May 3, 2006

CPB board adopts new governance policies

The CPB Board adopted new governance policies and approved changes to others earlier this week as part of its ongoing effort to reform operations within the funding agency in the wake of last year's controversy. The Board approved changes to its Code of Ethics for Directors and Conflicts of Interest policy; outlined new procedures for ensuring that the corporation follows all open meetings requirements and does not include "political tests" in hiring decisions; more explicitly spelled out the responsibilities of board members, the board chair and president; and created a new "whistleblower policy" to protect CPB staff from retaliation for reporting suspicions of waste, fraud or other violations of the law or CPB policy (see also Broadcasting & Cable, subscription req.). CPB Inspector General Ken Konz, whose November report on former Board Chair Kenneth Tomlinson's misdeeds spurred the reform effort, must report back to Congress by June on the work CPB has done to right the ship. Audio of the Board sessions and copies of resolutions and new policies are available here.

Sandy Tolan's "Lemon Tree"

Independent public radio producer Sandy Tolan's new book, The Lemon Tree, has been published by Bloomsbury USA. The book explores the relationship between an Arab family and a Jewish family in the Middle East.

Fellowships for pubradio reporters

Fellowships galore for public radio reporters: a Knight Fellowship from Stanford University for Andrea Bernstein at WNYC in New York; a Knight-Wallace Fellowship from the University of Michigan for NPR's Anthony Brooks; and a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Clark Boyd of The World.

New Realities -- or the same old ones?

Todd Mundt assesses this week's New Realities forum for public radio halfway through and finds enough "mediocrity buttressed by self-satisfaction . . . to last me a lifetime." Consultant Rob Paterson, who helped organize the conference, responds that he saw "evidence of a shift in culture to a more self-sufficient, confident and adult way of being" at the end of the event. More observations from Paterson on his blog and on a New Realities blog of opinions, photos and reports. One new blog to come out of the event: HD Public Radio.

The atmosphere of canned radio

Laura Cantrell, a musician and a DJ on WFMU-FM in Jersey City, N.J., contemplates the art of conjuring a distinct atmopshere on radio, whether the host is live or recorded. Along the way she makes examples of public radio's Garrison Keillor, Eddie Stubbs and Vin Scelsa.

Rukeyser dies at 73

Louis Rukeyser, 73, died Tuesday after a long struggle with a rare bone marrow cancer. The son of one of the first financial columnists in U.S. newspapers, he became the first financial reporting star in TV. "He was the franchise -- proof that the star system worked even for PBS," said media professor Douglas Gomery in the Baltimore Sun. Rukeyser outlived the new version of Wall Street Week devised by Maryland Public Television to replace his original WSW, which he hosted for 32 years. Rukeyser refused to take a reduced role in the new program planned by MPT. He left in a fury and went on to host a show like the old WSW on the CNBC cable network for 18 months, until he began cancer treatments. David Stewart tells how WSW got started in a Rukeyser profile.