Jul 29, 2009

Minority media-makers in Boston!

Considering a career or freelancing in public broadcasting? The Asian American Journalists Association will hold a one-hour public panel Friday, Aug. 14 at WGBH during the AAJA's annual convention in Boston. More in Opportunities.

Reading Rainbow broadcast rights end in August

Reading Rainbow frequent winner of the national Emmy for children’s series, will leave the PBS satellite feed Aug. 28 and stations’ broadcast rights will end after a quarter century on public TV. No new episodes of the children’s program have been produced for several years and PBS removed the series from its weekday strip last fall to make room for new programs with reading and science/math content, according to producing station WNED in Buffalo. John Grant, chief content officer at the station, told Current that WNED doesn’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be needed to renew broadcast rights—primarily Writers Guild fees. Grant said WNED is talking with PBS about maintaining a version of the annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, which still involves 96 stations. And he'd like to see new media used to create an online version. Classroom rights for the show remain with Educate Inc., the Baltimore-based company that owns the big tutoring chain Sylvan Learning Centers and the Hooked on Phonics learn-to-read system. DVDs also will be available through Shop PBS. WNED and Educate tried unsuccessfully to plan a revived broadcast but gave up, in part because of the recession, Grant said. Your comments welcomed.

Where have all the flowers gone, Pete?

Just where did folk singer Pete Seeger come up with the idea for that hammer song, anyway? Well, now you can submit that question and others to him directly -- electronically, that is. The PBS Engage blog is soliciting questions for the legendary troubadour and musical activist in honor of his 90th birthday concert on Great Performances Thursday night (check local listings) and throughout August. Lauren Saks, web producer and blogger for Engage, will choose five questions for Seeger to answer; responses will be posted next week.

Three more days to vote for National Radio Hall of Fame

Two from public radio compete in separate categories of the online election held by Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communication. Public voting ends Friday night. Click to get your ballot. This year, 16 broadcasters are nominated in four categories: Ira Glass is up against several other national radio names, and Ed Walker, host of Sunday night showcase of radio serials and comedy, The Big Broadcast, on WAMU here in D.C., is one of the local broadcasters nominated. In a fifth category, posthumous, Studs Terkel is one of three winners already announced. (The voting by deceased voters is complete.) WAMU has been giving Walker a push with promos for weeks, and the Washington Post this morning features a profile of the 77-year-old hometown favorite, who formed a memorable comedy team with Willard Scott (the original overweight and jolly NBC Today weatherman) on several D.C. stations for two decades, including NBC’s WRC-AM, where they were they reigned as The Joy Boys from 1955 to 1972 [fan site]. The Joy Boys kept a loaded garbage can in the studio for one particular sound effect, as viewers will hear in this rare video of their last broadcast in October 1972.