Dec 16, 2009

Salary and funding woes hit WLIU's new owner

Peconic Public Broadcasting, the new owner of WLIU 88.3 in Southampton, N.Y., could not pay most employees this month. And despite an impressive list of supporters for the station, large donations previously promised have not yet materialized, reports the Southampton Press. Station manager Wally Smith said Peconic didn't expect to have to cover payroll this month as per its transfer agreement with former owner Long Island University. Smith expects the station will meet full payroll for its 13-person staff after the new year. “There’s nothing unusual about the fact that there are rough patches,” Smith told the paper, which referred to the "complicated transfer of the station" that is expected to be completed in early January. As for the hefty anticipated donations, "we had couple of disappointments," Smith admits. "Some [gifts] didn’t come through at the level we anticipated based on the suggestions we had gotten from supporters.” He also says he's confident things will work out.

Might AARP's first Spanish-language show come to PBS?

AARP Broadcast, a media arm of the nation's largest membership organization for adults 50 and older, just shot a pilot of Viva su Segunda Juventud, its first Spanish-language show, reports Multichannel News. There's no distributor yet and an AARP spokesperson declined further comment to that reporter. Is the new program perhaps PBS-bound? AARP Broadcast currently produces two half-hour titles that aired on Retirement Living TV in 2009 but will be distributed to pubTV stations by Maryland Public Television starting in 2010. The partnership is a good fit, considering the pedigrees of both the shows' hosts: On Inside E Street it's Sheilah Kast of WYPR in Baltimore, and on My Generation it's Cynthia Steele Vance, a WETA trustee and former pubcasting reporter.

Watchdog group urges public to petition PBS on Moyers and Now replacements

Fairness & Accuracy in Media, a national news watchdog organization tracking bias and censorship, is encouraging the public to sign a petition urging PBS to replace the departing public affairs programs Bill Moyers Journal and PBS Now with "similarly thoughtful shows" that continue the tradition of "hard-hitting, independent programming that should thrive on public television." It adds: "What replaces those programs will be a test of its commitment to the very foundations of public broadcasting itself." Here's a link to the petition.

PBS Teachers offers new classroom resources on economic, financial issues

PBS Teachers is giving instructors a way to help students become more economically and financially literate through its new Access, Analyze and Act project. It's a unique collection of educational digital media resources focused on the economy. According to a statement today from PBS, Eight lessons plans offer real-world case studies on four economic topics that explore economic and financial issues from a young person’s point of view. There's an introduction on the site by PBS Now host and senior editor David Brancaccio encouraging teachers to make the study of economics a personal story, and a video appearance by Michael Mandel, chief economist for BusinessWeek.