Jun 28, 2011

FCC wants more details on KUSF transaction

The FCC is taking a close look at third-party funding relationships at KUSF in San Francisco, the college radio station that KUSC in Los Angeles took over in January as part of its proposed $6 million signal expansion into the Bay Area. In a letter of inquiry released today, June 28, Audio Division chief Peter Doyle requested documents and detailed answers to 15 questions about KUSF operations under KUSC's Classical Public Radio Network, which converted the student-programmed outlet on 90.3 FM into a full-time classical music service after the deal was announced. CPRN is operating the station under an interim contract while the FCC reviews the license transfer proposal. KUSF owner University of San Francisco and KUSC have 30 days to respond to the commission's questions.

Colorado Public Radio unveils new format for its Denver AM

Colorado Public Radio is launching a new music station on 1340 AM in the Denver metro area and online beginning this fall. The programming will focus on current contemporary music, "including notable releases of the past 15 years and the earlier music that inspired it," the station said in a statement. Mike Flanagan, g.m. of KVCU/Radio 1190 at the University of Colorado Boulder, will manage the new station. Flanagan has more than 30 years of experience in radio, including eight years with CPR in the 1990s as an on-air and Midday Mozart music host. CPR will continue to broadcast news on 90.1 FM and classical music 88.1 FM. CPR had been trying to sell the 1340 AM frequency since 2008, which left it with a $4.7 million bond debt (Current, March 16, 2009).

WMFE-TV in Orlando still waiting on FCC decision on sale

The waiting game continues for the sale of  PBS affiliate WMFE in Orlando, Fla., to Daystar Television, which is pending with the Federal Communications Commission. “There are no current updates to report regarding our application before the FCC,” Jose Fajardo, president and CEO of WMFE, said in an email to the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday (June 27). “Beginning July 1, WMFE-TV will be scheduling V-me on its primary channel and The Florida Channel as one of its SD channels.” The station will have 23 employees after Friday, a drop from 35 last October.

CPB's Bole moves to Broadcasting Board of Governors

Rob Bole, CPB's former vice president of Digital Media Strategy, is now helping lead digital media efforts for the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Bole and Raina Kumra are co-directors of a new board-initiated innovation practice integrated into the existing BBG Office of New Media, it announced Monday (June 27). Kumra previously served as senior new media advisor to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy. The two will "help advance the BBG’s mission to reach larger worldwide audiences where they are through innovation, enterprise journalism and audience engagement," a BBG statement said. They'll work to streamline international broadcasting collaborations among BBG's networks: the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting.

Indie outlook: it's brighter for those working in public radio

Independent journalists working in public media are having an increasingly tough time making their livings as producers for public television and radio, according to a survey of 206 indies commissioned by the Association of Independents in Radio and the Independent Television Service.

Over the past three years, the financial struggles of working as an indie have become harder for 64 percent of those reporting and producing for radio. A much larger majority of TV and film indies -- 81 percent -- reported that their financial challenges have deepened.

The outlook among radio indies, who comprised 75 percent of survey respondents, is somewhat brighter than for those working in television, film and Internet production, who made up only one-quarter of the survey sample.

Radio journalists see more opportunities for future income from traditional public radio outlets -- both the networks and local stations -- and more expect to earn more money from podcasts and other digital distribution technologies.

Strong ties to local stations was a source of optimism for radio indies participating in the survey. Nearly half reported "strong" or "very strong" relationships with their local public radio stations. Among indies working in TV and film, 77 percent reported that they had no relationship with their local public TV station, or weak or very weak ties.

The survey was funded by CPB and conducted by Market Trends Research.

SteelStacks is new home to PBS39 in Bethlehem, Pa.

PBS39 spent Monday (June 28) moving into new digs at the SteelStacks Public Media and Education Center in Bethlehem, Pa. The Morning Call reports the 29,000-square-foot building includes two high-definition studios, a green screen and twice as much office space as the previous studio. A 16-by-9-foot TV screen outside will give the public either a peek at what's going on in the studio or a show. But that screen and other technical equipment is still weeks from delivery, due to production setbacks after the tsunami in Japan.

Funding cuts prompt Alabama PubTV to suspend weekly coverage of state politics

Alabama Public Television is shuttering its state capital bureau and suspending production of its political roundtable, Capitol Journal. The shutdown, part of a network-wide downsizing that includes lay-offs for 19 staff, responds to the latest round of state funding losses for APT.

With policymakers' decision this year to cut APT's subsidies by $1.3 million, APT has lost 50 percent of its state support since 2008, Executive Director Allan Pizzato tells the Montgomery Advertiser. He's also scaling back operations at APT's Huntsville station and ending production of the music series, We Have Signal.

APT is the third public TV station to curtail its political coverage in response to funding cuts imposed by state policymakers: New Hampshire Public Television is putting New Hampshire Outlook on hiatus and Miami's WLRN is dropping legislative coverage from the Florida Public Radio Network.