Mar 26, 2009

OTM issues apology, correction on "Infinite Mind" show

On the Media has apologized for what it called a "lapse in journalistic judgment" concerning a November 2008 story on the public radio show The Infinite Mind. Dr. Fred Goodwin, the show's host, had stirred controversy when The New York Times reported that he had accepted more than a million dollars in speaking fees from drug companies and talked about their brand-name drugs on the show. Infinite Mind producer Bill Lichtenstein had previously denied, in statements on his production company's website, knowledge of the psychiatrist's links to pharmaceutical firms. But OTM 's report about the flap relied on an account from an anonymous Infinite Mind producer who claimed the show was in fact aware of Goodwin's activities. Host Brooke Gladstone said on March 13's broadcast that OTM should have checked the allegation with Lichtenstein, who said his producer told him she had "no first-hand evidence that (Lichtenstein) knew of any fees." Gladstone said not checking with Lichtenstein was "a mistake, it wasn't fair and it didn't serve our listeners." The Infinite Mind ran for 10 years, ceasing production at the end of 2008. It was distributed to public radio stations and ran on NPR's Sirius Satellite Radio channel.

Idaho g.m. testifies on the Hill about DTV transition woes

Peter Morrill, g.m. of Idaho Public Television, told a House subcommittee today that public broadcasting fund cuts threatened the completion of the digital transition at his station, according to Broadcast & Cable magazine. In Idaho, he said, some coverage will be lost due to "those darn mountains." However, due to "the short time frame and desperate economic conditions, it is extremely difficult to finance and deploy the transmitters." He asked the committee to give stations two years to build out the systems, and to make money available without requiring matching funds.

PBS veep mulls more British programs

Will PBS be featuring ever-more British content? Senior v.p. for programming John Wilson tells Broadcast Now, a British magazine, that the economy is forcing the network to use major investments for programs "really vital to the schedule. We cannot afford nice-to-have programming; it has to be must-have programming." Wilson also says the poor economy may mean PBS will be turning more to UK suppliers for lower-cost acquisitions "when we feel it's the right kind of content." The mag calls PBS "a major buyer and co-producer of British factual and entertainment programming."

WQED head to ask for further salary reduction

George Miles Jr., president of WQED in Pittsburgh, has already taken a hefty salary cut and is asking his board to slice off perhaps 10 percent more. Revenues at the station are expected to fall almost 17 percent this fiscal year. His first salary cut took his compensation from $306,259 to $235,000. He hasn't ruled out layoffs at the station, which has already frozen salaries, reduced pension contributions, cut health-care spending and eliminated travel and meetings.

OPB to oversee American Archive initiative

Oregon Public Broadcasting will develop the pilot project for the American Archive program, CPB announced today. The archive will preserve content from past years of pubcasting for future access by educators, students, historians and the public. As initiative manager, OPB will oversee the pilot to save content related to the civil rights movement and World War II, as well as administer grants to stations to assist in acquiring and digitizing the content. Here's background from Current on the project.