Dec 15, 2009

Dino Train chugs onto People mag's "Best Kids Shows" list

People magazine puts Dinosaur Train, the new PBS show from the Jim Henson Co., on its "Year's Best Kids Shows" list, according to the Muncie, Ind., Star Press. Also included: Jungle Junction from Disney, The Superhero Squad Show on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon's The Fresh Beat Band and Cartoon Network's The Garfield Show. (Garfield creator Jim Davis's company, Paws Inc., is based in rural Albany, Ind., hence the announcement via the Star Press.)

NPR diversity consultant to sign on as v.p.

Keith Woods, a Poynter Institute dean who was consulting with NPR on newsroom diversity, will join the network as vice president, diversity in news and operations, in February. The position, a newly created senior management role, will lead development and implementation of strategies for diversity within NPR and public radio as a whole. Newsroom diversity--as well as NPR's commitment to training, hiring and retaining journalists of color--have come under criticism this year as NPR laid off staff, canceled its African-American oriented show News and Notes, and fired one of its few black newsroom managers. "We are extremely fortunate to have found a leader who offers a combination of strong journalistic credentials, diversity expertise and a passion for teaching," said NPR President Vivian Schiller, in a news release. Woods has taught writing and reporting on race relations, ethics and diversity at the Poynter Institute for professional journalists for 15 years; he also writes on race and media and consults with news organizations and journalism schools. Previously, he reported for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Details on how Woods' consulting assignment turned into a full-time job here. mention in junk-food survey "misleading," PBS exec says

Many of the most popular websites for kids contain advertisements for junk food, reports Reuters on a study in the latest American Journal of Public Health. One of the websites examined was, which averages 9 million unique visitors per month. Lesli Rotenberg, s.v.p. of children's media at PBS, noted that the site's appearance in the study is "misleading," as it does not accept advertising nor market food products to children. The site carries logos of PBS sponsors at the bottom of some pages, including McDonald's and Chick-fil-A. Children never see images of food products, she said, adding that the Fizzy's Lunch Lab and Don't Buy It pages actually teach kids about healthy eating -- and how to avoid media influences in their purchase decisions.

N.C. pubcasters in "hissing contest" over doc filmed in state?

A documentary on North Carolina is "caught in a hissing contest" between pubTV stations UNC-TV and WTVI, reports the News & Observer in Raleigh. Mike Lassiter, an attorney in Statesville, and videographer Scott Galloway captured businesses throughout the state and the people behind them in their film, Vanishing Americana. But it probably will only be seen in 13 of the state's 100 counties, on WTVI alone. Statewide pubcaster UNC-TV refuses to show the film. "It's a bit of an overstatement to call it a policy, but it's a general rule that we don't broadcast things originating from WTVI," said UNC-TV spokesperson Steve Volstad. "Our service area overlaps and much of the time our broadcast schedule is the same." Response from WTVI's Eric Davis, v.p. of broadcasting and content: "'Overlap' . . . is meant to be pejorative," he told the paper. "We only carry 25 percent of the PBS schedule, and we time-shift the ones we do run."

PBS snags three Golden Globe nods

PBS's Masterpiece received three Golden Globe nominations. Nominees for the prestigious Hollywood Foreign Press Association's honors were announced this morning. Nods went to Little Dorrit for best miniseries or motion picture made for television, and Kenneth Branaugh in Wallander (above) and Chiwetel Ejiofor for Endgame both in the category of best performance by an actor in a miniseries or motion picture made for television. The awards will be presented Jan. 17. Entire list of nominees here.

KCET-TV fave appears on The Simpsons

Did you catch much-loved, uber-enthusiastic California pubcaster Huell Howser on The Simpsons Sunday? Who's he? As the LAist blog says, "While we can't say that no one outside of California knows who Howser is, it's likely the cameo will only tickle locals who have seen Howser marvel over all manner of landmark, machine, or quirky Californian on his various PBS shows," seen six nights a week on KCET as well as various other broadcasts on pubTV stations in Oregon, Nevada and Tennessee (he's a Tennessee native). Also included in the blog item is a link to another, ahem, very quirky Howser tribute video, "Trippin' with Huell Howser." Heh.

From the latest edition of Current

Delaware city officials threaten to oppose WHYY license renewal
Work cut out for a Public Media Corps
Back to the Future: Ramp up public TV local news, PM Magazine-style
Big regional Emmy wins for pubcasters in Salt Lake and Dallas