Dec 21, 2010

Moon over Miami: WPBT and hundreds of its fans worldwide watch the lunar eclipse online

Several staffers at WPBT2 in Miami may be still asleep this winter Tuesday afternoon, after staying up overnight (Dec. 20-21) for a unique event: The station presented a live stream of the lunar eclipse, along with an online chat. The full eclipse of the moon was also a perfect time for a 30-minute episode of its revamped Star Gazer series that directed folks to the web activities. Three chatrooms were full of visitors within five minutes, and the station now has about 1,000 new Facebook friends.

"It was a remarkable night and the feedback has been terrific," Neal Hecker, v.p. of programming services told Current. Here's Hecker's fave Facebook comment: "Thank you WPBT2! I live in Japan, and was clouded over for the eclipse. I caught a link to you on Twitter (man, #eclipse was flying!) and was able to watch the eclipse with my son, while we positioned a lamp, a globe, and a plate on a stand to follow along. While the beauty of nature and the majesty of blah blah blah... We had a great time! Thanks!"

Sadly, one astronomer wasn't around for the festivities: the original stargazer, Jack Horkheimer, who created and hosted the weekly segments. Horkheimer died in August. But his show lives on, and WPBT is opening up its host search to the public.

Do you aspire to Packardness?

Jim Packard, longtime radio sidekick to host Michael Feldman on Whad'Ya Know?," is retiring at the end of January. He's also a familiar voice to Wisconsin Public Radio listeners; he's been there since 1981. So the popular show is searching for a new (temporary) Packard, literally, with its "Being Jim Packard" contest. ("If you can say . . . 'That's One Right' you could be me on Whad'Ya Know? for one fabulous day. To quote Michael, you could get in on the ground floor of radio and stay there, much as I have.") Entries are due Jan. 12, 2011, and the winner will be announced on the Jan. 15 show.