Oct 27, 2004

BBC Radio disc jockey John Peel, champion of many cutting edge rock acts that went on to notoriety and influence, died at age 65. He was "perhaps the only British D.J. known by name to American rock fans," writes the New York Times. For all his influence, Peel was surprisingly accessible, reports the Washington Post: "[B]asically, if you wrote him, he'd send you a postcard back, often with his phone number, sometimes 'signed' with a rubber stamp that read 'John Peel, The World's Most Boring Man.'

Oct 26, 2004

Roadside sensors are now providing radio ratings for passing drivers in Washington, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Jersey, and Charlotte, N.C., the Washington Post reported [registration required]. The provider, Phoenix-based MobilTrak, derives listener data from tuning and sells results to retailers near the same roads, to billboard companies [earlier NYT article], as well as to radio stations.

"How can we reach kids who don't watch PBS without dumbing down to them?" WGBH tries a reality show for teenagers.
The Boston Globe profiles Zalmai Yawar, an Afghan who has worked as an interpreter for NPR and other U.S. news outlets. "Reporters kill over two things: a great driver and a great interpreter," says NPR's Jacki Lyden. "Zalmai was one of my best interpreters ever."

Oct 25, 2004

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune profiles Minnesota Public Radio and its president, Bill Kling. (Reg. req.)

Oct 21, 2004

Tucker Carlson is apparently spoiling for a rematch with The Daily Show's Jon Stewart after Friday's much-publicized live spat on CNN's Crossfire. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the bow tied commentator has invited the fake newsman to appear on this Friday's Unfiltered on PBS. "I have a low opinion of the things Jon said, but I'd like to give him a chance to explain it in an environment where he can talk," Carlson said. No word from Stewart. Comedy Central execs, who said the network has received 12 times the usual amount of e-mail this week as a result of the face-off, doubt Stewart will accept the offer. (Reg. required)
CPB has awarded more than $9 million to 133 public radio stations to help them convert to digital broadcasting.

Oct 20, 2004

If you missed the Stewart/Carlson bout on Crossfire, Slate's Surfergirl links to a video clip of the exchange.
Community leaders in West Palm Beach have coalesced to develop a take-over bid for WXEL, reports the Sun-Sentinel.
PBS and Sesame Workshop share a 30 percent stake in the new digital children's channel announced today with Comcast and Hit Entertainment, according to the Guardian. The Times reports on why Rob Lawes, the Hit Entertainment chief who forged the partnership, is now leaving the company. Current reported this spring on negotiations to create the channel.

Oct 19, 2004

At least half a dozen pubcasters will proceed to the Nov. 3 FCC auction of FM construction permits. The agency has released a list of the broadcasters and their minimum bids (PDF), the CPs they're pursuing (PDF) and other info.
The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes reports from ringside on the Crossfire slap-down. Part One: Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and PBS's Tucker Carlson call each other colorful names you'll only hear on cable TV. Part Two: Robert Novak and James Carville call Stewart "uninformed" and worse on Monday's Crossfire, and Stewart retorts from The Daily Show.
The Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson reviews Bob Edwards' new show on XM and also sizes up the changes to Morning Edition since Edwards left. (Reg. req.)
Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times says Bill Moyers, who leaves his PBS show at the end of December, "has used Now as a razor-sharp scythe for laying bare issues rarely scrutinized by his media peers." Moyers is quoted about the new PBS talk shows hosted by conservatives: "In my 33 years at public broadcasting, it's the first time I've seen shows that were clearly created for ideological reasons." (Open only to registered seven-day Times subscribers or Calendar Live subscribers.)
"Nearly as splashy, flashy and phantasmagorical as the American art form it celebrates, Broadway: The American Musical is the TV equivalent of a grandly panoramic coffee-table book." Washington Post critic Tom Shales reviews the six-part mini-series debuting tonight on PBS.

Oct 18, 2004

Terry Gross tells the Boston Phoenix that interviewing guests by phone makes it less likely she'll gush. "I've learned the hard way that that’s really not a very productive thing to do," she says.
"It's one thing to get knocked off the air by a show that's better than yours, but it's another to get knocked off by a show whose only reason to exist is a numbers argument," says Ira Glass of Weekend America in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. (Reg. req.)

Oct 15, 2004

Mark Glaser sizes up podcasting, satellite radio and other technologies that could shape radio's future, checking in with Public Radio Exchange to boot.
A WXXI exec tells the Rochester City News why his station won't carry Pacifica's Democracy Now: "On our air, it would be swaying our balance. Our integrity as an alternative, non-polarized station would be harmed."
A Boston Globe update on WBUR notes that Jane Christo's son is being moved out of the station and adds some details about the station's new interim g.m.

Oct 13, 2004

Boston University named one of its assistant vice presidents, former TV exec Peter Fiedler, interim g.m. of WBUR.
WBUR-FM and its parent, Boston University, share tendencies to overspend and dream too big, says a Boston Globe columnist.

Oct 12, 2004

Former PBS star Louis Rukeyser, stricken with cancer and absent from his CNBC investment commentary program for nearly a year, says he asked the cable net to discontinue the show, according to a snarky Washington Post dispatch. The program goes out of production Dec. 31.

Oct 11, 2004

Frontline's "The Choice 2004" debuts on PBS stations Oct. 12. Reviewers for the New York Times and the Seattle Times write in today's editions that, by contrasting the presidential candidates' military service during the Vietnam War, the two-hour documentary casts Senator Kerry in a more favorable light.
More coverage of Jane Christo's resignation in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and the Providence Journal, and on NPR.
The New York Times reviews Postcards from Buster, the new PBS show starring "the sort of character that children understand: perpetually hungry, a little nervous and fascinated by outer space."

Oct 8, 2004

Jane Christo, g.m. of WBUR-FM in Boston, announced her resignation today. Coverage in the Providence Journal and the Boston Phoenix. The Journal also reports that Boston's WGBH will not buy WBUR's Rhode Island stations, but would consider partnering with another operator.
Tonight Cleveland's WVIZ launches a new local series covering topics that viewers in Northeastern Ohio are most concerned about--education, the economy, jobs, among other issues. "I can envision people talking about it at work the next day," host Rick Jackson tells the Plain-Dealer. Producers used results from a three-year audience research project to shape the show's content and format.

Oct 7, 2004

Boston Phoenix media critic Dan Kennedy explores WBUR's controversial sale of two AM frequencies in Rhode Island and other allegations of management misconduct, asserting that "There’s plenty of smoke, but it’s too early to say whether there’s any fire." (via
"I've pretty much been around the world, but the thing about it is when I go away I'm not thinking about relaxing, I'm thinking about the story I'm working on," says Nova senior executive producer Paula Apsell, in a profile by her hometown newspaper.

Oct 6, 2004

The Twin Cities' City Pages says public radio's Pop Vultures is "conversational to the point of free association."
Supporters of public radio in Rhode Island plan to meet tomorrow with executives at Boston's WGBH about the future of their state's stations, reports the Providence Journal. (More in the Boston Globe.)
In a feature on nonprofit journalism by Carl Sessions Stepp, American Journalism Review finds that the PBS NewsHour, Pacifica's KPFK, NPR and several nonprofit periodicals enjoy (literally) a feeling of independence unknown to many media professionals. Via
WTTW plans to adapt its hit restaurant review series for other major market stations, according to Crain's Chicago Business.
PBS will move its headquarters to Crystal City, Va., in February 2006.
KUVO-FM in Denver became the first radio station to broadcast a live concert in digital surround sound, reports Radio Magazine. Also in Radio: the International Association of Audio Information Services has endorsed in-band, on-channel digital radio.
KCPW-FM in Salt Lake city aims to distinguish itself from competitor KUER-FM with shorter news reports and a new branding statement, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Oct 5, 2004

Last week's "Savage Love" featured a tie-in with public radio's The Next Big Thing.
Two top execs left the Public Radio Partnership in Louisville, Ky., as a result of restructuring, reports Business First of Louisville.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) praised CPB's recent grant supporting the Center for Native American Radio, reports Radio World.
Bob Edwards, making the media rounds to plug the launch of his new show on XM Radio, tells the New York Times he's excited about his new gig even though "you wouldn't think, at 57, you could get excited about much of anything." In a Q-and-A with media website, Edwards describes XM's plan for his show as "Let Bob be Bob." "So for better or worse," he says, "that's what you'll get."

Oct 2, 2004

Boston University is investigating charges of nepotism and financial mismanagement leveled anonymously against WBUR-FM, reports the Boston Herald. (More in the Boston Globe.)

Oct 1, 2004

Jim Lehrer's performance moderating last night's presidential debate drew widespread praise, but the conservative media watchblog NewsMax didn't like it one bit. (For more debate reviews, visit Romenesko and page down.)