Jan 23, 2009

Please, neighbor, save Mister Rogers

A quiet move to "save" that quiet pubTV legendary show, "Mister Rogers Neighborhood," has sprung up on the Internet. Save the Mister Rogers Neighborhood Campaign, according to the website, was organized by Brian Linder, a father of twin toddlers from Columbia, S.C., who wanted his children to be able to see a show he grew up watching daily. The show hasn't been discontinued; last September its distribution changed. PBS now offers the show weekly to allow room for more PBS KIDS' new series on its daily feed, according to PBS Engage. A Facebook page linked to Linder's efforts is up to nearly 7,000 members.

ITVS film gets Oscar nod

"Waltz with Bashir" continues its run of prizes and nominations with a nod in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Academy Awards. It's the 10th Oscar nomination for ITVS, and the first for its ITVS International initiative. The presitgious awards show airs Feb. 22 from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Congress moves on DTV date, broadband stimulus

The Senate has approved a bill that would delay the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12; it will vote on that next week. Also on Jan. 23, the House OK'd rules governing $2.8 billion for high-speed broadband access, one chunk of the proposed $6 billion broadband update funds that are part of the $825 billion economic stimulus bill.

Upcoming P.O.V. doc gets Oscar nomination

The Betrayal, a documentary that will air during P.O.V.'s 2009 season, was nominated for an Academy Award. Produced and directed by Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath, the film--23 years in the making--follows the experiences of Phrasavath, a Laotian immigrant, and his family after they come to America. The doc also recently received two nominations for the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking.

MacArthur grantmaker Woody Wickham dies

Woody Wickham, 66, a key grantmaker to public broadcasting at the MacArthur Foundation, died of cancer on Sunday at his Chicago home, the Chicago Tribune reported. In more than a dozen years at MacArthur, he helped support such projects as the breakthrough film Hoop Dreams and projects of independent radio producer Dave Isay, including the massive oral history project StoryCorps.

Cincinnati Public Radio to operate WMUB in Oxford

Miami University of Ohio plans to turn over operations of WMUB, an NPR affiliate that has broadcast from its campus for 58 years, to Cincinnati Public Radio. The management agreement is being facilitated by Public Radio Capital and comes less than two years after a university study committee "strongly" recommended that the station pursue partnerships with other news organizations or public stations in Dayton. The university annually contributes $500,000 of the WMUB's operating budget and provides another $300,000 in indirect subsidies. "[T]he financial obligation of WMUB can no longer be borne by the university with the economic challenges we face," said Miami President David Hodge. The Dayton Business Journal reports that the university faces a $22 million budget shortfall and has already cut $16 million from its 2010 budget. WMUB's staff of seven full-time and three part-time employees will lose their jobs.