May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Concert brings PBS ombudsman letters

Michael Getler, PBS ombudsman, uncovers the back story of Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jose Pequeno, who was featured in the PBS broadcast of the National Memorial Day Concert from the West Lawn of the Capitol.

School kids rally for Erie pubstation

About 150 students, waving photos of Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Clifford the Big Red Dog, gathered today on the steps of Lincoln Elementary School in Erie, Pa., to support local pubstation WQLN. It stands to lose some $800,000 in state funding if Gov. Ed Rendell's proposed budget is approved. The budget would eliminate state funding for all eight of Pennsylvania's public television stations. "If the budget passes, we would also lose another $70,000 in federal matching funds," Tom New, WQLN's director of creative services, told the Erie Times-News. "That's 25 percent of our total revenue."

HD Radio tuner added to new Zune player

A Zune media player unveiled this morning by Microsoft includes HD Radio tune-in capability among other new features. Zune HD combines a multi-touch screen and Web browser with a built-in HD Radio receiver. In addition, consumers who buy a separately sold audiovisual dock will be able to play high-def videos on HD TV sets. "Microsoft is blazing a trail for a whole new generation of small, hand-held HD Radio enabled products," said Bob Struble, president of iBiquity Digital Corporation. But gadget reviewers are yawning. "I'm a proud Zune owner myself..., and while I think Zunes are great, I'm not thrilled with what I've learned so far," writes Dan Nosowitz of Gizmodo. "It'll be a polished and great-sounding player, I'm sure, but I really want to see something that pushes boundaries, and to me, that doesn't mean HD radio." Zune HD players will be released this fall for sale at an as-yet unannounced price.

Radio writing "makes more sense in bubbles"

In her forthcoming book from W.W. Norton, On the Media's Brooke Gladstone will appear as a cartoon version of herself to tell the story of the press's role in American history, the New York Observer reports. Gladstone first tried writing the book as a graphic science fiction novel set in the year 2032, but dropped that approach for a comic book collaboration with Brooklyn artist Josh Neufeld. "[A]s counterintuitive as it sounds, this is the closest I can get to radio," Gladstone said. "I feel that it’ll be a simulacrum of a radio presence, and that’s how I communicate best....Radio writing looks different from regular text—it makes more sense in bubbles.” The book's working title The Influencing Machine is a reference to the psychological syndrome in which patients believe their emotions and thoughts are controlled by some external device.“I think part of the case I’m making is that people are not the passive consumers of media that they often present themselves to be--they are the shapers of the media,” Gladstone said. During a recent interview with WNYC's Brian Lehrer, Gladstone reveals her bent for science fiction, describing herself as a "huge Trekkie" in a discussion of the new movie and the inspiration of the original TV series.