand you can trust and bring into the home."

Jun 29, 2004

Bob Edwards tells the Memphis Commercial Appeal that he has "not a clue" what his specific reporting duties will be at NPR, and doesn't quibble with a reporter's assertion that Morning Edition has lost its distinctiveness.
Blogger and public radio programmer Eric Nuzum is joining NPR in August as program and acquisitions manager, a new position.

Jun 24, 2004

NPR ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin addresses listener queries about the influence of fundraising concerns on the network's editorial decisions in this column on Though he writes that there is a growing concern about the issue "both outside and inside NPR," Dvorkin concludes that "it would take more than a few Wal-Mart underwriting messages" to corrupt the network's journalistic integrity. (via Romenesko)

Jun 23, 2004

Big PDF of a conversation between Ira Glass, host of This American Life, and graphic novelist Chris Ware.
In a financial report (PDF), the c.f.o. of Pacifica warns that the network "cannot survive" its current level of spending on governance, which includes the cost of its elaborate board elections.
You won't see Bob Edwards on TV anytime soon. "It's so bogus," he tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "They put makeup on you. There are cardboard bookcases behind you. I can't feel normal."
"If you can make it through this show without crying, consider yourself a stoic." The Boston Globe reviews Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues, an American Masters documentary debuting tonight on PBS.
Around Town, WETA-TV's last regularly scheduled local series, is being reformatted into interstitial spots, reports the Washington Post. Television V.P. Kevin Harris, who decided to end the show's 18-year run as a weekly, aims to reach more viewers by sprinkling segments on local arts and culture into primetime program breaks. "We think it's changing into a really dynamic format," Harris told the Post.

Jun 21, 2004

The St. Paul Pioneer Press covers Minnesota Public Radio's groundbreaking on its big new headquarters in downtown St. Paul. (Reg. req.)
In a June 16 New York Times op-ed, NPR's Juan Williams praised George W. Bush and advised him on how to attract more black votes. On Morning Edition, Williams regularly interviews members of Bush's administration.

Jun 18, 2004

Nap Turner, a fixture on the Washington, D.C., jazz and blues scene and a deejay on Pacifica's WPFW-FM, died yesterday. The Washington Post's Marc Fisher remembers him.

Jun 17, 2004

St. Louis Post-Dispatch media writer Eric Mink lauds Frontline's Ofra Bikel in this column. (via

Jun 16, 2004

Jun 15, 2004

NPR will invest $15 million over the next three years in news programming, the network announced today. The money comes from the payout of the invested Joan Kroc gift.
KVCR-FM in San Bernardino, Calif., may drop A Prairie Home Companion, reports the San Bernardino County Sun. Larry Ciecalone, g.m. of KVCR, tells Current that a new affiliation fee from Minnesota Public Radio has prompted the decision. The crunch also led to program cuts at WRVO-FM in Oswego, N.Y.

Jun 11, 2004

The Christian Science Monitor writes up low-power FM and, in an editorial, backs the Senate bill that would expand LPFM.
Appearing on On the Media, New Yorker writer Ken Auletta says CPB's decision to back new shows with conservative hosts, but not Bill Moyers' Now, exposes an agenda at work.

Jun 10, 2004

The big religious broadcaster Daystar Television has bought its second public TV station in recent months -- WTBU in Indianapolis, sold by Butler University for $4 million, local TV station WRTV reported June 9. The university explained earlier why it was cashing in. Last summer, KERA in Dallas sold one of its two channels to Daystar for $20 million. Daystar is also suing an Orange County college to buy public TV station KOCE. The network says it owns and operates more than 30 stations.

Jun 9, 2004

Comcast is in advanced negotiations to create a 24-hour preschool channel with PBS and producers of Barney and Sesame Street, according to a Wall Street Journal report summarized by Reuters. (Earlier coverage in Current.)
Democracy Now host Amy Goodman sat down for a long interview with C-Span's Brian Lamb on Booknotes.
Public Radio International will distribute Odyssey, the weekday talk show from WBEZ in Chicago, beginning July 1.

Jun 7, 2004

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher details why Washington, D.C., has almost no college radio stations.
The Weekly Standard discusses at length the tensions between news/talk and classical programming on public radio. Audience researcher David Giovannoni says a lot of classical music programmers "are living in the past."
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a bill Friday that would allow more low-power FM stations to get on the air. (PDF of bill.) Their effort follows an FCC-commissioned study that recommended relaxing interference protections on full-power stations. (More in the Washington Post.)
An analyst tells Forbes that the market for digital radio will start to pick up next year or in 2006.
The war in Iraq--especially the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal--have eclipsed Bono and Janet Jackson, the New York Times reports. This article says indecency legislation crafted this spring is increasingly unlikely to reach President Bush's desk before the November election. The story claims politicians "who push too hard on the decency issue may risk appearing to have their priorities out of whack." Also: Broadcasting & Cable reports that an upcoming episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will "explore the rights of those who express their views over public airwaves." The show will hinge on the alleged offenses of a Howard Stern stand-in.

Jun 4, 2004

Rising program costs have prompted WRVO-FM in Oswego, N.Y., to drop some PRI shows and consider axing The Splendid Table, reports the Syracuse Post-Standard. MPR will soon distribute its own shows, which costs stations that air its programming an additional affiliation fee.
Dick Gordon, host of public radio's The Connection, lives across the street from boss Jane Christo in a home full of "extraordinary international furnishings and artifacts," according to a Boston Globe feature.

Jun 1, 2004

Common Cause picked up on today's New Yorker article (see below), charging that CPB is now acting as "the agent of ideological interference" instead of playing its original heat-shield role. CPB is backing two new programs hosted by conservatives at the same time PBS is halving the length of Bill Moyers' program, the lobbying group said.
A Philadelphia Inquirer columnist vents her frustration with the BBC Newshour, which some public radio stations carry. (Via Romenesko. Reg. req. is a useful tool for dealing with website registrations, by the way.)
The right wing has stopped trying to kill PBS and is now seeking a larger voice in shaping it, writes media chronicler Ken Auletta in today's New Yorker. "Big Bird Flies Right: How Republicans learned to love PBS" [text not online] reports that PBS plans to add CPB-backed programs hosted by Paul Gigot of Wall Street Journal and conservative critic Michael Medved (co-hosting with a liberal). Auletta says PBS President Pat Mitchell was thwarted from signing Newt Gingrich to host a Friday-night show because Fox News had him under contract. But PBS didn't pursue the idea of a program for middle-schoolers to be hosted by the vice president's wife, Lynne Cheney, proposed by producer Michael Pack before he joined CPB.