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Dec 29, 2003

Common Cause last week criticized the appointment of big Republican donors Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines to the CPB Board. Chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Halpern, with her family, has given more than $324,000 to GOP candidates and committees since 1989, Common Cause said. Gaines and family have given nearly $492,000 to national GOP candidates and committees since then. Halpern, who stirred fears of political meddling with her remarks at her confirmation hearing, was okayed by the Senate in December after the White House appointed her during a congressional recess last year. President Bush gave Gaines a recess appointment this month, along with Claudia Puig, a Miami broadcaster and Republican donor, according to the Washington Post.

Dec 24, 2003

The public TV operation in Richmond, Va., Community Idea Stations, will devote the early afternoon of its second over-the-air channel to state Senate coverage starting in mid-January. WCVW, which would ordinarily air PBS Kids, will return to the air in January after being sidelined by a transmitter failure in February 2003. The station ordered a low-power analog transmitter in the summer.
Starting in January NPR will distribute Creators at Carnegie -- a 13-part “genre-busting” series based on a concert series of Nonesuch Records artists performing at Carnegie Hall. Artists range from the Kronos Quartet to Emmylou Harris and Youssou N’Dour.
After accepting the KOCE Foundation’s bid for the Orange County public TV station, Coast Community College District greatly reduced the effective price, forgiving 30 years of interest payments and making other concessions, the Los Angeles Times reported. (Via AP.)

Dec 23, 2003

The Village Voice declares Now with Bill Moyers one of television's top achievements in 2003. (Via randomWalks.)
Noncoms KPLU, WXPN and WBUR are among webcasts with the highest TSL ratings for the week of Dec. 1, as ranked by Arbitron.

Dec 22, 2003

Public radio's Jim Nayder talks annoying holiday music with Newsweek. Most annoying perennial: "The one song that seems to stand the test of time is Tiny Tim's 'O Holy Night.'"
The Washington Post's ombudsman examines his paper's coverage of the WAMU crisis.

Dec 18, 2003

After steering KCTS through a major downsizing, interim chief Bill Mohler agreed to lead the station as its permanent president, reports the Seattle Times. "What happened is you get caught up in it with the people side," Mohler told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "You have a collection of some of the most creative people that I've met in my entire life that are working here ... and it was their jobs on the line."
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin defends his network's coverage of the capture of Saddam Hussein, which angered some listeners by interrupting their Sunday morning routines.

Dec 17, 2003

Intel is developing technology that could improve the quality of large-screen digital televisions and substantially lower their price, reports the New York Times.
NPR newswoman Peggy Girshman writes about the net's cookie mafia in the Washington Post.

Dec 16, 2003

Radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera have introduced music lovers and opera stars alike to the genre, reports the New York Times (registration required). ChevronTexaco's decision to stop backing the broadcasts has put their future in doubt.
It's been nearly 10 years since the infamous O.J. Simpson low-speed car chase, and L.A. TV stations have made recording such pursuits a staple of their news coverage. TelevisionWeek borrows from This American Life to recall one of the stranger examples.
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly features prominently in a TelevisionWeek story about how TV news covers religion in the post 9/11 era.

Dec 15, 2003

How about a glass of NPR wine? The New York Times reports that the net will partner with Signature Wines, a company that offers custom labeling for businesses and individuals, to promote its NPR wine club.

Dec 12, 2003

Monkey reminds you that Joan Kroc's gift to NPR doesn't excuse you from supporting your local station. "now, what i want to know is, what did mrs. kroc's estate get as a member incentive? millions of npr coffee mugs? carl kassel recording me [a] message on their answering machine? a tub of mama stamberg's cranberry relish?" Monkey's site also features some pics of KERA p.d. Abby Goldstein.
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin addresses NPR's online underwriting and possible e-mail e-litism in his latest Media Matters column.

Dec 11, 2003

"It was clear to us then that PBS could not retreat from Death of a Princess without compromising the integrity and independence of the network," recall Larry Grossman and Newton Minow in Columbia Journalism Review. The former PBS leaders compare their handling of the controversial PBS docudrama with CBS's cancellation of The Reagans.
Classical Public Radio Network host Mark Sheldon died Monday of cancer. More from Colorado Public Radio.
Tavis Smiley says in the New York Daily News that listeners complained when he enlisted the conservative J.C. Watts to provide commentaries. "I had people demanding to know if I'd lost my mind," he says. "But my belief is we need to hear and examine different perspectives, not just our own."

Dec 10, 2003

Tavis Smiley's criticism of Washington's WAMU hasn't helped his chances of being heard in the nation's capital, reports the Baltimore Sun. "There are ways to court program managers other than to complain in the media," says a station spokeswoman. [Earlier coverage in Current.]
In the same Geneva conference center where Internet summit participants are fighting over political control of the Web, broadcasters are holding their own summit, where they claim to be dealing with more significant issues, AP reported. Along with the BBC and many national nets, Pacifica's WBAI sent a rep.

Dec 8, 2003

Independent Lens is crafting an interactive version of its documentary series for the American Film Institute's Enhanced TV Workshop, reports the New York Times. Interactive TV could "attract additional tech-savvy viewers who are hungry for more information, and don't like to be passive when they watch," says Lois Vossen, a producer with ITVS.
Examine WAMU's budget and "there are no thousand-dollar designer trash cans lurking in the numbers, no junkets to Caribbean islands, nothing that smacks of illegality or unethical spending," reports the Washington Post. Instead the numbers reveal how an ambitious strategic plan failed to produce the results station leaders had hoped for.
German public television is defending two of its cultural channels from politicians' proposal that they be merged to save money, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported. Public TV is seeking to increase the tax on TV sets 6 percent to 17 euros ($21) a month.
Some Vermonters want their state public radio network to carry Democracy Now!, but the network's president says the show won't air because of its brand of advocacy journalism, reports the Rutland Herald. Other public radio managers say their listeners have been spearheading similar campaigns.
Virginia and the District of Columbia have begun to compete for the site of PBS headquarters, the Washington Business Journal reported. PBS's lease in Alexandria, Va., expires in 2006.

Dec 5, 2003

The Berkshire Eagle criticizes Bill Moyers for his Nov. 28 interview with Jim Bouton, former major league baseball pitcher and author who battled the newspaper over preservation of an old baseball park in Pittsfield, Mass. During the same broadcast, Moyers delivered an essay tying Bouton's experience in a one-newspaper town to the dangers of media consolidation [Via thetip.org].

Dec 4, 2003

New York's WNET is looking for a few good donors, reports the Daily News. The station needs cash to digitally restore some of its most valuable programming, including "American Family" (1973) and "The Great American Dream Machine" (1971-72).
The Annenberg Foundation has given $3.5 million to the Metropolitan Opera to help keep the company's weekly broadcasts on the air, reports the New York Times (reg. req.). ChevronTexaco withdrew its support for the Met earlier this year.

Dec 3, 2003

KGNU-FM in Boulder, Colo., is working with Public Radio Capital to help buy an AM signal in Denver.
Former Connection host Christopher Lydon has started a new weblog devoted to the 2004 presidential election.
Maryland Public Television's contracting and bonus practices came under fire in a report released yesterday by the state's legislative auditor, reports the Baltimore Sun.
The Baltimore Sun runs down the history behind Joan Kroc's $200 million gift to NPR.

Dec 2, 2003