Aug 18, 2011

Up to 10 staffers laid off at WKAR in East Lansing, Mich.

The local City Pulse in Lansing, Mich., is reporting that sources say as many as 10 staffers have been laid off from WKAR at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Kirsten Khire, communications manager for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, told the paper that MSU Broadcasting Services, which includes WKAR-TV and WKAR Radio, issued layoff notices Monday (Aug. 15) but declined to say how many. Khire cited "sizable budgetary challenges" at the station as the reason for the terminations. She said the cuts took place "across the organization of Broadcasting Services." The College of Communications Arts and Sciences took over WKAR in July, and replaced former g.m. DeAnne Hamilton.

KET announces move to street-side studio facilities in downtown Louisville

KET in Louisville is consolidating its facilities into one downtown production center, it announced today (Aug. 18). The new space on Main Street will combine its outreach office (right) and production facility, which since 1997 has been in the basement and first floor of a building owned by the county school district. Improvements will include a high-speed fiber-optic line connecting the Louisville facility to KET’s Network Center in Lexington.

The move gives KET the second street-side public television studio in the country, along with the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City.

“With Main Street as a backdrop, this studio space will become a part of the community itself,” said Executive Director Shae Hopkins. “However, our larger vision remains creating a state-of-the-art studio, production and media center for Louisville in which we could host and produce community forums, concerts and events, as well as provide media training and instructional resources as part of a digital education campus. This is a terrific interim step.”

The building rehab and move should be complete by January 2012. (Image: KET)

PRX plots expansion for its crowd-funding pilot

Story Exchange, a crowd-funding experiment piloted by Public Radio Exchange and Louisville Public Media, has garnered full funding for two long-form reporting projects: Erica Peterson's three-part series on disposal of coal ash produced by electrical power plants, and in-depth coverage of the environmental effects of the Ohio River Bridge project, a reporting assignment that's now in the works. PRX received a 2010 Knight News Challenge grant to pilot the project with LPM and PRX's John Barth recently reported for MediaShift on the progress so far, and tentative plans to expand Story Exchange to additional public radio markets and indie producers.

Storyteller Kevin Kling begins three-year residency at MPR; could APHC be next?

Humorist, author and playwright Kevin Kling has signed on for a three-year residency with Minnesota Public Radio, the network announced Wednesday (Aug. 17), prompting speculation that Kling could be waiting in the wings to step into hosting duties for A Prairie Home Companion following Garrison Keillor's retirement next spring. MPR says Kling will present original works exclusively on the Fitzgerald Theater stage (gee ... that's home base for APHC ... ), conduct storytelling workshops and provide radio commentaries.

He is the author of books The Dog Says How, Holiday Inn and Big Little Brother.

According to his website, Kling was born with a congenital birth defect: His left arm is about three-quarters the size of his right, and his left hand has no wrist or thumb. More than five years ago, Kling was injured in a motorcycle accident. Currently, he has partial use of his left arm and cannot use his right arm.