Jun 14, 2011

Pledge programming will erode pubcasting identity and mission, Fanning says

David Fanning, executive producer of Frontline, raised his concerns about public broadcasting on-air fundraising while accepting Quinnipiac University's Fred Friendly First Amendment Award on Tuesday (June 14). An excerpt:

"Where once stations were lead by broadcasters and educators who believed deeply in the mission of public broadcasting, now as money gets tighter a new generation of leaders comes in, brought in by worried board members who almost inevitably turn to the person in charge of fundraising to help manage the station.

"With that comes programming choices that are safer, and the pursuit of audience for the sake of audience, and membership for the dollars. Why do we find it necessary to attract members with pledge programming that has nothing to do with our core programs? This is our deepest embarrassment, especially for public television. I have heard the arguments, and I understand the imperatives for local stations, but to have created such a schizophrenic programming strategy is not just misguided, but will ultimately erode our identity and our mission."

Fanning accepted the prestigious honor at a luncheon at the Metropolitan Club in New York City; the crowd included author Gay Talese and former ABC News anchor Charles Gibson. Fanning's entire speech is here (PDF).

Nine pubradio outlets win national Murrows from RTDNA

NPR, Vermont Public Radio, and Austin's KUT led public radio news outlets in National Edward R. Murrow Awards announced today by the Radio and Television Digital News Association.

NPR won Murrows in four categories of the radio network/syndication division; VPR bested small-market radio stations in three categories; and, KUT won two trophies in the competition among large-market stations.

Four additional pubradio outlets -- Michigan Radio; KUNC in Greeley, Colo.; WSHU in Fairfield, Conn.; and WITF in Harrisburg, Pa. -- won Murrows in news reporting categories., a leading pubradio website published by Boston's WBUR, took the national Murrow for news websites in the large-market radio division.

Joining NPR in the Murrow-winning radio network/syndicators division was Public Radio International for an installment of This American Life.

National Murrow winners are selected from those honored during RTDNA regional contests, announced this spring.

PBS, NPR websites score multiple Webbys

The websites for PBS and NPR took home several Webbys from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences at ceremonies Monday night (June 13) in New York City. won a People's Voice for charitable/nonprofit orgs, and scored both People's Voice and Webby for news. NPR News' "Election 2010: It's All Politics" received a People's Voice for politics. And in podcasts, NPR was a double winner again. Here's a full list.

"Diagnosis sound, remedies lacking" in FCC report, Jessica Clark writes

Media analyst Jessica Clark says that consensus on the "Information Needs of Communities" report from the Federal Communications Commission seems to be, the diagnosis is sound but remedies are lacking. Clark writes on MediaShift that the report makes a clear case that local reporting is dying — "yet, bafflingly ... stops short of offering bold solutions." She notes that in a statement in reaction to the report, Commissioner Michael Copps also observed that "the policy recommendations ... don't track the diagnosis." She also compiled reactions to the report in the news using Storify. (Editor's note: Clark is a senior fellow at American University's School of Communication, which acquired Current in January.) Here's a link to the FCC report, and here is the section on nonprofit media that includes pubcasting.