Jun 9, 2010

PBS lays off 13

Thirteen staffers "will be leaving PBS," network President Paula Kerger said in a memo to the system today (June 9). "The entire PBS senior management team actively participated" in the decisions, she added. Departments affected include marketing and communications, interactive and general counsel.

FCC news: Cap Hill testimony, and an upcoming forum

In a hearing today (June 9) on Capitol Hill, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski asked Congress for its assistance in reclaiming spectrum for mobile broadband, reports Broadcasting & Cable. The request came during the House Appropriations Committee Financial Services Subcommittee testimony on the FCC's 2011 budget. Genachowski said the spectrum giveback (background, Current, Feb. 8, 2010) was good for all parties involved — broadcasters, viewers and the government — but the feds need to move quickly to head off a looming spectrum shortage. Congress needs to okay use of some proceeds from the spectrum auction to compensate broadcasters. "Ironically," writes B&C reporter John Eggerton, "access to the hearing itself over broadband was interrupted for a large swath of the proceedings due to streaming problems."

Forum news: The agency announced a daylong forum June 25 (PDF) at its headquarters in Washington to explore the technical end of freeing up broadcast spectrum. Topics: cellularization of broadcast architecture, methodologies for repacking the TV band, improvements in VHF reception, and advancements in compression technology. Interested? Follow along on the FCC's live feed that day.

It's Takeaway vs. Morning Edition in Minneapolis

On community station KFAI-FM in Minneapolis, The Takeaway, the live drivetime news show from Public Radio International that launched in April 2008, will go head-to-head with the powerhouse Morning Edition from 5 to 8 a.m. starting June 30, writes David Brauer, MinnPost's media reporter. He says The Takeaway "is like Morning Edition in a hoodie: more casual, younger-skewing, and international, but hardly the rush to the barricades" that Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! provides. (Democracy Now! will follow The Takeaway at 8.) KFAI, feeling pressure to draw a larger audience and maintain its CPB grant, is moving music to make room for news. Blanche Sibley's Friday Fubar Omniverse is one local show being shunted from morning drive to the 10 a.m.-noon slot. She told Brauer: “You take 15 hours away from community listenership. PRI has been pushing The Takeaway for two and a half years. Why should we whore ourselves out like that? We should have a pledge drive to dump the CPB.”