Mar 30, 2012

Three longtime staffers retiring from Illinois Public Media

Three talk-show staffers at WILL-AM in Urbana, Ill., are retiring, Illinois Public Media said on its website. Departing will be David Inge, longtime host of morning show Focus; the show's producer, Harriet Williamson; and Afternoon Magazine host Celeste Quinn, married to Inge for 24 years after the two met at the station.

Inge, retiring June 30, has conducted more than 12,000 Focus interviews in his 29-plus years as the program’s host. He started at the station as a classical music announcer, then became a reporter. He also hosted WILL-TV’s pubaffairs Talking Point from 1992 until it ended in 2001. Williamson began at the station as a volunteer, joining the staff in 1996 after careers as a medical librarian and nurse. Quinn began working at WILL in 1980 as a reporter, covering police, courts and the city councils before taking on hosting  duties for Afternoon Magazine in 1993. For the past year, she has been editor of WILLConnect, Illinois Public Media’s community engagement website. She retires April 30.

The station is "planning to carry on the strong tradition" that the three have established over the last 30 years, General Manager Mark Leonard said. “We’ll be hiring people for several positions to help us do that.”

Story of the OPB presidential primary debate that wasn't to be

Now on, a behind-the-scenes look at the work at Oregon Public Broadcasting in the months leading up to its scheduled national GOP primary presidential debate, canceled just days before the high-profile event.

Kartemquin establishing liaison group to advocate for indie filmmakers with PBS

Kartemquin Films is beginning work to form a permanent advocacy group to serve as a liaison between independent filmmakers and PBS, in the wake of the controversy surrounding PBS's rescheduling of Independent Lens and P.O.V. and their subsequent ratings and carriage woes (Current, March 12, 2012). Gordon Quinn, artistic director and founder of the Chicago documentary production house, said he is in conversations to partner with the International Documentary Association on the effort.

Public television "is not just another outlet for independent producers," Quinn told Current. "The public aspect of it is of vital importance to us."

Following Current's story, Kartemquin posted on its website an open letter to PBS expressing concern over its shift of the two programs from their longtime home on Tuesdays to Thursdays, which many stations program with local shows. Hundreds of filmmakers signed and the controversy was covered widely, from the New York Times to multiple documentary-oriented websites. PBS agreed to find a different timeslot for the shows, and its negotiations continue with reps from ITVS, home to Independent Lens, as well as P.O.V.

Quinn said he and documentarian Carlos Sandoval are approaching 10 to 20 filmmakers to serve on a coordinating committee. "Ultimately I'd like to see us become part of the dialogue with PBS about the future of the whole system," he said, "sitting down and talking with them about larger issues," perhaps several times a year.

Michael Lumpkin, executive director of IDA, said the group is "very interested" in working with Quinn on the idea.

PBS proposed FY13 budget has 2 percent membership dues increase

PBS's fiscal 2013 draft budget, which the board today (March 30) approved to send to stations for comment, contains a 2 percent membership dues increase. At the board meeting at headquarters in Arlington, Va., Barbara Landes, PBS c.f.o., said this is the first dues increase for stations since fiscal 2009. Also at the meeting, directors unanimously approved a change in language in PBS's common-carriage policy to align with PBS's ongoing primetime revamp. The two-hour nightly limit was removed to accommodate three-hour programming blocks. The change does not affect total common carriage hours over the season, or station flexibility to preempt common-carriage programming.