Jun 12, 2009

WFUV covering Bonnaroo Music Festival

WFUV's Rita Houston will present special coverage of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on tonight's edition of The Whole Wide World, airing 7-10 pm. Online listeners can catch her live show here (choose the 'FUV branded streams). Houston, music director for the NYC station, will produce live broadcasts, video podcasts and other online coverage through out the weekend.

Suffice to say FCC's DTV call center is busy

Reporter John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable decided to see for himself how things were going at the FCC's DTV call center. He tried three times. First, call demand was too high; "goodbye," a voice said. Next, Eggerton said he was put "on hold with music that recalled the funky jazz of 1970's detective show soundtracks." Third time -- nope, didn't make it through to speak with a human then either. The FCC doesn't yet have call totals. But in a statement today it "hails a new era in broadcasting" (PDF).

Pubcasting, unplugged

How did your station celebrate today's milestone DTV transition? At PBS affiliate WGVU-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich., "dignitaries, photographers and reporters jammed into the ... control room for a live broadcast counting down the final seven minutes of the station's analog signal," reports The Grand Rapids News. Two local bigwigs – including Grand Valley State University President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers, who welcomed viewers when the station started broadcasting in 1972 – did the honors at 10 a.m. and switched off the power to Channels 35 and 52. "I thought it would hurt, but it didn't," Lubbers reported. As analog monitors went gray, applause erupted outside the door.

Coming soon: Public broadcasting funding votes in House

This week the House Appropriations Committee okayed its subcommittee discretionary allocations for FY2010, reports APTS in its weekly legislative update. That’s the amount each subcommittee has to draft its spending bill. The subcommittee that funds most pubcasting programs (Labor, HSS and Education) received $7.5 billion more than FY2009, for a total of $160.65 billion. “Although this is a welcome increase,” APTS noted, “key elements of President Obama's ambitious domestic agenda will likely account for much of this increase, making funding in the Labor-HHS bill extremely competitive.” The bill should hit the House floor for a vote July 22. The House Appropriations Committee also this week retained PTFP’s $20 million in the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee’s bill. Discussion and voting by the full House for that is tentatively scheduled for June 16 and 17.

Anti-LPFM arguments refuted in Hill hearing

Support for easier licensing standards for Low Power FM stations is growing in Congress and at the FCC, according to reports [here and here] on yesterday's House subcommittee hearing on the Local Community Radio Act of 2009. The FCC's extensive experience in FM licensing "refutes the claim that elimination of third-adjacent channel protection requirements would result in pervasive interference," Peter Boyle, chief of the commission's Audio Division, told lawmakers in his written testimony. "In fact, the potential for interference would be limited to areas immediately adjacent to LPFM transmitter sites." NPR has long opposed proposals allowing more flexibility in channel-spacing rules for LPFM stations.

Aspirations that go beyond driveway moments

An "essay to read and keep": Margaret Low Smith of NPR describes the basic ingredients needed for public radio to "become essential in the lives of more Americans." In the final commentary commissioned by the Station Resource Group's Grow the Audience project, the network's top programmer calls upon the field's creative talents to go beyond the classic "driveway moments" and learn what it takes to create "harddrive-way moments." Smith boils it down to traditional elements of public radio journalism--good story-telling, engaging guests and vibrant personalities, "great tape," and versatility in the crafts of reporting, producing and editing. She also sets the bar high for the content being produced in any medium for any platform. "It needs to be extraordinary. . . .We need to distinguish ourselves at every turn."

Markey takes a moment to mark today's final DTV transition

Now that the absolutely final DTV transition is really here, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is looking back over the long, laborious process leading up to this point, reports Broadcasting & Cable. Markey is former chair of the House Telecommunications (now Communications) Subcommittee. "When I held the first Congressional hearing on then-high definition TV (HDTV) in the early fall of 1987, " he wrote in an e-mail, "I never imagined that it would take almost 22 years to reach this moment." He said he "aggressively advocated for such a switch and successfully convinced the FCC in 1990 to begin pursuing a digital standard." Markey gave up his communications post this session to focus on energy policy.