Feb 29, 2008

Louisville's Partnership adopts new name

The three-station Public Radio Partnership in Louisville, Ky., has renamed itself Louisville Public Media. "What does our new name imply? Simply put, it reflects our determination to refashion and reshape our organization in the on-line, on-demand world of digital media and provide a new era of service to our community," says its website.

NPR apologizes for "dark continent," but should it?

NPR apologized to listeners Feb. 16 after newscaster Jean Cochran referred to Africa as "the dark continent" in a newscast. "This is simply an outdated reference as well as being outrageously offensive," said one of many listeners who complained. But the apology in turn drew criticism accusing NPR of hypersensitivity. Should the network have apologized? "Given the intense listener reaction, it would have been arrogant for NPR to ignore the use of the controversial term," writes ombudsman Alicia Shepard. "But in not offering any serious explanation for its apology, NPR missed an opportunity for a broader discussion -- on air, online, or both -- about the power of language."

Pubradio merger fizzles in California

KAZU-FM in Pacific Grove, Calif., will remain under control of California State University Monterey Bay, the board of the school's Foundation decided yesterday. (Coverage in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and a university press release (PDF).) The decision ended a year of formal negotiations over a merger of the station and KUSP, a nearby pubradio outlet that airs some of the same programs as KAZU. "I'm sorry the university has chosen to go it alone, and pass on this opportunity for us to work together to serve the public," said Terry Green, KUSP's g.m., in a press release (PDF).

Prediction: Waylon Smithers will dodge questions about sexual preference

This weekend's installment of The Simpsons will feature Terry Gross, host of public radio's Fresh Air, starring as herself, according to the PRPD blog. (NPR release.)

Post-IMA ruminations lean negative

This year's recently concluded Integrated Media Association conference has inspired some pessimism among pubcasters keen on new media. John Proffitt of Alaska Public Telecommunications wrote on his blog: "In my (current) view, IMA appears to be at an impasse. We seem to have reached a point where integrated media advocacy has given out, where recommendations and demonstrations fail to move our organizations to meaningful action." Responding on his own blog, independent producer Stephen Hill foresaw a bleak future for public radio and added: "After six or seven years of trying to push the river, I’ve regretfully come to believe that the forces that control the legacy public media system — both public television and public radio — are simply too entrenched, too torpid, too scared, and too innovation-phobic to respond meaningfully to the challenges of the digital era."

Excuse me, what is that music you play when you read the stock figures?

While WNYC's Andrea Bernstein is tutoring journalists in Bhutan (earlier item), Marketplace reporter Lisa Napoli has a Bhutanese radio producer shadowing her while she subs as morning host for the APM business newscast. Her guest is Ngawang Pem, 25, a deejay and producer from the youth-oriented Kuzoo FM, first nongovernment station in Bhutan, which is adopting democratic forms under a limited monarchy and installing a new, young king. Napoli has volunteered her help on two trips since Kuzoo launched last year.