Oct 12, 2011

No longer in the conservative mainstream, Frum signs off on Marketplace

David Frum is resigning as a commentator on APM's Marketplace, he announced on his blog today, because his role as a conservative counter-point to former Department of Labor Secretary Robert Reich has become untenable.

"So long as the topic is 'green jobs' or NLRB regulations or immigration, my thinking aligns reasonably congruently with the current conservative consensus," Frum writes. "But on the issues that today most passionately divide Americans — healthcare reform, monetary policy, social spending to aid the unemployed, and — soon — the American response to the euro crisis, I have to recognize that my views are not very representative of the conservative mainstream."

Frum made his farewell appearance on Marketplace's Oct. 12 broadcast, and will advise producers on potential successors.

This American Sex Life

[Warning: Contents of this blog post may get you into trouble at your workplace, either for its lurid subject matter or the volume of your laughter at the aforementioned lurid subject matter. Also, please proceed with caution as this blog post contains material dealing with sordid details of the sex lives of various public broadcasters. Listener discretion advised.]

Julian Joslin, co-writer and narrator of the Ira Glass Sex Tape, tells Huffington Post he used parts of nine Fresh Air episodes to create the 11-minute parody that's currently ricocheting around the Web. HuffPost calls it "a barbed love letter to public radio's self-seriousness," also noting that it's "the only sex tape that might actually shock the nation, because it's fancy enough to have 'two acts.' " Guest-starring voices include Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and This American Life contributor Jonathan Goldstein.

Loan from city saves Salt Lake's KCPW

Salt Lake City’s KCPW-FM has secured a loan that will allow it to stay in business. The Salt Lake City Council unanimously approved last night a $250,000 loan to the community-licensed station, which will go toward repaying another lender.

KCPW was staring down an Oct. 31 deadline for repaying a $250,000 loan from National Cooperative Bank. Failure to do so would likely have shut down the station, which is still working to pay off several loans that financed the 2008 purchase of its license from previous owner Community Wireless of Park City. (Earlier coverage in Current.) KCPW tried to raise the money during a recent 12-day on-air drive but fell significantly short of the goal.

KCPW now must repay the city within six months. It will stage another on-air fundraiser before the end of the year to reach that goal, says General Manager Ed Sweeney, and will also seek to raise funds through email blasts and direct mail.

Even if it succeeds, other financial challenges will loom ahead. KCPW must also pay back a second loan from NCB for $1.8 million that comes due Sept. 30, 2012.

"We’re not out of the woods by any stretch,” Sweeney says. “But it was nice that the city stepped up and is still supportive of what we’re doing.” Some council members at last night’s meeting praised the station’s service to the community, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Panel to examine pubmedia's role in changing journalism

Free Press and the New America Foundation are sponsoring a panel, "The Next Big Thing: How Public Media Innovation Is Changing Journalism," Oct. 18 in Washington, D.C. Experts will discuss how public media in the U.S. and U.K. are investing in innovative Web, mobile and community media projects and collaborations. Speaking will be Caroline Thomson, chief operating officer of the BBC; Sue Schardt, c.e.o. of the Association of Independents in Radio; Joaquin Alvarado, s.v.p. of digital innovation at American Public Media; Jake Shapiro, c.e.o. of Public Radio Exchange; and Craig Aaron, president of Free Press.

"Nature" film snares prestigious top prize at Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival

For the first time, a Nature film has won the Grand Teton Award, the top prize at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, considered one of the wildlife doc industry's highest honors, for Broken Tail: A Tiger's Last Journey. In all, Nature received six of 22 awards at the festival, for films including the season opener, Radioactive Wolves, about species living in the "dead zone" around the disabled Chernobyl nuclear reactor. On hand for the award announcements in Wyoming were Series Executive Producer Fred Kaufman, Series Producer Bill Murphy and Series Editor Janet Hess.

The biennial conference, which ran Oct. 3-7, drew more than 650 international leaders in science, conservation, broadcasting and media. This year's competition included 510 films from more than 30 countries.

Wait wait ... it's a pledge premium! Really!

Oh that Peter Sagal. The host of pubradio's Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me has recorded a truly unique pledge pitch for WCQS/WYQS in western North Carolina.

It references state Sen. Jim Forrester's statement in an interview last month that Asheville is a "cesspool of sin" due to the state's tolerance of homosexual "mischief."

Sagal gleefully congratulates listeners for Ashville's victory over Wilmington and Chapel Hill, and proclaims that "nothing helps keep Asheville drowning in ungodly filth more than WCQS." He ends the pitch by urging, "keep Asheville demonic, people."

For a $100 contribution, members can get a nifty "Welcome to the Cesspool of Sin" T-shirt, destined to become a collector's item.

CPB ombudsman hears from a disappointed Ruff Ruffman fan

CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan received a complaint letter from a 9-year-old in North Carolina who is unhappy with the end of production for FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman last year. “There has been a huge uproar about FETCH! going away,” says Kate Taylor, executive producer at WGBH. “PBS decided that 100 shows were enough and they needed to save their money for new shows."

"It is true that we are not commissioning additional episodes," responds Linda Simensky, PBS v.p. for children's content, "but we have produced 100 episodes of the series, which is a substantial number. We are continuing to feed the program to our stations and they are continuing to air it."

CPB did not fund FETCH!, according to Michael Fragale, its v.p. for educational programming and services. He adds that CPB generally divides its support between legacy series and new shows, although at this time the corporation is leaning toward funding new content.