Jul 6, 2011

KCET gets funding for online/on-air arts show

KCET-TV just received a $206,300, two-year grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for a new arts series titled ARC, reports the Los Angeles Times. The show will run both on the air and online, where new content will be updated daily. Plans call for 24 episodes a year on TV, fed by four different production units, the paper says, "each assigned to explore a single theme in the arts and produce a five-minute segment for each show." Juan Devis, KCET’s director of production and program development, will select a collaborator to cover each beat — arts and cultural history, portraits of contemporary voices in the arts, the arts and education, and the politics of the arts. KCET will produce a fifth segment in-house that will tie each episode together. “We still need to raise more money to really go for it, but I think sometime in the fall you’ll see ARC coming alive,” Devis says.

Pubcasters continue fight for vital PTFP funding

NPR and the Association of Public Television Stations haven't yet given up on the Public Telecommunication Facilities Program, which was shut down in April after the federal budget battle (Current, April 18). According to a story on the Radio World website, lobbying efforts to restore PTFP funds are already under way.

NPR is asking Congress to approve $20 million for PTFP for fiscal 2012, said Mike Riksen, NPR's vice president of policy and representation."Even though the fund is relatively small, it is heavily relied upon by public radio stations to replace equipment that is worn out or antiquated," he told Radio World. "It has been a big boost to public radio stations and keeping them on the air."

And Patrick Butler, APTS president, told Current in a statement: “APTS and its member stations have been reaching out to key Members of Congress to work with us to restore PTFP funding. This funding is critical to public television and radio infrastructure needs, and there is no other current federal funding source addressing these needs. We’ll continue to press strongly for PTFP funding.”

The project that almost got away

In an excerpt from NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik's book Page One: Inside The New York Times and the Future of Journalism, Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen details the lessons learned thus far on the foundation's ongoing Knight News Challenge grants.

"Sometimes we missed a good idea on the first pass," Ibargüen admits. "Toward the end of one year's contest process, I asked Gary Kebbel, then program director at Knight, to review a range of rejected applications to make sure we weren't missing something obvious. He came back with what has become hNews, a project proposed by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, to write computer code to address the issue of authenticity of information on the Web. Their team created microformats to identify the source of important elements cited in every news story such as its origin, date and location, and whether it had been corrected. When Gary and I talked about it, I’m not sure whether we were happier to have found a gem of an idea or relieved we hadn't missed something so obvious."

To date, Knight has awarded $23 million to 56 media innovators chosen from more than 10,000 entries.

Folkenflik's book, just published by Participant Media, is a companion to Andrew Rossi's documentary on the newspaper.

WTMD launches social network for exploring Charm City

Baltimore's WTMD 89.7 FM and Urbanite Magazine teamed up to launch The Great Baltimore Check-In, a web-based city-wide networking game that mixes social media check-ins with tried-and-true radio traditions of trivia quizzes, ticket and CD give-aways and grand prize drawings.

The game, linked to participants' foursquare accounts, is a "cross between a scavenger hunt and city guide," writes Steve Yasko, WTMD g.m. It's designed to break-through the social barriers of Baltimore's often self-contained neighborhoods by encouraging participants to explore landmarks, attractions and businesses that are further beyond their doorstep.

The Great Baltimore Check-In is also a source for sponsorship revenues. WTMD and Urbanite are selling underwriting and ad packages to local businesses and planning a series of meet-ups and special events through the end of September, when the contest ends.

"I hope this offers a few thoughts on changing the way we think about web income," Yasko wrote in a July 5 message to public radio colleagues. "The web is not an income source—it's tool to support and expand those activities we already do in the day to day."

The partners aim to enlist between 3,000 and 5,000 participants during the three-month contest. Within 48 hours of the July 4 launch, 350 active players had registered. Attendees of the Public Radio Program Directors conference, convening in Baltimore Sept. 20-23, will be eligible to participate, Yasko said.