Dec 17, 2008

Transition team talks Public Media 2.0

Alec Ross of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team met with pubmedia reps Dec. 16 in Washington at a forum organized by the Media and Democracy Coalition, reports Gigi Sohn, a communications attorney who blogs at the site of her group Public Knowledge. Ross, a member of the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform Policy Working Group, spoke with independent media and technology producers and distributors including ITVS, Public Radio Exchange and the National Public Lightpath Initiative. The pubcasters, Sohn reports, "urged the transition to think of public media as more than PBS and NPR, and to provide opportunities for more grassroots oriented public media."

APM/MPR deficit may be up to $2M

American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio are running between $1.5 million and $2 million under budget for the fiscal year that began in July, reports blogger David Brauer. That's just under 3 percent of APM/MPR's $70 million budget. Brauer says he hears cuts may be coming, "just before or after the holidays."

Support grows after demise of college FM station

KTXT-FM in Lubbock, Texas, one of the nation's most powerful college radio stations, closed Dec. 10 due to financial constraints. Since then, a Facebook page supporting its return has more than 4,000 members, according to an Associated Press story in the Houston Chronicle. The 35,000-watt, noncommercial station operates under an educational license and is supported by Texas Tech University. The school's media department, which ran the station, spent about 40 percent of its budget on items including the transmitter, building and antennae over the last four years. The transmitter needs $16,000 in repairs. KTXT has been broadcasting since 1961.

Skepticism within NPR about lay-off decisions; Facebook group fundraising to save 'Day to Day'

NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard answers questions about the budget cuts announced by NPR last week and reports on reactions among NPR staff: "Many, but not necessarily all, NPR employees seem to accept the rationale that big cutbacks were needed to ensure the company's long-term financial health. Assertions by senior executives that the layoffs were not targeted at getting rid of specific individuals have not been as widely accepted, however," she writes. Meanwhile, Save Day to Day, a Facebook Group established last week that now has 667 members, asks fans of the soon-to-be canceled show to send $50 to NPR. "[H]opefully we can save this, one of the best shows in the NPR line-up," the group's founder, a listener from Cincinnati, writes.

"Grow the Audience" reports on classical music station performance

Education levels within a market are the best predictor of classical music station performance, according to the latest report [PDF] from Grow the Audience, a CPB-backed project of Station Resource Group that is examining options for future pubradio audience growth. The report, published by SRG and Walrus Research, analyzes the performance of the entire field of all-classical stations, including the few remaining commercial outlets, and identifies stations that are over- and under-performing. It also predicts the performance of all-classical stations in Houston, Atlanta and Tampa, three top markets that lack the format. The project website recently added commentaries on audience growth strategies by former NPR News chief Bill Buzenberg, research consultant Mark Ramsey and Latino Public Radio director Florence Hernandez-Ramos.