Sep 15, 2010

Phoenix pubTV debate clip gets nearly 2 million hits on YouTube

The opening of a KAET gubernatorial debate earlier this month -- in which current Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer repeatedly stumbles over her words and then simply stops speaking -- is approaching 2 million hits on YouTube. KAET g.m. Kelly McCullough told Current that someone saw the debate, posted the minute-long portion on YouTube, local TV stations took note, then CNN, MSNBC and Fox followed. By that time the clip was the fourth most-watched on YouTube, and McCullough was hearing from folks as far away as London. "It's a good example of the multimedia nature of the world," as McCullough noted. The Sept. 1 debate is just one in this year's Vote 2010 series. The Phoenix station produces the "Clean Elections Debates" for its election web page and longtime pubaffairs show Horizon.

NewsHour helps amputee to dance again

A PBS NewsHour producer has helped a Haitian amputee receive a prosthesis, says the TV Newser, a blog in the MediaBistro network. Dancer and choreographer George Exantus lost his right leg below the knee while trapped in rubble following January's devastating earthquake in Haiti. After viewers saw his story on NewsHour, they wanted to assist. Producer Merrill Schwerin got Freedom Innovations to donate an artificial limb and now Exantus is dancing again.

Tower problems delay launch of new classical station

Launch of Tampa's new all-classical station WSMR has been delayed due to technical problems at its tower site, according to the Bradenton Herald. "We are very disappointed about this," says Joanne Urofsky, general manager. WUSF Public Media, which acquired the license to broadcast on 89.1 MHz in Sarasota this summer, didn't delay the format switch for its FM station in Tampa, which now devotes its daytime grids to news programs and nights to jazz. The classical service debuted today as an HD Radio channel of WUSF and as an Internet stream. Urofsky hopes that engineers will put WSMR-FM on the air within the next couple of days.

Pew paper explores how app-happy cell phone users are (hint: well, sorta)

A new Pew research report reveals that while 35 percent of U.S. adults have apps on their cell phones, only 24 percent actually use them. "The Rise of Apps Culture" released Tuesday (Sept. 14) by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Nielsen also shows that app use scores at the bottom of a list of what people do with their phones, just 29 percent. Taking photos is atop that list, at 6 percent . Other cell-phone uses include texting, 72 percent; accessing the Internet, 38 percent; and sending or receiving e-mail, 34 percent. Games, news/weather, and mapping apps are most popular. The research was conducted via a telephone survey of 2,252 U.S. adults age 18 and older between April 29 and May 30, 2010. The sample included 1,917 adult cell phone users, 744 of whom were contacted on those phones. The 46 page-study is online here (PDF).

Revamp continues at KIXE in Redding, Calif.

Big changes are under way at KIXE in Redding, Calif. Philip Smith, who came on as g.m. in July, is restructuring the station and has done away with the positions of corporate support, production manager and community affairs coordinator, reports the local Record Searchlight. Smith plans to immediately hire a development director to handle the corporate support and community affairs duties. The production manager’s position will be redefined to include work that is much broader than traditional TV production, Smith told the paper; that new hire is several months off. In a programming change in August, KIXE dropped Democracy Now!, sparking a local controversy. Before he arrived at the station, Smith spent four years as senior vice president of operations at Austin, Texas-based KLRU-TV.

FCC brings online its database of licensees

The Federal Communications Commission is now offering a searchable online license database, the commission announced today (Sept. 15). FCC License View lets users peruse more than 3 million FCC licensees, around 2 million of which are active. Search by licensee name, call sign or FCC registration number to reveal interesting facts such as: WGBH holds 58 licenses.

ITVS film event on Capitol Hill draws attention to violence against women

The Independent Television Service is bringing the PBS film "Pushing the Elephant" to Capitol Hill Thursday (Sept. 16) to raise awareness of violence against women and girls around the globe, according to ITVS. Speaking after the film will be its subject, Congolese refugee Rose Mapendo, who escaped from the genocidal war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in February 2000. PBS President Paula Kerger also will address the audience on the network's role in bringing new and underserved voices to viewers. The event, at 8:30 a.m. in the Rayburn Office Building, is in cooperation with Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.), Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Illinois) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas). A coalition of NGOs including Amnesty International, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Women Thrive Worldwide and Refugees International are co-hosts.