Jul 14, 2011

Pittsburgh news start-up wins CPB aid

CPB is backing development of Essential Public Media, the nonprofit whose purchase of Pittsburgh's WDUQ is pending before the FCC. CPB President Patricia Harrison announced a $250,000 grant supporting start-up of EPM's digital journalism newsroom during a July 14 luncheon at the Public Media Marketing and Development conference in Pittsburgh. "We are confident this will be a model for public media news operations across the country," she said.

EPM began managing day-to-day operations of WDUQ on July 1, adopting an all-news format and scaling jazz music programming back to a six-hour weekend slot on 90.5 FM, its flagship channel. It's begun exploring collaborative editorial partnerships with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PublicSource, an investigative news start-up that launched with foundation backing this spring, according to Lee Ferraro, manager of Pittsburgh's WYEP, one of the public media nonprofits that's a partner in EPM.

Harrison also announced CPB's continuing commitment to the seven Local Journalism Centers launched by public stations on two-year start-up grants. LJC stations have begun discussing scenarios for operating the centers when CPB's aid expires. "Make no mistake about it--we are committed to the LJCs over the long term," she said. CPB recently issued a request for proposals from consultants to evaluate the progress of the LJCs.