May 4, 2011

Prince Charles to honor WGBH's Becton

Henry Becton, former president of Boston’s WGBH, will receive the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) from Prince Charles during the royal's visit this week, according to the Washington Post. The order of chivalry was established in 1917 by King George V.

CPB launches $4.4 million, 20-station American Graduates program

CPB kicked off its American Graduate initiative Tuesday (May 3) at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The $4.4 million project aims to boost graduation rates in 20 communities nationwide, using multiplatform content for at-risk students and their teachers. Host Ray Suarez, a senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour and the event's host, said the graduation rates among Hispanics and African-Americans was only about 54 percent in 2007. ""This is something we really don't have an option to fix — we have to," Suarez said.

Appearing were Hill Harper, star of CSI:NY, a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School; he also wrote the best-selling Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny. Actress America Ferrera, best known for Ugly Betty, talked about her mother's anger when Ferrera's sister was told "not to bother" with applying for college because she was Hispanic. Aimee Garcia of  The George Lopez Show discussed the need for total community involvement for graduation success.

In the photo, Suarez leads a station panel in a discussion of the initiative. From left, Tom Axtell of Vegas PBS, Beth Curley of Nashville Public Television, Ron Thorpe of WNET and Michael Jones of PBS. (Image: Current)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support the effort through CPB’s Teacher Town Halls and the StoryCorps National Teachers Initiative.

The event is archived on the project's Facebook page.

WLIW's Savini launching Untamed Hair Productions

Laura Savini is leaving her post as v.p. of marketing and communications at New York City's WLIW21 to launch her new company, Untamed Hair Productions & Consulting. She'll continue her work as an on-air host at the station, where she's been for two decades.

During her marketing tenure, Savini and former WLIW21 President Terrel Cass helped establish a national reputation for WLIW21 as a producer of fundraising specials. Savini earned a New York Emmy Award as executive producer of one, the 2010 special Music of Ireland — Welcome Home. "Savini has also raised hundreds of millions of dollars for stations coast to coast with her on-air fundraising savvy," a press release from the station noted.

Changing of the guard at Fordham's WFUV-FM

Ralph Jennings, station manager at WFUV-FM/90.7 at Fordham University since 1985, will become director of internal and external relations on June 30. Stepping up as interim general manager will be Chuck Singleton, program director and chair of the station's strategic planning committee. Under Jennings' tenure WFUV has grown from an operating budget of $300,000 to more than $3.5 million annually. It's also gone from a student-run operation to a staff of 27 professionals and more than 90 paid interns. Singleton joined WFUV in 1987 as its first director of news and public affairs; he began directing programming in 1992. Singleton created the magazine show Cityscape, expanded its schedule of Triple A music programming, and led the development of WFUV's "The Alternate Side," a online stream and HD Radio channel devoted to new artists and local music.