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Dec 30, 2002

On Jan. 6, Baton Rouge pubradio station WRKF will be the latest to drop daytime music on weekdays to carry more news and info programming, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.
Chicago Sun-Times critic Phil Rosenthal pans Austin Hoyt's American Experience three-parter on Chicago, which he says gives the city a "4-1/2-hour thrashing," with none of the affection of Ric Burns's and Lisa Ades's history of New York. [Earlier Current article.]

Dec 20, 2002

WHYY aired a talk show on the pitfalls of grant-funded journalism Dec. 17, but the station's own central role in such a controversy was kept off the air, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. News Director Bill Fantini resigned Dec. 9, the day before the Philadelphia Daily News reported on a widely criticized news-funding partnership he negotiated.

Dec 18, 2002

Muslim-American businesses and organizations sponsored the two-hour PBS documentary "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet," notes Alessandra Stanley in a New York Times review, and the program has the feel of a "lengthy informercial for Islam." But the doc is "well worth watching both as the first serious attempt to tell the story of Muhammed on television and also as a testimony to the hypersensitivity of our times." In the LA Times, Howard Rosenberg described the program as a "candid, thoughtful, flowing, visually stunning film."

The Seattle Weekly reports that the CPB Inspector General may launch an audit of KCTS.

Dec 17, 2002

USA Today looks at audience trends for financial advice programs, and declares that the competing Wall Street Week franchises both "look like losers."

Dec 16, 2002

Chicago's WBEZ-FM assumed management of community station WLUW-FM Dec. 4, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Washington Post previews I'd Rather Eat Pants, a serial drama airing this week on NPR's Morning Edition.
Maine Public Broadcasting may have to lay off employees as it deals with a budget shortfall, reports the Portland Press Herald.
Oregon Public Broadcasting is partly responsible for the financial difficulties it faces, according to an Oregonian report. An accompanying article profiles Jack Galmiche, OPB's chief operating officer.
Lea Sloan, new PBS v.p. of media relations, tells the Washington Post that a big part of her job will be making sure that President Pat Mitchell "gets the recognition she deserves for leading PBS into the 21st century."

Dec 12, 2002

A group of pubcasting stations interested in Internet services will hold an Integrated Media Conference next April for both radio and TV stations. PRISA posted a questionnaire and tentative plans on the Web. The event in Minneapolis will fill a gap left by the suspension of the annual PBS/NPR web Summit.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will review whether Frontline can film jury deliberations. "This is an important enough issue, and it's good the court is going to hear it with full arguments," comments an attorney on the case in today's Houston Chronicle.

Dec 11, 2002

The novelty has faded: Public radio's Rewind is going off the air as host Bill Radke seeks a new gig, reports the Seattle Weekly.
Bill Fantini, radio news director at WHYY in Philadelphia, resigned Dec. 9. Fantini recently developed a state-funded series of positive stories on the environment that some reporters and observers have called unethical. [Read Current's report on the controversy.]

Dec 10, 2002

" . . . Ultimately, it's a state agency buying good coverage," comments a broadcast journalism professor on ethical lapses at WHYY-FM, in today's Philadelphia Daily News. Current reported last month on breaches in journalism ethics and sponsorship disclosure in environmental reporting at WHYY.

Dec 6, 2002

The Houston Chronicle reports that prosecutors filed new arguments in the Texas jury taping case.

Dec 4, 2002

KCTS is "in the midst of a severe financial crisis that has some concerned about whether it can, in the words of a board member, 'sustain the operation,'" according to the Seattle Weekly.
Attorneys for Frontline and production executive Michael Sullivan explained the rationale for taping jury deliberations in a Texas death penalty case during a Dec. 2 press conference. An attorney representing District Court Judge Ted Poe, who is defending his order to allow the taping, faced off with the prosecutor on the case on the NewsHour. A Google news search found several recent newspaper editorials opposing cameras in the jury room.

Dec 3, 2002

Radio World's Skip Pizzi says digital radio may fail because it promises better sound but little new content. In the same issue, a reader asks how digital radio will affect subcarrier services.
The latest Eastern Public Radio newsletter covers Vinnie Curren's CPB appointment (see below), successful fund drives, format advice and more.

Dec 2, 2002

Public radio producer Aimée Pomerleau just set up a website, Scorcher Radio.
CPB named Vinnie Curren, g.m. of WXPN in Philadelphia, its senior v.p. of radio.

Nov 25, 2002

An activist raises concerns about Eva Georgia, general manager of Los Angeles Pacifica station KPFK-FM, in an article for the L.A. Independent Media Center.
Prosecutors in a Houston capital murder case are challenging a judge's order to allow Frontline to film the upcoming trial and jury deliberations, according to an Associated Press wire story.

Nov 22, 2002

Frontline producer and reporter Martin Smith discusses "In Search of Al Qaeda", which aired last night on many PBS stations.
A profile in today's Washington Post describes the Nov. 24 debut of Skinwalkers as a defining moment for PBS President Pat Mitchell.
PBS's publicity blitz for Skinwalkers on Mystery! is churning up a spate of favorable press. Google's news search engine turned up 11 newspaper stories published since Nov. 19. The LA Times ran a Nov. 17 feature on what a trial it was for Robert Redford to bring Tony Hillerman's Native American mystery to the screen.
PBS's Benjamin Franklin apparently held its own against stiff November sweeps competition. The first part of the two-night miniseries pulled in a 2.9 household rating, according to an account in Media Life. That's about 61 percent better than the network's national average this season.

Nov 21, 2002

Pacifica held a marathon fundraiser Nov. 19 and is seeking grants to preserve decaying tapes that document recent decades of activism in its program archive, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
This year's Public Radio Talk Conference was received so well that PRNDI has scheduled a second annual event for May 2003.
John Potthast is leaving Maryland Public Television to oversee development of new national programming for WETA in Arlington, Va., reports the Washington Post.

Nov 20, 2002

The bad blood between Virginia's public TV stations has come to a boil, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The stations are feuding over how to share limited state money.
Activists have been picketing Minnesota Public Radio to protest what they believe is biased, pro-war reporting on the network and on NPR. [Via randomWalks.]

Nov 19, 2002

Four New York radio stations jockeying for Manhattan listeners are stepping on each other's toes in the process, raising worries about interference, reports the New York Times.

Nov 18, 2002

Pacifica is trying to save its deteriorating archives, which include recordings of many famous artists, authors, politicians and activists. [More coverage in the New York Daily News and the San Francisco Chronicle.]

Nov 14, 2002

Milwaukee Public Schools issued a Request for Proposals Oct. 15 to find an operator for its radio station, WYMS. (Microsoft Word file.)

Nov 12, 2002

Radio reading services worry that digital radio could interfere with their signals, reports Radio World. And in an RW editorial, an advocate for reading services urges the radio industry to support secondary audio services.
The FCC has struck a confusing section from a December 2001 decision that admonished WNCW in Spindale, N.C., for breaking underwriting rules. Several public radio organizations, worried that the decision threatened their business practices, asked the Commission to retract the vague language. It did--but not necessarily because it agreed with the pubcasters. Read the Commission's decision (.doc, .pdf, .txt).
Congress and the recording industry must find a way to let college radio flourish, writes Michael Papish in The Washington Post.

Nov 11, 2002

The New York Times tells the story behind "The Vietnam Tapes of Lance Cpl. Michael A. Baronowski," an NPR documentary that some stations are rebroadcasting for Veterans' Day. You can hear the documentary online.
The New York Times reviews an American Experience bio of former President Jimmy Carter, winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize: "This program is a vivid reminder that a good president and a good man are not necessarily the same thing." The two-part profile debuts Nov. 11 and 12 on PBS.

Nov 8, 2002

Sound Portraits Productions, led by independent radio producer David Isay, has just posted a study guide to be used in classrooms, along with its "Youth Portraits" series of stories.
Dottie Talmage, who managed KVNF-FM in Paonia, Colo., for seven years, died Oct. 28 at the age of 51.
Columnist Mona Charen accuses NPR of being liberal and anti-Israel.
Christopher O'Riley, host of public radio's From the Top, confesses his admiration of Howard Stern in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune profile.

Nov 6, 2002

Independent radio producer Robin White has a website for his documentary Giving Back the Owens.

Nov 5, 2002

WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., upset listeners yesterday when it accidentally rebroadcast a taped show that included "breaking news" about the start of the area's sniper shootings.
Public radio programmers say a new classical music study will help them improve their service to listeners, according to the latest Eastern Public Radio Newsletter.

Nov 4, 2002

The Los Angeles Times reports on the opening of NPR's West Coast production studios. Hosts Neal Conan and Scott Simon will contribute to NPR's Nov. 5 election coverage from the new studios.

Nov 1, 2002

Gwen Shaffer, a former reporter for WHYY, writes in the Columbia Journalism Review about a "partnership" that compromised environmental reporting at the Philadelphia station.


Oct 30, 2002

Public radio journalist Jeremy Scahill is now in Baghdad producing IraqJournal.org. Some of his pieces are also airing on Democracy Now!.

Oct 29, 2002

Online petitioners are urging NPR to fire reporter Nancy Marshall after she reported that only 10,000 protestors marched against war in Iraq Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C. Marshall's figure falls far short of numbers provided by police and organizers, who estimated a turnout of somewhere between 75,000 and 200,000. You can hear Marshall's report. [Via randomWalks.]

Oct 28, 2002

"PBS president Pat Mitchell refuses to pledge allegiance to pledge drives" in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer's Gail Shister. This isn't the first time a PBS president questioned the tactics that stations use to generate viewer contributions, and not the first time that Mitchell has discussed her concerns with the press.
A video diary by Columbia University sophomore Cecilia Garza "offers an unusual, deeply honest story of one rural Latina's struggles in the big city," reports the New York Times. The diary is one of three featured on Borders, a 10-week, web-only series by P.O.V.

Oct 25, 2002

Chicago's WBEZ angered peace activists when it rejected an underwriting spot that included information about a "community forum and peace vigil proclaiming a moral voice against war with Iraq," reports the Chicago Reader. Station management said it's "improper to accept money to push for causes."

Oct 24, 2002

Unlike many of her fellow journalists, Diane Rehm has a sparkling record at the ballot box, reports The Washingtonian.
NPR's Scott Simon told the Yale Daily News he will dance in The Nutcracker in December with the Austin Ballet, complete with tutu.

Oct 23, 2002

New at Hearing Voices: photos, stories and audio from writer/producer Nancy Updike's trip to the West Bank.

Oct 22, 2002

Smaller noncommercial broadcasters reject digital radio as "another business that supports the status quo," reports Wired.

Oct 21, 2002

On Weekend Edition Saturday, Scott Simon interviews Nic Harcourt, host of KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Live performances from the show are compiled on a new album, Sounds Eclectic Too.

Oct 17, 2002

Columnist Michelle Malkin is unsympathetic to pubradio translators knocked off the air by expanding religiocasters. "It's time for the secular hogs of the public airwaves to stop squealing," she writes in the Philadelphia Daily News.
Electronic Media lists PBS President Pat Mitchell among the "most powerful women in television." Among the 26 are Judith McHale, c.o.o. of Discovery Communications, numerous other chief execs, and Oprah Winfrey.

Oct 15, 2002

Aileen LeBlanc is leaving WYSO-FM in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she has been news director since 1999. LeBlanc told the Dayton Daily News she's leaving over "irreconcilable differences with WYSO management."
The FCC's Report and Order regarding digital radio is up on its website.

Oct 14, 2002

PBS lucks out with a major Jimmy Carter profile ready for broadcast on American Experience, Nov. 11-12, just a month after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. (Or was it planning!?)

Oct 11, 2002

Frontline producer Sherry Jones discussed last night's "Missile Wars" program at washingtonpost.com.
Borders, a web-only series from P.O.V., features an interactive drama about three young adults from the U.S.-Mexican border.
Public Radio International named Senior Vice President Alisa Miller director of corporate strategy and management.
More on the FCC's digital radio decision: NPR's statement, coverage in Radio World and The New York Times, and the FCC's release and statements are on its website.
NPR hired Michele Norris, a correspondent for ABC's World News Tonight, as co-host of All Things Considered. And it also appointed its own Steve Inskeep to host ATC on weekends.
The Los Angeles Times reports on the KOCE-TV Foundation's bid to buy the license of the Huntington Beach public TV station and fund its digital conversion.

Oct 10, 2002

Oct 9, 2002

The FCC is expected to declare iBiquity Corp.'s in-band, on-channel digital radio technology the national standard tomorrow. The Washington Post offers a preview.

Oct 8, 2002

A new study by Fairness and Accuracy in Media says seven major-market public radio stations sound, on average, twice as white as the communities they serve, due to a lack of diversity among daytime hosts.
The National Federation of Community Broadcasters' website looks nifty with a new design.
NPR's Morning Edition has commissioned its first radio play, a "zany comedy" by a Hollywood screenwriter, reports The Washington Post.
Faith Middleton, host of Connecticut Public Radio's Faith Middleton Show, was to celebrate her relationship with Fern Berman Sunday with a commitment ceremony, as noted by The New York Times.
The New York Daily News checks in with Cokie Roberts, who is receiving chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.
The Washington Post previews an upcoming film about Stephen Glass, the journalist who famously fabricated stories he filed for various outlets, including public radio's This American Life. So who plays Ira Glass?

Oct 4, 2002

"Although the new Forsyte Saga cannot recreate the story's historic role in television, its revitalized characters offer a delightful escape," writes Caryn James in a New York Times review of the updated British drama. On Sunday, Oct. 6, Masterpiece Theatre debuts its new production of the mini-series that captured the American imagination in 1969.

Oct 2, 2002

The FCC has released the findings of 12 studies it commissioned to examine the effects of existing media ownership rules. The agency is currently rethinking those regulations with an eye toward relaxing them next year. The FCC has posted each study to its website.
BBC re-tooled its nightly world news program more closely to American interests, and last week began producing the show live from studios in Washington, the Los Angeles Times reports. Not all public TV stations that carry the series are pleased with the changes.
Sixty couples have met at NPR and married, thus landing on Susan Stamberg's list tracking the phenomenon, reports USA Today.

Oct 1, 2002

The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program awarded $36 million in digital conversion grants to 97 public TV stations Sept. 30. An additional $6 million in grants went to public radio, distance learning and TV replacement equipment. See the full list of awards.
The board of education in Columbus, Ohio, is likely to keep control of public radio station WCBE, reports This Week. An advisory committee has recommended more educational programming for the station, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
Viewers ignored the rebroadcast of Ken Burns' Civil War in favor of the Emmys and network shows such as CSI: Miami and The West Wing, according to the San Jose Mercury News. It's part of the failed PBS programming strategy of throwing its best work into the teeth of more popular network fare, writes the paper's TV critic.
Pacifica plans to launch a daily hourlong digest covering the push for war against Iraq, and will also offer live coverage of House deliberations over the President's authority to declare war.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, debuting tonight on PBS, "does not shout, nor does it exult. It pays homage to sacrifice and achievement, and it leaves the door open to hope," writes Ron Wertheimer in today's New York Times. The website for the four-part series includes a section on how Jim Crow laws were sanctioned and supported by the national government.

Sep 27, 2002

Pacifica voted to return to its old home of Berkeley after its executive director said the move would save money, reports the Berkeley Daily Planet. Just last month the board voted to delay the move, reversing an earlier vote to return to Berkeley--which itself reversed an earlier vote not to return to Berkeley! Got that?
The increasingly busy Nic Harcourt, host of KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, tells the L.A. Times he's "totally overworked." He just supervised the music for the new film Igby Goes Down. [Hear Morning Becomes Eclectic online.]

Sep 26, 2002

PBS launched a major new website for parents. It features an activity search tool that correlates games, booklists, stories and fun projects with kids' skills and interests.
"Luckily I hadn't had anything to eat or drink; if I'd had a cup of coffee I might have actually been sweating steam and the little recording booth might have exploded," says Ftrain's Paul Ford of a recent taping for NPR's Rewind. (The bit about Rewind is after the bit about Paul falling off a truck, which relates not a whit to public broadcasting but amuses nonetheless.)

Sep 25, 2002

Talks with NPR's Ben Roe and the BBC's John Evans from the PRPD are now online at the website of the Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio.
"If PBS only had a sense of humor and encouraged more independent creativity and originality, its programs would serve audiences far better," writes Lawrence Grossman, in the latest Columbia Journalism Review. The ex-PBS and NBC News president reviews two recent books on public TV, and offers his own prescription for fixing it.

Sep 24, 2002

"I am not a well-read or a well-educated person," WNYC's Steve Post tells the New York Times. "But I have a deep voice, which makes me sound authoritative." Post is back on WNYC as host of The No Show.
NPR's Terry Gross is working with California-based producer Margaret Pick, formerly of A Prairie Home Companion, on a book that will compile transcripts of Fresh Air highlights, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune.
You can hear samples from the new Public Radio Weekend service on the show's website.
Also online from PRPD: the results of Walrus Research's focus groups with classical music listeners.
Audience researcher David Giovannoni's speech from last week's Public Radio Program Directors' conference is online.

Sep 17, 2002

NPR promoted New York Correspondent Melissa Block to co-host of All Things Considered with Robert Siegel, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sep 13, 2002

The Washington Post profiles Diane Rehm and her husband, John, who have written a new book about their difficult 45-year marriage.

Sep 11, 2002

Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute praises the "gravitas" of NPR's Sept. 11 coverage.
NPR's "Present at the Creation" series gets some ink in a New York Times story about backward-looking arts coverage in the media.

Sep 10, 2002

If you watch just one show about the anniversary of Sept. 11, Frontline's "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero" ought to be it, says Thane Peterson of BusinessWeek.

Sep 6, 2002

Currency, car air fresheners and gerbil shields: just some of the uses Car Talk listeners are suggesting for Tom and Ray's hoard of yogurt lids, the leftovers from a bungled anti-SUV campaign.

Sep 5, 2002

NPR commentator Cokie Roberts tells USA Today that she has received over 1,000 letters, mostly from strangers, since she told the media that she has breast cancer.

Sep 4, 2002

Nearly all of the money released by Congress in fiscal year 2002 for public TV and radio's digital conversion will go to help the smallest public TV stations meet their May 2003 transition deadline, CPB has decided.
Visit the website of Nuevos Horizontes (New Horizons), a Spanish-language radio program from the University of Illinois.
Garrison Keillor gets a satiric makeover as "Harrison Taylor" in a mock interview for The Rake.
A new website produced by WGBH aggregates content from public TV and radio on the global connections that contributed to unrest in the Middle East. Another recently launched 'GBH site helps local parents learn about education standards and testing in the Boston Public School System and the state of Massachusetts.
Paul Ingles, an independent producer in public radio, has a website.
Did you know Eastern Public Radio has a website? Well, it does.
Arthur Cohen, formerly of WETA, WNYC and the Radio Research Consortium, now has a website for his consulting business, Whole Station Solutions.

Sep 3, 2002

Mary Lou [Retton]'s Flip-Flop Shop has premiered on public TV with a serious attempt to help kids deal with emotions and "an overriding, self-conscious zaniness," writes Lynne Heffley in the Los Angeles Times.
Barney & Friends "shrewdly combines elements of current reality hits Big Brother and The Real World, says Kansas City Star critic Aaron Barnhart.
The First Amendment gives the press too much freedom, according to 42 percent of Americans polled, according to American Journalism Review. The percentage down on the First Amendment has doubled in two years.
Jim Lehrer says he'll stay on the NewsHour until he loses his kick for daily journalism--or starts drooling on the air--during an interview on CNN's Reliable Sources.

Aug 30, 2002

Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life, appeared on Talk of the Nation this week to discuss his show's unique Warner Bros. deal.
Neal Conan is No. 1--and David Brancaccio is dead last. At least in San Francisco Ultimate Frisbee league match-ups, where teams have taken the names of public radio personalities. Team members appeared on Talk of the Nation this week.
The Car Talk brothers tell The New Yorker that the SUV craze is "a strange madness of crowds." Trying to fight it has earned them a vast surplus of Stonyfield yogurt lids.

Aug 28, 2002

One of public TV's best loved dramas has been remade for broadcast on A&E: Ursula LeGuin's Lathe of Heaven. Starring this time around: James Caan, Lukas Haas, Lisa Bonet and David Strathairn. The director is Philip Haas (Angels & Insects) and the composer is (who else?) Angelo Badalamenti. Sept. 8, 8 p.m. WNET's production last played on PBS two years ago, Current reported.

Aug 27, 2002

The FCC again blocked attempts by Central Wyoming College and the Idaho Board of Education to apply for licenses on spectrum to be auctioned off this week, according to Broadcasting & Cable magazine's website. Both noncomms argued they were entitled to apply for the permits without participating in the auction.
Maryland Public TV announced lay-offs and salary cuts for top executives and rank-and-file employees. Lost underwriting revenue for the revamped Wall Street Week with Fortune contributed to the state network's projected $2.1 million revenue shortfall.

Aug 26, 2002

Fast Company magazine sends a love letter to HBO and its new c.e.o., Chris Albrecht, for raising the standard of quality in original programming while making piles of money. Its profit last year, $725 million, was equal to nearly half of public TV's total budget. The Sopranos is only the start. See the article by Polly LaBarre in the September issue.

Aug 22, 2002

Business 2.0 profiles Chris Mandra, who has molded NPR's online presence in his four years at the network.
Julia Child's kitchen has been moved from Cambridge and reconstructed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in D.C., the Washington Post reported. It will be on display for two years. [Smithsonian's kitchen page.]
"For the conflicted soap fan longing for a simulacrum of realism," the British import "EastEnders is an addictive slice of heaven," says John Dougan, TV critic of the cultural webzine PopMatters.

Aug 21, 2002

Britain's Prince Andrew has fallen for Cynthia Gouw, a reporter and producer for KQED's Pacific Time, reports the San Francisco Examiner.
Whoops: Click and Clack have three million yogurt lids to unload.

Aug 20, 2002

Will Robedee, g.m. of Houston's KTRU-FM, protests the new royalty rates for streaming music in Radio World.
The Boston Globe bids farewell to WGBH exec Peter McGhee, who resigns this month. The outgoing v.p. of national programming is leaving because he's disappointed with the way things have been going at PBS, the profile reports.
Public radio's Satellite Sisters has been pulled from orbit. You can read about it at their website.

Aug 19, 2002

Public radio's This American Life and Warner Brothers have signed a first-look deal that gives the studio rights to many TAL episodes, reports the Los Angeles Times. More TAL talk: Ira Glass, disgruntled vegetarian, lunches with a Chicago Sun-Times columnist.
iBiquity Digital Corp. is now calling its IBOC (in-band, on-channel) technology HD Radio.

Aug 14, 2002

Burlington Free Press columnist Sam Hemingway writes: "Famous and not-so-famous people take note: If you're looking for the right way to deal with a messy situation, the Moyers' model is the one to emulate."
Sirius Satellite Radio's stock dropped yesterday after the company warned it might have to seek bankruptcy protection next year if it can't raise new funds, Reuters reports. (Read the company's latest quarterly report.) Sirius carries both NPR and PRI programming.

Aug 13, 2002

Bill Moyers pleaded guilty Monday to the reduced plea of negligent driving after a July 27 incident in Vermont. He'll pay fines of at least $750 and may also perform community service as part of his sentence, the Bennington Banner reported.

Aug 12, 2002

Technicians at NPR ratified the latest union contract proposal today, 88 percent voting yes.
Minnesota Public Radio brings "adult beverages" to the table as part of a three-station collaboration on programming, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
David Barsamian and Pat Aufderheide appeared on Pacifica's Democracy Now! Friday to discuss the state of public broadcasting.
Hit Entertainment, Barney's new keeper, plans a $6 million promo campaign, 16 new toys and a 70-city stage tour to accompany 20 new Barney & Friends episodes on PBS, the New York Times reports. Barney's audiences today are half of their 1996-97 size.
The FCC dismissed some applications for noncommercial stations and translators Friday. The dismissed applicants failed to supply required updates to earlier applications, the agency says. (PDF, .doc, .txt.)

Aug 11, 2002

Former Sesame Street actor and producer Matthew T. Robinson Jr. passed away Aug. 5.
Garry Trudeau ribs NPR in Saturday's Doonesbury.

Aug 9, 2002

Garrison Keillor is setting up shop in an old St. Paul radio studio and has formed Grand Prairie LLP, an umbrella company for his various enterprises, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Aug 8, 2002

Nickelodeon purchased Sesame Workshop's 50 percent stake in Noggin, the network aimed at "tweens," Variety reports. Sesame will continue to produce programming for the network.
Quil Lawrence of public radio's The World discusses war reporting with the Boston Globe.

Aug 7, 2002

President Bush bypassed the Senate Aug. 6 and installed Cheryl Halpern to the CPB Board while she was still awaiting confirmation, reports the Washington Post.

Aug 6, 2002

NPR commentator Cokie Roberts has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo six months of chemotherapy, reports the Washington Post.

Aug 5, 2002

"It's part of the theft of my property by a Yankee carpetbagging con artist," says George E. Pickett V, who was defrauded of valuable family relics by former Antiques Roadshow appraiser Russell Pritchard III. Memorabilia of the famous Confederate General George Pickett are on display at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pa.
Public Radio Weekend is exploring ownership models and crafting pilot feeds, according to an interview with PRW mastermind Jim Russell. A preliminary clock is now available on the project's website.
Audio diarist Laura Rothenberg describes life with cystic fibrosis in a piece produced by Joe Richman, this afternoon on All Things Considered.

Aug 2, 2002

Kenyel Dotts, charged with fraud and conspiracy for allegedly stealing donor information from New York's WNYC-AM/FM, was arraigned today in Albany County court. (This article appeared prior to the arraignment.) Dotts pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance.
Vermont police arrested Bill Moyers last weekend (July 27) for driving with blood alcohol over the legal limit, the Bennington Banner reported. The PBS journalist said he would contest the charge.

Jul 31, 2002

San Francisco Chronicle TV critic Tim Goodman takes PBS to task for premiering its best shows in the fall when network competition is heaviest. He says: "Doh!"
Mixed Bag Classic, a triple-A format radio show hosted by freeform radio veteran Pete Fornatale, is entering national distribution.

Jul 30, 2002

LA Magazine profiles NPR host Tavis Smiley and writes up the network's West Coast expansion: "The network has looked at Los Angeles the way characters do in Woody Allen movies—we're the wacky outpost where trends come from and where Hollywood rules all," writes RJ Smith. "We make the folks in D.C. feel that much better about themselves."
Longtime critic of liberal bias at PBS, David Horowitz, has sued conservative producer Lionel Chetwynd (National Desk and the recent Darkness at High Noon) for kicking him off the board of Chetwynd's production company, Whidbey Island Films, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Horowitz says PBS pressured Chetwynd to oust him.
A sober Muppet story: The New York Times reports that the Palestinian-Israeli-Jordanian version of Sesame Street has had to give up the idea that Muppets of all nationalities can meet as friends on a single street.

Jul 29, 2002

Hostile TV critics grilled PBS on its treatment of Louis Rukeyser, its handling of the HIV-positive Muppet flap, and antiquated scheduling strategies during a July 26 executive session in Pasadena.
WFDD-FM in Winston-Salem, N.C., has dropped its broadcast of Sunday sermons and Baptist church services, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. "The loss is a great one," wrote a Journal columnist. The broadcasts threatened WFDD's receipt of an NTIA grant in 1995.
A janitor at New York's WNYC-FM/AM stole a list of donors and sold it to an identity-theft ring, according to The New York Times.

Jul 28, 2002

Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, a D.C.-based advocate for minority ownership and employment in media, announced that it has launched a website, www.mmtconline.org. Former FCC member Henry Rivera is chairman and David Honig is executive director.

Jul 26, 2002

NABET-CWA has posted a fact sheet about its new contract with NPR. (See July 23 entry, below.)
Though nominally about religious broadcasting, the Christian Community Broadcasters' website features regular updates about the FCC's dispensation of low-power FM licenses.

Jul 25, 2002

British broadcasters are pushing digital radio enthusiastically, though there are few affordable sets in the stores, WNYC's On the Media reported.
Rounded corners and a new font define the slightly updated look at NPR.org.
Leo McKern, whose Rumpole of the Bailey performances were produced in Britain between 1975 and 1992 and aired successfully on PBS, died at the age of 82, according to a New York Times obit.

Jul 23, 2002

More from Louis Rukeyser: I lost interest in Maryland Public TV when they ambushed me, he tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It's not dead yet: MetaFilter thread about NPR's "new" linking policy.
NPR technicians will vote Aug. 12 on a new union contract, the product of six months of negotiations. The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, which represents about 80 NPR techies, won some concessions from NPR on raises and jurisdictional issues, but not enough to endorse the contract, according to NABET-CWA staff rep Paula Olson. Technicians overwhelmingly defeated an earlier contract in January.

Jul 22, 2002

Of the networks, PBS had the most news Emmy nominations this year, Reuters reports on Yahoo.com.
Showtime cable network will docu-dramatize the saga of preteen reporters LeAlan and Lloyd Newman—Chicago kids who teamed with pubradio's David Isay and Gary Covino to sweep the awards with "Ghetto Life 101" in 1993 and "Remorse" in 1996. Our America comes to cable July 28, 30 and Aug. 2. [Current coverage of "Remorse."]
Radio World profiles technology at KUSC in Los Angeles and covers NPR's recent reorganizing of its cultural programming departments.
Frontline producer Ofra Bikel recently spoke with NPR about the importance of media access to prisoners. (RealAudio.) Another Frontliner, Lowell Bergman, tells MSNBC.com that the media, swept up in the glitz of the late-90s New Economy, handled business titans with kid gloves. "I can’t remember any billionaire who was criticized on 60 Minutes," he says. "Robert Maxwell, Donald Trump, Leona Helmsley, Jack Welch—they all got positive stories.”

Jul 21, 2002

Frontline won the Television Critics Association's news and information award this year, Zap2It.com reported.

Jul 19, 2002

After trying for seven years, Pittsburgh's WQED won FCC approval July 18 to sell its second public TV channel and raise money to get out of debt and go digital, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. [PDF file of FCC decision.] Diane Sutter, the broadcaster who will pay $20 million for the UHF channel, said in the Tribune-Review that the win was an example of persistence paying off. Jerry Starr, longtime opponent of the sale, said his group had not decided whether to appeal. [Current article about WQED's 2001 petition for dereservation]

Jul 15, 2002

Don't stick your mic in the turtle's butt. That and other bits of advice from NPR reporter John Burnett are intended for radio journalists, but many apply to other media as well.

Jul 12, 2002

The new hosts of Wall Street Week lack the stage presence and rigor of Louis Rukeyser, even though the veteran host's delivery on CNBC is stodgy and predictable, writes Slate's reviewer. The Wall Street Journal's critic says the new WSW is "achingly dull--rather like a dinner made up only of broccoli and undressed arugula."
Chicago's WBEZ might assume management of Loyola University's WLUW, according to a Sun-Times report.
Sesame Street plans to introduce an HIV-positive Muppet character to the cast of its South African program and is discussing a similar move in the U.S., the Washington Post reports. Current earlier reported on other big changes made to the U.S. show.
Folks at the community weblog MetaFilter are discussing the NPR anthrax story muddle, with a Fox News report as a starting point.
A Pennsylvania court sentenced appraiser/dealer Russell Pritchard to a year in jail and repayment of $830K defrauded through his appearances on PBS's Antiques Roadshow, the New York Times reported (second item). [Earlier Current articles on his firing by WGBH in 2000 and indictment in 2001.]

Jul 11, 2002

At July 10's House hearing, NPR President Kevin Klose offered his personal and professional apology to the Traditional Values Coalition for a news segment that linked the Christian organization to the anthrax investigation, Variety reports (see Current's earlier report on the flap).
Read a suite of dispatches from a conference on public radio talk shows, held in April.
A New York Times critic lauds tonight's report from Iraq by Gwynne Roberts as "the timeliest possible beginning to Wide Angle," a new PBS foreign affairs series. [The program's website.]

Jul 10, 2002

The L.A. Times profiles public radio's Studio 360, which host Kurt Andersen says goes beyond high culture to show us the art "on TV and in our bathrooms." [Current profiled the show last summer.]
Staci Kramer of the Online Journalism Review supports NPR's new linking policy—with a few reservations. [Read the Current story about the debate.]
LA Times critic Howard Rosenberg describes PBS's American Family as the best of television's new Latino family dramas: "It's rich and atmospheric, witty and a major tug on your heartstrings, all with no trace of phoniness. Your loss if you're missing it."
The conflict between NPR and the Traditional Values Coalition is on the agenda of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing today at 10 on Capitol Hill. [Current report on the affair.] It's unlikely the committee will avoid the topic with both Andrea Lafferty of the conservative group and NPR President Kevin Klose as witnesses. Also up: the heads of CPB, PBS, APTS, WNYC and cable exec Michael Willner of Insight Communications, who has in the past objected to extensive DTV carriage demands by broadcasters.

Jul 9, 2002

Ken Burns brags the sound will be so good on the forthcoming digitally remastered version of The Civil War that "when you see Pickett's Charge, it will rearrange your molecules," he told Gail Shister of the Philadelphia Inquirer. His next bio topics: Horatio Nelson Jackson, who won a bet in 1903 by driving coast to coast in less than 90 days (voice by Tom Hanks) and boxing champ Jack Johnson (voice by Samuel Jackson).
The secretary of Pacifica's board has asked the network to renegotiate its freshly-inked contract with the show Democracy Now!. Carol Spooner alleges that the contract, which establishes Democracy Now! as a self-owned production company independent from Pacifica, was signed prematurely and could hurt the network financially.
Nearly half of PBS's member station broadcast Louis Rukeyser's new CNBC series, but public TV officials reject suggestions that these stations are rebelling against changes to his long-running PBS show, Wall Street Week. Rukeyser is still angry about his abrupt departure from the PBS series.

Jul 8, 2002

Teens take control on 2K Nation, a new show on the Washington, D.C. Pacifica affiliate WPFW.

Jul 3, 2002

A New York Times critic says the PBS four-parter series Great Projects, starting tonight, will impress viewers with the foresight of big-thinking civil engineers and the politicians that back them but nevertheless fails to persuade that Michael Dukakis was a swashbuckling hero.

Jul 2, 2002

Katie Davis, formerly of NPR, appears today in a Washington Post column, talking about the Washington, D.C. park where she spends a lot of time. Settling with NPR yielded "her retirement fund," she says.

Jul 1, 2002

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin summarizes the flap over the network's linking policies in his latest "Media Matters" column.
On a second try, BBC is seen likely to win regulatory approval for BBC3, a new British TV channel for ages 25-34, says the Guardian in London.

Jun 28, 2002

Cory Doctorow, NPR's principal critic during this whole linking debacle, still finds plenty to dislike about NPR's revised policy. The latest article in Wired also includes some of his comments.
WFUV's folkie listeners and the New York Botanical Garden's orchid-lovers conflicted politely at yesterday's FCC hearing in the Bronx, giving the New York Times lots of material for cultural stereotyping. The issue: WFUV's half-built tower, which the Garden says ruins the skyline. Herewith: WFUV's side and the Garden's side. Nothing about the tower has been easy: its federal subsidy was held up by First Amendment issues.

Jun 27, 2002

Responding to widespread criticism (see posts below), NPR revised its linking policy today. You no longer need to request permission to link to its site. But NPR still seeks to bar framing of its pages, and says it reserves the right to withdraw permission for any link.
Charlie Rose had open-heart surgery June 25 to repair a faulty valve, reports USA Today. The talk-show host could be back to work within a week, says his exec producer (second item).

Jun 26, 2002

With CPB money, WNET launches African American World, a website about the AfAm experience that isn't an adjunct of any particular TV show. The site is planned so that other stations can integrate it into their websites.
Reacting to a Providence Journal editorial suggesting the merger of Rhode Island's WSBE with Boston's WGBH, Rhode Island pubcaster Susan Farmer says the Journal might as well be swallowed by the Boston Globe!
The Online Journalism Review joins in condemning NPR's linking policy. Also, BoingBoinger Cory Doctorow and NPR ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin both appeared on Minnesota Public Radio's Future Tense to discuss the controversy. (RealAudio required.)
Former U.S. Treasury Sec. Robert Rubin will be the first guest on MPT's newly revamped Wall Street Week with Fortune, says the L.A. Times.

Jun 25, 2002

A Baltimore Sun article attempts to capture the frantic activity behind the scenes at A Prairie Home Companion.
The Associated Press profiles Tavis Smiley, host of a new show on NPR.
As Maryland PTV readies its new Wall Street Week for debut on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reports that former host Louis Rukeyser has taken three of its four underwriters and kept airtime on public TV stations serving 60 percent of the population.
TV critic Tom Shales refuses to donate "money to a 'public' TV that has been privatized within an inch of its life," according to his Electronic Media column.
After its "Stupid Pills" wear off, PBS moves Masterpiece Theatre back to Sunday nights, says Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post.

Jun 24, 2002

Slate critic Virginia Heffernan on PBS's animated Sagwa: "Surprisingly, Sagwa gets away with refinement and high-mindedness . . ."
AP trumpets Ken Burns' new series of repeats on PBS Monday nights.
NPR will reconsider its linking policy in the wake of its widespread blogger-led condemnation.

Jun 21, 2002

KPFX is a new, Web-only Pacifica radio station, cousin to KPFK in Los Angeles. (Via Walker, below.)
Jesse Walker, writing in Salon, updates us on nascent efforts within the Pacifica network to revitalize its five stations.

Jun 20, 2002

Have you linked to NPR's website without permission? You'll have to "live with the guilt forever," NPR ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin tells Wired. (Update: The Poynter Institute's Steve Outing joins the tide regarding the linking policy. His verdict: stupid.)

Jun 19, 2002

Bloggers galore are thumbing their noses at NPR and violating its anti-linking policy. (See entry below.) Here's a list of who's doing it. (Update: the spanking continues ad infinitum at Slashdot.) (Via randomWalks.)
Cory at the exemplary weblog Boing Boing has a beef or two with NPR's linking policy.

Jun 17, 2002

Michael Apted, a British director whose excellent 7 Up series of documentaries has aired on PBS stateside, moves to A&E for his new project Married In America.
The layoffs keep coming. KERA-TV/FM in Dallas cut almost a quarter of its staff (36 employees) and cancelled a radio talk show Thursday, according to a DallasNews.com report.

Jun 14, 2002

NPR deserves credit for aggressively covering foreign news even as other news outlets scale back overseas, writes network ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin in his latest "Media Matters" column.
NPR's Daniel Schorr will commemorate the 30th anniversary of Watergate by hosting a series of specials next week, according to the Buffalo News.
Life 360 takes its second shot at finding an audience in new episodes airing this summer, Elizabeth Jensen reports in the L.A. Times.

Jun 13, 2002

Public radio producer Nancy Updike writes up "National Corporate Radio," a shrill spoof of NPR, in the LA Weekly. (Via MediaNews.)

Jun 12, 2002

Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) introduced the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DOIT) June 11. Modeled on a proposal by Larry Grossman and Newton Minow, it would invest proceeds from spectrum auctions into an educational trust fund (bill text). Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) offered a similar bill last month (bill text).
In a USA Today op-ed, Pat Mitchell challenges the 18-34 demo to turn off Fear Factor and Survivor and turn on TV that informs and inspires.
WHYY laid off ten employees last week, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report. President Bill Marrazzo said the cuts will offset rising membership dues to NPR and PBS. (Second item.)
Public broadcasting might draw accusations of liberal bias, but a new Pew Research Center report says conservatives take in more PBS and NPR programming than liberals do, according to The Washington Times. (Second item.)
Daljit Dhaliwal of ITN has signed with CNN, where she'll anchor World News, reports The Guardian. (That little pic of Dhaliwal comes from The Unofficial Daljit Dhaliwal Appreciation Page, which has links to other coverage of the CNN signing, as well as a "SimDaljit" you can download for the Sims computer game.)

Jun 11, 2002

"What's up with WYMS?" is a site devoted to the embattled Milwaukee radio station.
Raquel Welch (born Jo-Raquel Tejada) is "strutting her ethnicity" for the first time in the PBS drama American Family.

Jun 10, 2002

Public broadcasting is getting more corporate, says the Washington Times.
The proliferation of kids' media and new thinking about how children watch TV have forced Sesame Street to catch up with the times, says a New York Times piece. (Related Current article, 11/19/01.)
The FCC will hold two open meetings June 27 to hear public comment about WFUV-FM's plans to shorten its broadcasting tower to keep it near the New York Botanical Garden. 'FUV and the Garden have been fighting over the tower's location for six years, according to 'FUV's website. Here's the FCC's announcement in PDF, text and Word formats.
The Yiddish Radio Project has started a "Gems from the Yiddish Radio Archive" feature on its website, a 26-week series of classic archived broadcasts. (Current's write-up of the Project, 2/11/02.)
Chicago's WTTW-TV laid off fifteen employees last week, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report. The station faces a $3.4 million shortfall in next year's budget, the story says.
Michigan Radio and Flint's WFUM-TV have merged to become Michigan Public Media. Donovan Reynolds, former Michigan Radio g.m., will lead the operation. Five staffers (four in radio, one in TV) have lost their jobs.
The L. A. Times profiles Eva Georgia, new g.m. of L. A. Pacifica station KPFK.

Jun 6, 2002

There's new stuff up at WYMS.org, which, oddly enough, is registered to Milwaukee Public Schools.
An Oregonian report says Oregon Public Broadcasting cut about 24 jobs—15 percent of its staff—yesterday, in response to the weak economy. Several higher-ups were included. (More coverage in the Portland Tribune.)
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer couldn't keep his NPR sweatshirt (and why was the network giving him one, anyway?). So who has it now? (Second item.)
CPB was a lead funder of the report on schools and the Internet, "Are We There Yet?," released yesterday by the National School Boards Foundation. Primo soundbite on NPR jibed the schools for depending heavily on kids for computer setup and troubleshooting. Schools use the Web mostly for teachers' research and lesson planning, very little for students' work, report says.

Jun 5, 2002

Maryland PTV hires "media crisis manager," who formerly repped for Linda Tripp. Baltimore Sun stopped taking his pitches after he passed the paper bad information in fall 2000.

Jun 4, 2002

"Could it be that [Bill] O'Reilly is living up to the old reporter's saw of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story?" So asks NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin in his latest "Media Matters" column, which addresses the perennial complaint that NPR is too left-wing. (O'Reilly in Current, 3/25/02.)

Jun 3, 2002

WBUR in Boston is only one of a number of news outlets targeted for boycott by pro-Israel press critics, as reported in "Current" June 3. Brooke Gladstone of "On the Media" talked with a critic of newspaper coverage -- and with a Jewish journalist uneasy with the idea of boycotts.
St. Petersburg Times pictures new Tampa station chief Richard Lobo as a turnaround expert at a station that needs a turnaround. The paper reported that WEDU No. 2 exec Elsie Garner is leaving as Lobo arrives.

May 31, 2002

Bill O'Reilly of Fox News won't stop whuppin' on NPR, so NPR whups back. (Low in column.)

May 29, 2002

May 22, 2002

NPR's On the Media to Fox News star Bill O'Reilly: Stop complaining! You're invited!

May 21, 2002

Frontline/World aims to target younger audiences with a fast-moving mix of international reporting.

May 20, 2002

Jim Lehrer on ABC's thwarted move to oust Nightline: it may be time for the commercial networks to get out of the news business.

May 14, 2002

Nina Totenberg tells the Buffalo News she's turned down TV anchor jobs (including at CNN) to stay on her Supreme Court beat at NPR.

May 13, 2002

PBS prez Pat Mitchell tells the L.A. Times she "had no idea how hard it was going to be."
Public radio's Sonic Memorial Project has an online home.

May 10, 2002

Did NPR's Tavis Smiley play hardball to get Bill Clinton on his show? (Next to last item.)

Mar 21, 2002

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Maryland Public Television and Fortune might bounce Louis Rukeyser from Wall Street Week.
NPR listeners have launched an Internet campaign to "Bring Back Linda" Wertheimer.

Mar 20, 2002

Hardball host Chris Matthews has apologized for dissing Jim Lehrer.

Mar 19, 2002

Glenn Heller, a devoted critic of Albany's WAMC-FM, maintains an extensive collection of articles about the station at wamc.net. (Note: the enterprising Heller also owns the domains wgbh.net and wqed.net!)
The Berkshire Eagle has picked up Current's Feb. 25 story about the public TV series Visionaries.
Want to see how multi-channel digital terrestrial radio could work--if it ever becomes a reality? (As it stands, NPR is one of the few broadcasters pushing for the standard to include multicasting.) NPR commissioned Impulse Radio to create this demo to show how a listener could select either a music or talk stream on a digital radio. Clicking the link launches a download of the file.

Mar 18, 2002

Has NPR adequately addressed complaints over a report on anthrax investigations that mentioned the Traditional Values Coalition? NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin weighs in.
There's now a website for the Public Radio Collaboration, formerly known as the Mega Project. This year's collaboration will focus on the events and aftermath of September 11.
The latest Harper's features an article by independent public radio producer Scott Carrier about post-Taliban Afghanistan, and Hearing Voices adds to it with pics and audio. (Warning: the first picture displayed depicts a dead man.)
Minnesota Public Radio responds to a snarky take on it in the Feb. 20 City Pages.
Over the weekend the Washington Post and New York Times both ran articles about public radio's "Yiddish Radio Project," which starts tomorrow on All Things Considered.

Mar 14, 2002

Former CNN Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno is collaborating with George Mason University, where he recently accepted a teaching position, and WETA-TV on developing a weekly local public affairs series.
The University of Kansas has withdrawn an invitation to have historian and NewsHour contributor Doris Kearns Goodwin speak ... (Topeka Capital-Journal)