Sep 9, 2011

WOSU in Columbus completes sale of AM channel

Ohio State University trustees on Friday (Sept. 9) approved the $2 million sale of WOSU Public Media's AM frequency and transmitting equipment to a Roman Catholic station, Gabriel Radio Inc., according to Columbus Business First. The deal completes WOSU's transition to all-FM broadcasts, which began last year. The station had paid Fun With Radio LLC $5.7 million for the 101.1 FM signal and tower to create Classical 101. WOSU converted its 89.7 FM frequency to an all news-talk format, and has been dual broadcasting on 820 AM since then.

“We invest a lot in our local news,” Tom Rieland, g.m. of WOSU told Current in August 2010. “It’s been a struggle for us, getting people to the AM dial to listen to us in this community.” The station hopes the move back to FM will bring a much bigger audience to WOSU’s local news programs.

NPR weighs in on FCC proposal to clear spectrum for LPFMs

Regulatory wrangling over the FCC's proposed rule-making for low-power FM stations is heating up.

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Sept. 7 urged the commission to license as many LPFMs as possible as it implements the Local Community Radio Act, according to The Hill. Meanwhile, formal comments from competing broadcasting interest groups are rolling into the FCC.

NPR is among the broadcasters objecting to the commission's proposal for opening FM frequencies in urban areas. Rather than dismissing some 1,800 pending translator applications from full-power broadcasters to make way for new LPFMs, as the FCC has proposed, NPR urges the commission to wade through its massive backlog of applications from 2003 and approve those that would not obstruct new LPFM service.

WCLK-FM, an African-American public station that broadcasts NPR News and jazz in Atlanta, is among the translator applicants that would benefit from the approach proposed by NPR's policy team.

In its comments to the FCC, filed Sept. 6, NPR also urges the commission to adopt rules prohibiting spectrum trafficking by translator applicants and barring AM broadcasters from retransmitting their signals on FM translators.

Doc Martin may get American version, KCET programmer learns

Bohdan Zachary, broadcasting and program development v.p. at KCET in Los Angeles, recently got the chance to visit the set of Doc Martin, the station's highest-rated show, in the picturesque fishing village of Port Isaac, North Cornwall, U.K. "One of the great joys of my visit was the chance to interview each one of the series' actors," Zachary reports. "As busy as they were with filming, they were eager to talk about how many American tourists are suddenly popping up in Port Isaac — a sign of the series' success on public television."

Star Martin Clunes told Zachary that several Hollywood producers are negotiating for an American version of the show, similar to the new version of the Helen Mirren-led BBC classic Prime Suspect premiering on NBC this fall. Doc Martin already plays in Germany and Spain with native casts.

YouTube eyeing original journalism; in talks with Center for Investigative Reporting

YouTube is in discussions with the Center for Investigative Reporting to form a video-based reporting service, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. YouTube wants the center to curate material for what it plans to call YouTube Investigative. "There's a revolution around information and technology," said center Executive Director Robert Rosenthal, with social media platforms eager to get involved in a type of journalism once dominated by traditional press outlets. The Berkeley, Calif.-based center also is in discussions with Apple and Google about collaborations.