Sep 29, 2009

Underwriting losses prompt NHPR to cut jobs

With corporate support revenues running 11 percent below last year, New Hampshire Public Radio laid off four employees. Business reporter David Darman, one of five full-time NHPR journalists, was among those riffed, according to the Concord Monitor. "Everybody knows the economy's bad, and the station's not immune to that," Darman told the Monitor. "But it was a shock to me." NHPR's member support revenues have been growing, but not enough to cover lost underwriting income, according to Alexandra Urbanowski, v.p. of development and marketing.

Doug Mitchell: "sticking with what I believe in" and busier than ever

In a column for journalists seeking employment, pubradio producer and journalism trainer Doug Mitchell says he was lucky to have been "booted" from NPR during lay-offs this year. He's now working on three different projects, including a forthcoming Living on Earth podcast, and continues to work with new talent. After 21+ years at NPR, the hardest part of being laid off was "feeling like my work didn't matter to the new leadership of NPR because it didn't generate revenue or didn't meet the plus side of whatever cost-benefit analysis was used," Mitchell said. "Sticking with what I believe in has proven to be a great salvation."

Dyson show has CPB support but consortium backs away

There's been a split within the African American Public Radio Consortium over the Michael Eric Dyson Show, a midday talker launched in April by the consortium and Baltimore's WEAA. CPB awarded a $505,000 grant to WEAA on Sept. 15 to produce a show with Dyson, but it's unclear whether consortium member stations intend to carry it. Richard Prince of the Maynard Institute reports that the consortium cut ties to Dyson months ago and is backing a new weekday show hosted by Tony Cox. "The Michael Eric Dyson Show is no longer," Loretta Rucker, consortium executive director, told Prince. "We had a good four months with Dr. Dyson but the arrangement eventually devolved over compensation." Since Dyson left the broadcast this summer, Cox began hosting an AAPRC-backed broadcast. Plans call for Upfront with Tony Cox to relaunch Oct. 1 and originate from NPR West in Culver City, Calif., although NPR won't be involved in the production.

Knight Commission to issue public media recommendations

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy will present its findings Friday before a plethora of federal officials, such as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and media dignitaries including NPR President Vivian Schiller. It's the "first major national commission of its kind in the digital age," according to a press release. PBS helped gather public comments for the report, and local pubcasters testified in meetings across the country. The commission will present 15 recommendations for "sustaining democracy and meeting America's information needs," including comments on public broadcasting's role. A draft report was issued in April (PDF).