Aug 30, 2010

Here's a first: Berenstain Bears in the Lakota language

Twenty episodes of Berenstain Bears cartoons will soon air on South Dakota Public Television -- in the Lakota language. The Associated Press is reporting today (Aug. 30) that the shows begin running this fall. The AP says it's the first time in the United States that a cartoon series has been translated to a Native language and widely distributed, according to Wilhelm Meya, executive director of Lakota Language Consortium, a nonprofit that partnered with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to co-produce the Lakota version of the series. (Click here to hear numbers spoken in the Lakota language.)

KMBH in Texas declines to run Frontline Katrina report

The Brownsville Herald is reporting that Harlingen, Texas, PBS affiliate KMBH did not run Frontline's "Law & Disorder" last week (Aug. 25), which focused on questionable police shootings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The paper cited "offensive language" as the problem. Diane Buxton, Frontline spokesperson, told Current the show provided an early feed to accommodate stations that wished to make the two minor language edits. John Ross, KMBH interim general manager, did not return a call from Current.

Static from classical listeners in KTRU deal

Indie rock college students aren't the only Houston music lovers objecting to Rice University's decision to sell KTRU, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The 50,000-watt underground music station on 91.7 FM, operated by Rice students for four decades, will adopt an all-classical format once the University of Houston's KUHF completes the purchase, but the station's signal fades in Houston's southern and western suburbs. "It seems odd that they would degrade their (classical music) signal and alienate a lot of their listeners," a KUHF listener tells the Chronicle.

Like many pubcasters undergoing signal expansion, KUHF also plans to simulcast its all-classical service as an HD Radio channel of its more powerful, legacy signal on 88.7 FM. Rice students are to continue programming as an Internet radio station.

But Rice students and alumni have mounted a vigorous protest of the deal, which was announced Aug. 17 but has not been finalized. "That Rice seems ready to pawn off KTRU's transmitter and license in this manner is deeply disturbing to students, faculty and alumni, and raises serious questions about the judgment of Rice's administration," current and alumni deejays wrote in a Chronicle op-ed. KTRU won't survive as Internet radio station, because music promoters won't send new releases to online-only services, deejay and Rice student Austin Williams tells the Chronicle. "Even if our Internet station ends up a success, through some random miracle, it would still die."

In a letter to KTRU's defenders, Rice University President David Leebron cites the likelihood that "a radio broadcast license was most likely a declining asset over the long term as a result of changes in technology and consumer preferences for accessing music."

Additional links: Houston Chronicle editorial Radio Waves and letters to the editor;

NH candidate wants end to CPB funding

It's election season (it's it always?) and one New Hampshire candidate is taking on public broadcasting. Republican Congressional hopeful Frank Guinta is calling for the end CPB federal funding. “Quality programs like Sesame Street and Antiques Road Show [sic] don’t need taxpayer funds to stay on the air,” Guinta said on his website. “Let’s end taxpayer funding for PBS and NPR, and allow them to compete freely for viewers and listeners on the open market.” The New Hampshire Democratic Party issued a statement on his statement. Guinta and other Republican candidates' "irresponsible pandering is reaching new lows," said Press Secretary Harrell Kirstein. " ... Now they are attacking Elmo and Big Bird. Talk about being a bunch of Oscar the Grouches."