Sep 17, 2010

Former Florida pubcaster now heads International Broadcasting Bureau

The U.S. Senate on Thursday (Sept. 16) confirmed Dick Lobo, former c.e.o. of WEDU in Tampa, Fla., as director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, reports the St. Petersburg Times. He'll oversee Voice of America and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which includes Radio and TV Marti; he ran the Cuba office in 1994 and '95 under President Bill Clinton. The International Broadcasting Bureau is part of the larger Broadcasting Board of Governors, which distributes programs in 59 languages (check out Alhurra Television, serving 22 countries in the Middle East). "We're trying to get out unfettered news and information about what our country's role in the world is," the 73-year-old Lobo said.

Kling supports net neutrality in letter to FCC

In a five-page letter Thursday (Sept. 16), outgoing Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media founder Bill Kling advises the FCC to ensure a “reasonable cost structure” and redirect Universal Service Funds (currently subsidizing phone access) “toward investment and innovation” for public broadband, reports's David Brauer. Kling, who announced his retirement Sept. 10, predicts that "public media’s largest audiences in 10 years will be in automobiles with mobile Internet 'radios.' … As the 2011 model cars emerge with mobile Internet 'radios,' ISPs and device manufacturers are moving demand from broadcast to wireless broadband."

Kling also suggests that the FCC require ISPs that develop private broadband networks "carry all relevant applications and programming from Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) qualified public service media organizations at no cost to the content producer." This, he writes, will allow "consumer preference" to determine what amount of network capacity is set aside for public service content. Potential rules could require On-demand HD video services to carry PBS applications serving content from such programs as Frontline, Masterpiece and PBS Kids along with other local pubTV shows. "Even private gaming networks could benefit from the noncommercial games developed by or for public service media organizations," he noted.

Kachingle update: Not much to report

Remember Kachingle (Current, Nov. 23, 2009)? Seven months ago when the online micropayment service launched it was touted as a potential savior for cash-hungry online news entities. But Columbia Journalism Review checks in and doesn't find a lot of money Kachingling around. The Kachingle medallions are on about 300 sites but none are major news organizations. The nonprof local news site Chicagotalks has received about $50 total from its 15 “Kachinglers.” The multimedia producer Common Language Project has received $66.70 from 16 supporters.

Current checked back with a couple sources from our November 2009 story. "We think Kachingle has a lot of potential, and we have discussed with them how we might implement the service on For the time being, we decided to delay implementation," said Karl Pearson-Cater, operations director. And Teri Lamitie, WGBH's director of online marketing, said, "We haven’t tried it. I’d still like to give it a shot."

NJN, legislature unsure of strategy for network departure, paper says

Hearings continue on the fate of the New Jersey Network. A 10-member panel heard testimony Thursday (Sept. 16) at Stockton College in Pomona on a proposal to cut all state funding to the New Jersey Network's public radio and television and spin it off as an independent entity. "But after the second of three hearings, it was clear that neither lawmakers nor NJN executives had a solid strategy about turning the broadcaster into a money-maker," writes the the Press of Atlantic City. At the meeting, Janice Selinger, acting exec director of NJN, said the network assumed that the legislature and governor would come up with a plan. Because that's not clear, "I'm investigating what models in other states have been successful." The final public hearing is Sept. 23 at the Municipal Building in Montclair.