Apr 18, 2011

ProPublica's Pulitizer-winning financial coverage has public radio roots

ProPublica's Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein, reporters who collaborated with This American Life and NPR's "Planet Money" to report on the 2008 financial meltdown, received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Their award-winning coverage began with an in-depth story on the hedge fund Magnetar, which became the basis of This American Life's "Inside Job" episode. ProPublica acknowledged its public radio partners in a statement today: "Jesse and Jake's work was greatly augmented by partnerships with public radio's "Planet Money" and This American Life. While radio reporting is not eligible for the Pulitzer, we want to acknowledge a great debt to, and celebrate our partnership with, Adam Davidson and Ira Glass and their teams."

Deal for Pittsburgh's WDUQ: It's not done yet

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the sale of WDUQ in Pittsburgh was delayed after negotiations over the asset purchase agreement extended beyond the 90-day deadline announced in January. Susan Harmon of the Public Media Company, the offshoot of Public Radio Capital that formed a partnership with Pittsburgh's WYEP-FM to buy WDUQ, said the contract should be signed within days. "There was one clarification that needed to happen on Friday," April 15, the day of the deadline, Harmon said, and the lawyer who needed to weigh in wasn't available.

Departing WDUQ G.M. Scott Hanley moved on ahead of schedule, signing on April 1 as communications chief for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. In a farewell to colleagues after 30 years in pubradio, Hanley wrote about the leadership challenges ahead:

"Over the past decade, there was great fretting about how NPR was not a digital company - that people of our experience and age could only 'speak digital with an accent,'" Hanley wrote. "I think the greater concern is having leadership that is not fully immersed in the values and vision of NPR and public media. We cannot afford to 'speak mission with an accent.'"

Local orientation in news/talk reaps audience gains for WGBH-FM

Since launching an NPR news and local talk format on WGBH 89.7 FM in late 2009, the pubcaster has gained listenership at the expense of WBUR, Boston's dominant NPR News franchise, according to the Boston Globe. The audience shifts during the weekday noon timeslots -- when WGBH's locally focused Emily Rooney Show goes up against WBUR's national Here and Now -- suggest that 'GBH's gains have come at 'BUR's loss, Emerson College professor Jack Casey tells the Globe. WGBH also has the advantage of a powerful broadcast signal that reaches far beyond metropolitan Boston, where WBUR's audience is concentrated.

Father of South Dakota Public Broadcasting dies at 89

Martin Busch, the "father of South Dakota Public Broadcasting," died April 15 at his home in Atchison, Kan. He was 89.

Busch started as program director for KUSD-AM in 1954 at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, gradually working his way to director in 1960. Busch oversaw the establishment of KUSD-TV/Channel 2, which went on the air in 1961, the first educational television in the state "and part of his vision that everyone in the state, especially children in schools, should have access to educational programming," according to the Sioux City Journal. During his tenure, he also participated in the early development of similar state systems regionally, as well as national NPR and PBS.

Busch was also well-known for his radio show The Bookshop, which ran from 1956 to 2001. He was a member of the South Dakota Hall of Fame. In October 2010 the studios at SDPB were dedicated to his vision and service.

Busch was born on March 29, 1922, to Paul and Marie (Roemer) Busch in Wolsey, S.D. After graduating from Wolsey High School in 1940 he attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during WWII in the Pacific theater, enlisting in 1943. He was on active duty until 1946, when he returned to the University of South Dakota to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1948 and a master's in music in 1954.  He remained with the Naval Reserves for 30 years, retiring with the rank of Lt. Commander.

He was a private pilot, and enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

He is survived by three sons, David and Stephan (Rae Ellen), both of Atchison, Kan., and Harlan (Frances) Busch of La Cieba, Honduras; one daughter, Annalisa of Hastings, Minn; and four grandchildren. Memorials may be made to SDPB Friends, P.O. Box 5000, Brookings, S.D., 57006-5000. (Image: SDPB, 1982)