Feb 14, 2012

KUSC producer travels to Venezuela with L.A. Philharmonic, blogging all the way

Brian Lauritzen, producer and host at Los Angeles classical music pubradio giant KUSC-FM, is venturing far and wide in order to cover the classical beat — more than 3,600 miles, in fact.  Lauritzen is accompanying conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra on their historic trip to Dudamel's native Venezuela, producing radio pieces and blog posts for KUSC from Caracas, Venezuela's capital. The orchestra preformed Mahler's Ninth Symphony on Feb. 11 to a sold-out crowd of 2,400 at the Teatro Teresa Carreño, South America's second-largest theater. You can see rehearsal video clips, photos, and Lauritzen's accounting of the performance in his Feb. 12 blog post.

KCET launches arts series, adds eight "Land of Sunshine" local bloggers

KCET is launching a new arts series next month, Open Call, hosted by international operatic mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmàn, showcasing cultural institutions and other groups in Southern California. The station's program Live @ the Ford will be folded into the new series, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The station also announced on Tuesday (Feb. 14) that its local documentary series Departures is adding eight new bloggers to its Land of Sunshine blog, "dedicated to uncovering the rich diversity of Angelinos throughout time," and based on the late 19th century journal with the same title, distributed nationwide "to promote Southern California life to tourists and potential residents." Bloggers will focus on topics including disparities in civil and human rights issues, L.A.'s literary landscape, the bicycle culture and "the public art policy and politics of the mural aesthetic in the Los Angeles region."

Classical South Florida to extend its signal west

Miami-based Classical South Florida is expanding its service to the state's western coast with the $4.35 million purchase of WAYJ 88.7 FM, a 75,000-watt station that broadcasts to a potential audience of nearly 1 million listeners in Fort Myers and beyond.

The purchase, announced today, is part of a three-way transaction with seller WAY Media, a religious broadcast network that's moving its Christian pop music service to 100,000-watt WSRX 89.5 FM in Naples. When the sale closes, Way Media will retain the WAYJ call letters and format for its new station.

Though WSRX broadcasts at a higher Effective Radiated Power (ERP) than WAYJ, Classical South Florida is buying the better of the two channels. WSRX's signal is on a shorter tower than WAYJ and reaches a much smaller potential audience, according to Tom Kigin, executive v.p. for Minnesota-based American Public Media and its Sunshine state affiliate, Classical South Florida. "It has only 340,913 people under coverage, whereas WAYJ has 991,520 under coverage, almost three times as many," he wrote in an email.

The deal marks the second signal expansion in a year for Classical South Florida, a locally-controlled APM affiliate. It purchased WXEL 90.7 FM in West Palm Beach last spring and converted it to an all-classical station broadcasting under the call letters WPBI. An all-news station airs on WPBI's second HD Radio channel and on an analog FM translator on 101.9 FM.

The purchase will please classical music lovers in Fort Myers by bringing a full-time music service to the market's analog airwaves, according to Jason Hughes, Classical South Florida spokesperson.

Local pubcaster WGCU-FM, a university-owned outlet that also operates a public TV station, dropped music for an an all-news format several years ago. It continues to program an all-classical HD Radio stream.

Editor's note: This post has been revised from its original version, which overstated the power of WSRX's signal.

WPR host develops one-man show on image of Native Americans

Richie Plass, one of two hosts of Kalihwiyo'se on Wisconsin Public Radio, has developed a unique one-man show on the image of Native Americans, "An Indian ... One Block East of Broadway," which he's presenting next week at the Neville Public Museum of Brown County in Green Bay, Wisc. According to the local Press-Gazette, it features "humor, music, videos and education — with a positive spin." As Plass said, "Native American humor has many faces. I am always trying to address stereotypes, stories and/or image concerns relating to our history and even modern awareness."

Reid returns with another healthcare doc

Journalist T.R. Reid, who parted ways with Frontline following a very public dustup over a controversial healthcare documentary nearly three years ago (Current, April 27, 2009), returns to PBS this week with a new film, "U.S. Health Care: The Good News." In an interview with Healthcare Finance News, Reid said, "I think the film shows that in big towns and in small communities and urban centers you can provide high quality care at way below the national average costs. It’s definitely being done. So why don’t others do the same and therefore bring down our cost levels? That’s the question."

President proposes $445 million for 2015 for CPB, zero-out of RUS cash for pubstations

President Barack Obama released his fiscal 2013 budget Monday (Feb. 13), which contains $445 million in advance funding for fiscal 2015 for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He also proposes consolidating pubTV's Ready to Learn, an ongoing funder of PBS Kids programming, with other education efforts, and wants to zero out the $3 million Rural Utilities Service Public Television Digital Transition Grant Program, which provides capital funding to stations. The budget slightly boosts, from $1.501 billion to $1.576 billion, funding to cultural organizations that support pubcasting, including the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

“We are grateful to the president for providing level funding for CPB and for continuing the advance funding mechanism so important to our stations and producers,” said Patrick Butler, president of the Association of Public Television Stations, in a statement. “Public television did not expect immunity from the budget cuts that been required across the government, and the overall federal investment in public television has been reduced by more than 10 percent in the past two years. Within these necessary constraints, we will continue working toward our goal of a well-educated, well-informed, cultured and civil society, and again we are most grateful for the Administration’s endorsement of our work."

Patricia Harrison, president of CPB, said in a statement, "The president’s request reflects the value of public media’s in-depth news reporting, our commitment to children, and initiatives such as American Graduate, which focuses on public media’s core value of education. The request also reflects the unique and powerful service that public media provides for free to listeners and viewers.We appreciate the president’s support. His request reaffirms that federal funding for public media is a vital investment — one that continues to deliver proven value and service to our country.”

The entire budget may be accessed online at the Office of Management and Budget website.