Oct 1, 2008

Developer selected, four-year timetable set for NPR relocation

NPR says today Boston Properties won a competitive bidding to develop its new headquarters near Washington's Union Station -- and to buy its present triangular, outgrown building. The company not only has D.C. development expertise but also streamlines the relocation by handling both transactions, says Interim CEO Dennis Haarsager. The network will stay put on Massachusetts Avenue until the new HQ is ready, late in 2012. Earlier this year, NPR bought a bigger, historic-landmarked but plain concrete warehouse on North Capitol Street (slideshow) with plans to replace part with a taller structure and keep enough of the remainder to satisfy the city's historic preservation rulings. Boston Properties has its own media connections: It's chaired by Mortimer Zuckerman, realty and publishing mogul (New York Daily News, U.S. News & World Report).

Update: Boston Properties purchased NPR's present HQ for $119.5 million, reported, citing CoStar Group Inc., a real estate data service. For the much larger new site, NPR paid $44 million for land with warehouse and will pay $100 million to $120 million for construction, Bloomberg said, citing NPR.

Something to gain by playing favorites? Really?

Washington Week host Gwen Ifill rejects the accusations of blogger Michelle Malkin and other right-wingers that she is "in the tank," as Malkin wrote, for Barack Obama and therefore unfit as moderator of Thursday's Palin-Biden debate. "They can watch the debate tomorrow night and make their own decisions about whether or not I've done my job," Ifill told the AP.
Ifill's book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama is coming out on Inauguration Day, and Malkin says "Ifill and her publisher are banking on an Obama/Biden win to buoy her book sales." (In a publicity video, Ifill says her book profiles the new generation of rising black politicians including Obama, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.). Kansas City Star columnist Barb Shelley dismisses the notion that tomorrow's moderator would give an edge to one side: "Ifill is one of the smartest, most respected journalists on the scene. She would no more taint her professional reputation by slanting a debate than dance on a tabletop during the NewsHour." Back to the main debate ... Ifill told USN&WR that the debate format gives each candidate 90 seconds to answer a question from her and then two minutes for followup and exchanges.

Arbitron proceeding with PPM roll-out despite opposition on various fronts

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama joined his Senate colleagues in asking Arbitron to delay roll-out of its new electronic ratings measurement system, the Chicago Tribune and Radio Ink report. But, judging by a statement issued yesterday by Arbitron Chairman Steve Morris, the ratings company is proceeding as scheduled with the introduction of Portable People Meters into eight new markets on Oct. 8. Arbitron is also pushing back against a proposed FCC investigation [PDF] of the PPM's impact on broadcast diversity. A second round of comments are due at the FCC next week, according to MediaWeek.