Feb 27, 2012

Native applicant loses permit to start new radio station

The FCC has denied the request of a Native American college in New Mexico for more time to build a new noncommercial FM station. (PDF of decision.)

Navajo Technical College in Crownpoint, N.M., had run into a number of setbacks as it worked toward getting its new station on the air. To start with, the school blew past its FCC-imposed deadline for starting the station due to a misunderstanding. It then revealed to the FCC that it couldn’t build the station at the location it had initially proposed because the solar-powered facility at the site would produce too little power. NTC blamed this error on a consultant who has since been fired.

The college was able to find an alternate location but found that a station at the new site would reach a smaller audience than had initially been promised to the FCC. That nullified its permit, which was given on the condition that the larger audience would be served.

NTC now has the option of appealing the decision, or it may be able to start over with a new application, according to an FCC spokesperson.

Ramsey on diaries vs. PPM, from the ad buyer's POV

On his blog, media strategist Mark Ramsey argues that the old Arbitron diaries were better at showing which stations a listener actually values and engages with, as opposed to PPM, which doesn’t depend on a listener’s impressions to record and deliver data. Check out his video.

If Ramsey is right, what are the implications for public radio? Are stations that have abandoned diaries missing out on valuable information, and, if so, how to recover it?

Hawaii, Detroit stations win EDGE Awards; Stevens gets advocacy honor from APTS

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Association of Public Television Stations today (Feb. 27) presented two EDGE Awards (Excellence in Digital Transition, Groundbreaking Partnerships and Educational Technologies), and its David J. Brugger Grassroots Advocacy Award, named for its former president and c.e.o., at the APTS Public Media Summit here.

EDGE winners are Detroit Public Television for its Great Lakes Now coverage (Current, Oct. 17, 2011), and PBS Hawaii for Hiki Nō (“Can do”), its news production project with dozens of the state’s schools. The Brugger Award went to Catherine Ann Stevens, a former longtime WETA Board member and wife of the late pubcasting champion Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

In Detroit, for the first time, six major entities focused on issues concerning the Great Lakes — the International Joint Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Areas of Concern Program, the Great Lakes Commission, The Healing Our Waters/Great Lakes Coalition and Environment Canada — hosted events in the same city during the same week. DPTV delivered on-air, online and on-demand coverage Oct. 11-14, 2011, distributed to 22 broadcast partners in 23 markets including Canada, reaching some 300,000 viewers, listeners and web users. In accepting the award, station President Rich Homberg said the production “was one of the most complex Detroit Public Television has ever put together,” with an HD uplink, 14 HD cameras and crew of more than 30.

Leslie Wilcox, president of PBS Hawaii, and Robert Pennybacker, v.p. of creative services, accepted that station’s honors for Hiki Nō, which launched in January 2010. Wilcox said 73 middle and high schools across six islands now participate, and the numbers are growing; two elementary schools are also involved in the “enormously labor intensive project.” Station staffers mentor teachers in journalism and video production and students create content that has grown into a weekly primetime program, 52 weeks a year. Pennybacker said “most people thought we were crazy,” when the station announced the project, “and I guess we were, but it works. Every Thursday Hawaii gets to see the future of media and it looks pretty good.”

APTS President Pat Butler called Catherine Ann Stevens a “stalwart support” of public broadcasting, on Capitol Hill as well as in Alaska, who “volunteered for special duty” during the most recent federal funding crisis, adding that her honor is “richly deserved.” Stevens said, “I’m so enthused to see so many people here, this is what it’s all about,” and wished the participants luck during their visits to the Hill on Tuesday.

Rosen gives thumbs-up to NPR's new ethics handbook

Media critic Jay Rosen takes a look at NPR’s new ethics handbook, released last week, and likes what he sees, particularly the handbook’s guidance regarding balance and fairness in reporting. “At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources,” the guide says. “So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth.”

“With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid the worst excesses of ‘he said, she said’ journalism,” Rosen writes on his PressThink blog. “It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being ‘fair to the truth,’ which as we know is not always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.”

Rosen’s post also includes a brief Q&A with Matt Thompson, an editorial product manager at NPR, who co-wrote the new handbook.