Dec 20, 2007

One respected news source recognizes another

A Sacramento Bee feature on Capital Public Radio's KXJZ describes a respected, nonsensational news source with a growing local news staff (seven going on nine, plus four regular contributors) that placed fourth in 25-54 morning audience this spring.

Dec 19, 2007

DirecTV picks up pubTV high-def channel

DirecTV and APTS said today the satellite broadcaster will carry local high-definition feeds of public TV stations starting next year, along with PBS video-on-demand programming and two national standard-def pubTV channels. The deal was approved yesterday by the APTS Board and faces votes by the PBS Board and the stations. DirecTV's lineup includes 265 channels, includng more than 80 in HD. (News release via

Ken Burns endorses Obama candidacy

The filmmaker and New Hampshire resident said he's disappointed in Hillary Clinton's negative tone and speculated she's getting bad advice, AP reported.

Dec 18, 2007

Four Silver Batons for pubcasting newsies

"Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind Al Queda," a documentary funded by CPB's America at a Crossroads initiative, is one of four pubcasting programs to win 2008 duPont-Columbia Awards. During an awards ceremony to be held Jan. 16, the competition's silver batons will also be presented to This American Life for a report by Alix Spiegel on the discrimination faced by a Muslim family after 9/11; NPR and Daniel Zwerdling for investigative reporting on the treatment of Iraq War veterans suffering from serious psychiatric post-traumatic stress injuries; and to producers of "Through Deaf Eyes," a PBS documentary on the deaf community in the United States. Descriptions of each of the winning programs are posted here.

North Country Public Radio rebukes WAMC for going after its Lake Placid frequency

North Country Public Radio and WAMC in Albany, N.Y., are feuding over their competing applications to operate a full-power station in Lake Placid. For 21 years, NCPR has broadcast to the community on a translator on 91.7, the only frequency available in Lake Placid for a full-power station. During the FCC's October filing window for new noncommercial FM stations, WAMC applied to take over the channel. The Daily Gazette of Schenectady first reported on the dispute, but the Albany Times Union reported earlier on WAMC's plans to expand into the service areas of other regional pubcasters. The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports on negotiations between NCPR and WAMC for the frequency. “A fellow public broadcaster is trying to take over a frequency on which we have broadcast for 21 years," NCPR's Ellen Rocco told the Daily Enterprise. "It’s truly amazing. I consider it predatory.” NCPR published a webpage about the dispute, with links to other coverage.

Dec 13, 2007

Media insiders debate OPB Radio purchase

Oregon Public Broadcasting's decision to buy an AM radio station in Eugene, hometown of NPR News and music station KLCC, prompted a spirited discussion on Oregon Media Insiders. KLCC, which has a longstanding news partnership with OPB to fund a news bureau in Salem, has endorsed the purchase.

Gates Foundation backs PRI health and development reporting

Public Radio International said Wednesday that it received a three-year, $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to produce and distribute journalism on global health and development issues. PRI said more of its Our World Initiative remains to be announced.

Dec 12, 2007

Independent Lens online fest

Independent Lens has launched its second annual Online Shorts Festival of 11 comedy, drama and documentary films. The Grand Prize winner C. Beck was selected by the curators of the series and broadcast on PBS in November. A jury of industry folk selected the 10 online winners and awarded a Grand Jury Prize to Bullet Proof Vest. Viewers can download the shorts or watch them on-site, post comments, and rate films. The audience favorite award will be announced in February.

Dec 11, 2007

Details on LPFM protections just posted

The FCC released its report and order proposing new protections for low-power FM stations. Accompanying statements of commissioners are posted here.

Dec 10, 2007

Judge sues Georgia Public Broadcasting over debate program

"A senior Superior Court judge is suing the Georgia Public Broadcasting network because it won't air a debate the judge orchestrated and paid to produce," reports the AP. Judge Dann Winn apparently donated $5,000 to GPB and says there was a "handshake understanding" the pubcaster would air a Feb. 6, 2006, debate--featuring Winn--about the morality of dropping atomic bombs in WWII. The debate is available on GPB's online digital library. Winn, who represented the pro-bomb argument, said he wanted to challenge the idea that "America was barbaric and we were the bad guys."

Gillian Anderson is first of 3 new Masterpiece hosts

Three new Masterpiece Theatre hosts, starting with former X-Files co-star Gillian Anderson, are part of the series' previously reported makeover, and the familiar theme music will be reduced to a musical mention, the New York Times reported today. The new hosts succeed Russell Baker. Anderson will introduce the Masterpiece Classic period dramas from January to May, followed by two other hosts for the Masterpiece Mystery! shows in the summer and Masterpiece Contemporary in the fall. Anderson appeared on the series in Bleak House this spring. Viewers will see the makeover in January along with the Complete Jane Austen package.

Dec 6, 2007

Sesame Workshop unveils new research center

The Sesame Workshop unveiled its Joan Ganz Cooney Center today, named after Sesame Street's creator and aimed at literacy development. The center will "conduct and support research, create new media properties, and stimulate a national dialogue on how interactive technologies can be utilized to help accelerate children’s learning," according to a release. Its first report, "The Enduring Power of Pow! Wham!: Children, Digital Media, and Our Nation’s Future," finds that while the digital media play a huge role in kids' lives, they rarely provide educational content. The center has appointed three leaders: Michael H. Levine has been named executive director; Ann My Thai will oversee partnerships with high-tech and gaming industries and direct organization and growth; and Dixie Ching will direct the center's research.

Dec 3, 2007

Proposals sought for Latino pubradio service

CPB is seeking proposals for development and launch of a new public radio program service for Latinos in Los Angeles. Its request for proposals, which has a Jan. 17 deadline, identifies first-generation Latinos as the target audience.

Loan problem in the details for Peoria station

WTVP in Peoria, Ill., must restructure its capital loan by Jan. 15 or pay its $6.9 million balance, the station said, announcing that it would postpone its December pledge drive, the Peoria Journal Star reported Saturday. To prepare for DTV and move to new quarters in downtown Peoria, WTVP borrowed $10.3 million in 2001, but was found in default after some 2002 pledge figures slipped below the level required by the banks.

Probably unrelated dispatch from Peoria: John Morris, v.p. for development at the station, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress. The former two-term Peoria City Council member has two prominent opponents for the nomination: a state legislator and the head of a big local chamber of commerce/economic development nonprofit. They’re running for the 18th District seat to be vacated by retiring Rep. Ray LaHood (R).