Mar 26, 2008

Asteroid named for could-be radio star

Boston blogger, podcaster, magician, street juggler and skeptic Rebecca Watson -- one of the six finalists in the Public Radio Talent Quest, awaiting a CPB funding decision on a program pilot -- now has an asteroid named after her. The rock, 2.7 miles across and orbiting between Jupiter and Mars, was officially named by the International Astronomical Union on March 21. Jeff Medkeff was entitled to name asteroid No. 153289 for Watson because he co-discovered it in 2001. "Rebecca really deserves this honor. She has provided a much-needed injection of enthusiasm and humor into science education," Medkeff said. She reacts to the news on her blog. See also Current coverage of Talent Quest.

New PBS series: reality archaeology

PBS and Oregon Public Broadcasting have announced a new primetime series, working title Time Team, USA, to air in 2009 or 2010. Based on the UK's Channel 4 series, the show follows a group of archaeologists who have 72 hours to unearth artifacts and other info from a dig site. Possible locations include the Indian Mounds of Mississippi and the earth pyramids near St. Louis, Mo. Producers from the UK series will team up with OPB, which produced History Detectives for PBS.

"Why traditional TV production is dead"

As TV viewing options explode and money for program production dries up, "small and midsize public television stations (not the rich behemoths like WGBH) that want to produce original programs of public value" have two paths to tread, writes Alaska Public Media's John Proffitt in his blog Gravity Medium. Big productions will be few, will "mostly involve outside contractors rather than inside employees, and will draw most of their funding from external one-off granting sources." Small, local productions will have to scale back to "one person + camera + laptop" and "must be aimed at multiplatform niche distribution rather than mass entertainment. In the end, 'TV' folks will either become multifunctional 'video' folks" or will leave to work at specialty video houses. Proffitt features YouTube video of producer Michael Rosenblum lecturing about TV's changing economics. "The demand for video is limitless," Rosenblum says.