Aug 23, 2011

MPR's Eichten announces retirement

Longtime Minnesota Public Radio news host Gary Eichten will retire in January 2012, he announced at the end of his Midday program Monday (Aug. 22). Eichten has spent more than 40 years with MPR, in roles from station manager to news director and now host of Midday. Eichten began his career at MPR as a student announcer at Collegeville’s KSJR, the network’s first station. He has received numerous honors, including induction in 2007 into the local Pavek Museum of Broadcasting's Hall of Fame. Most recently, he received the prestigious 2011 Graven Award from the University of Minnesota’s Premack Public Affairs Journalism Awards Board for his contribution to excellence in the journalism profession.

Larry Heileman dies; worked in fundraising at WGBH, WHYY, PBS

Larry Heileman, a longtime public broadcasting fundraiser, died Aug. 18 at Queen Anne Nursing Home in Hingham, Mass., from complications of a brain tumor. He was 66.

“Larry made a substantial impact on public broadcasting through his work with WGBH, WHYY in Philadelphia, and PBS Development,” said Berta MacCarthy, WGBH’s former executive director of contributor development and marketing, in a statement. “His effectiveness in launching successful fundraising strategies and raising millions of dollars made him a valuable resource for the WGBH community and the entire PBS system. Larry never hesitated to test and evaluate new methods and enjoyed dropping by to chat about a new idea or calling colleagues to share innovative techniques. His every interaction was characterized by a terrific sense of humor coupled with a strong belief in the mission of public broadcasting.”

Heileman joined WGBH as a telemarketer in 1984 and moved into leadership positions in fundraising, pledge, membership and marketing. “WGBH fans may remember him best for his on-air role wearing a green eyeshade and arm garters as Larry the Money Man,” his obituary in the Boston Globe said.

He left WGBH in 1994 for PBS headquarters in Alexandria, Va., developing new pledge programming. From there he became director of development for WHYY in Philadelphia, returning to the Boston station in 2000 as director of membership. He remained at WGBH until overtaken by his illness in 2006.

At his side at his death was his wife, WGBH alum Jo-An Kilgore Heileman, whom he had met at the station.

He was born July 1, 1946, the son of the late Lawrence and Anne Heileman. He grew up in Danbury, Conn. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial administration and was immediately drafted into the Army, where he was stationed in Vietnam as a medic with the 25th Medical Battalion. Following his service he lived in Tokyo, where he worked as a copywriter for NHK, Radio Japan. He returned to the United States in 1974, earning an MBA from Boston University's Graduate School of Management.

Heileman is survived by his wife; her two children, Andrew Kilgore and Rebecca Liebman; and four grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters, Anne Clubine and Christy Belvin; four nieces and nephews; nine great nephews and nieces, and his sister-in-law.

A private service will take place at a later date. Contributions may be made to WERS/Standing Room Only, a pubradio show he especially enjoyed (c/o 120 Boylston St., Boston, Mass., 02116), or Friends of the Paragon Carousel (P.O. Box 100, Hull, Mass., 02045).

Channel swapping in Rhode Island

Rhode Island's WRNI is negotiating a channel-swap deal that would bring its NPR News to the FM dial on 88.1 MHz in Providence, a frequency that had been shared by Latino Public Radio, students at Brown University, and students of Wheeler, a private K-12 school adjacent to the Brown campus that owns the license. Brown Student Radio lost use of the channel early this month when Wheeler terminated its 14-year lease agreement, the Brown Daily Herald reported.

Under the proposed channel swap, which is being negotiated as three-way lease agreement, WRNI will take over 88.1 FM as its flagship channel for northern Rhode Island, and Latino Public Radio will expand into a full-time broadcast service on 1290 AM, which is now broadcasting WRNI's NPR News service. Wheeler will continue its radio and broadcast curriculum for students, but their programming will be distributed as a web stream.

WRNI broadcasts to southern Rhode Island on two FM channels, 102.7 MHz in Narragansett Pier and 91.5 MHz in Coventry, according to the FCC's database and an Aug. 16 statement from WRNI. If secured, the lease agreement will put WRNI on the FM reserved band in Providence, the most populated region of the state. President Joe O'Connor declined to comment until the agreement is signed.

The lease agreement is the second this summer to bring mainstream public radio programming to Rhode Island on channels that had been programmed by college students. Bryant University's WJMF in Smithfield expects to begin simulcasts of WGBH's 99.5 All Classical from Boston next month, according to Radio Survivor. WRNI vied to take over that channel as well.

Moyers outspoken as always in wide-ranging interview

"When representative government has been bought and paid for by the predator class, there’s no easy way to get it back," says newsman Bill Moyers in a candid interview on George Mason University's History News Network website. "The conservatives have been brilliant at this. They took over the Republican Party, remade it in their image, and employ it as their Trojan horse for the protection of the rich: GOP — Guardians of Privilege. As for Democrats: their everyday working people — as well as their practicing progressives and liberals — only have a party when the lobbyists aren’t using it."

Moyers also discusses myriad subjects including President Barack Obama (he "seems obsessed with wanting to lead the country in what he sees as a post-partisan era while his opponents are so partisan they have only one goal in mind — to destroy him even if they have to burn down the house to do it"), Moyers' first pubcasting appearances ("My first season was awful; I wore horn-rimmed glasses, dark suits, was too stiff, took myself too seriously") and his memories from aboard Air Force One on Nov. 22, 1963, as it carried President John F. Kennedy's slain body back to Washington ("Enormous sorrow all around. Shock in the faces of everyone on that plane. But it was quiet and calm. . . . All I saw that day was poise, pain, and grace.")

The public broadcasting newsman has a new book out, and just announced his return to television in a new show, Moyers & Company.

PubCamp goes west to California

The first-ever PubCampWest — an informal gathering of media makers, community organizers, and web developers sharing ideas for collaboration in media innovation — convened in Pasadena, Calif., last weekend. In a two-hour video of the "unconference" wrap-up session, participants talk up the importance of producing compelling online content for audiences who primarily rely on web-based media for news and information, and a proposal for collaborating on 2012 election coverage, among other ideas. A PubCamp Tumbler site aggregating Storify summaries and other social media reactions to unconference sessions, is here. Pubcasters KPCC in Pasadena, PBS SoCal in Orange County, and KQED in San Francisco collaborated in organizing the conference.

Filmmaker Werner Bundschuh dies in fall; worked at WGBH-TV

Werner Bundschuh, a WGBH alum and documentary filmmaker who co-founded Blackside Inc., which produced the critically acclaimed Eyes on the Prize series, died Friday (Aug. 19) after falling from a ladder at his home in Royalston, Mass., according to a report on the WGBH Alumni website. He was 70 years old.

Werner began his career in film and television at WGBH-TV, where he wrote and produced many programs, a number of them broadcast nationally on PBS, including The Totalitarian Temptation, and The Bomb That Fizzled for the series In Search of the Real America. He also directed The Ancient Mariners for the series Out of the Past.

He was a founding partner with Henry Hampton of BlackSide, which produced Eyes on the Prize, an epic six-part presentation of the historic black struggle for human and civil rights.

A celebration of Werner’s life will be from 2 to 4 p.m. today (Aug. 23), at The Maples, 17 On the Common, Royalston. Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of the Phinehas S. Newton Library, P.O. Box 133, Royalston, Mass. 01368.