Mar 6, 2009

Western Reserve reduces by 10 percent both salaries and hours

Western Reserve Public Media in Kent, Ohio, has made cuts due to a downturn in state, federal and private funding. The station cut full-time staff salaries by 10 percent, instituted a 10 percent reduction in weekly hours and froze overtime. One staffer was laid off. The station's monthly printed program for members has been reduced from 20 pages to 12. It also suspended production of three other publications. All changes were effective March 1.

NPR featured in social media podcast

Andy Carvin, NPR's social-media chief, talks about the network's strategy for connecting with its audience in a new podcast interview featured on The Chronicle of Philanthropy's website. Other podcasts in the Social Good series include Turning Online Friends into Funders, Building a Network that Works and Using Text Messaging to Raise Money.

Mark Seifert to NTIA

Former FCCer Mark Seifert will head the policy side of the NTIA's allocation of broadband stimulus grant and loan funding. Seifert is a past staffer for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and was a Common Carrier Bureau deputy chief. Reps of the NTIA, the FCC and the Rural Utilities Service are meeting next week to decide how to distribute the $7 billion-plus in the economic stimulus package to provide broadband to unserved and underserved areas.

Station gets state funds for tower removal

Ruby Calvert, g.m. of Wyoming PBS, reports that the station has secured $75,000 from the state to remove its tower and analog antenna. Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed a supplemental appropriation bill March 5 that provides the station's funds. Removal of the deteriorating, 50-year-old tower, which stands nearly 9,000 feet up Limestone Mountain near Lander, will take place this summer. See Current's story detailing Wyoming's challenges.

Sprout releases iPhone apps for the wee

Cable channel PBS Sprout, a joint venture of PBS, Sesame Workshop, Hit Entertainment and Comcast begun in 2005, has released two iPhone apps for preschoolers, available for free at Apple's App Store. Sprout Player streams 3- to 4-minute Sprout shows and offers parents a peek at Sprout's programming schedule. Dress Chica is an extension of a Sprout website game where kids can drag items of clothing onto the chicken mascot. Kids can also make Chica dance by shaking their parents'--or their own?--phone. The apps were created with the New Wave Entertainment studio.

APTS asks FCC to allow early DTV transitions

In a filing to the FCC, the Association for Public Television Stations is asking that pubTV stations wishing to do so be allowed to transition to digital this month or next. Numerous stations want to switch to digital as soon as possible for technical and financial reasons. But the commission last week proposed no more analog shutdowns until April 16. Also in an FCC filing, Wisconsin Public TV asked that it be permitted to transition on April 5. The FCC has proposed various deadlines and requirements for the new June 12 deadline.