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Aug 31, 2004

Members of Azerbaijan's parliament and its national TV and radio council left last week to study public TV in the United States, Baku Today reported. The tour, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, will stop in D.C., Ohio, Texas and New York.

Aug 30, 2004

The New York Times reports on the tensions stations feel about competing against NPR for major donors, and against satellite radio for listeners.
Clear Channel is distributing programming from liberal network Air America in five cities, reports the New York Times. Though public radio could lose listeners to the format, San Diego public station KPBS-FM has sold underwriting to Clear Channel as it advertises the change. Also in the Times, more coverage of KGNU-FM's purchase of a station in Denver.
In the Boston Globe's take on PBS's Friday-night pundit zone, hard-core lefties and righties alike accuse pubTV of kissing up to Congress. PBS still speaks only of "diversity."

Aug 27, 2004

Aug 26, 2004

Retired PBS newsman Robert MacNeil discusses the sanguinary political landscape in today's San Franciso Chronicle, claiming, "Democrats want to see more blood flow from the arrows of journalists and Republicans want more red meat out there going after Democrats." MacNeil also derides the Fox News Channel and wonders if journalism is returning to its partisan roots. (via mediabistro.com)
Beat reporters can be "secret weapons" for online news sites when they prepare FAQs, primers and other nondeadline pieces that web users would love, writes Dan Froomkin in the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review. He's talking about newspaper reporters, but the same could be said about people on the beat for pubradio.
More coverage of KGNU-FM's purchase of a Denver AM station in Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Business Journal and the (Boulder, Colo.) Daily Camera.

Aug 25, 2004

Development Exchange Inc. has posted an overview and white papers from May's Public Radio Leadership Forum.
David Lieberman reports in USA Today the view of Wall Street analyst Tom Wolzien: cable networks won't take much more audience from broadcasters unless cable spends heavily for more attractive programs. Cable nets already increased spending 30 percent in three years, but Wolzien says growing cable carriage and not programs explain cable's growth.
Community station KGNU-FM in Boulder, Colo., is paying $4.1 million for an AM station in nearby Denver.

Aug 24, 2004

North Dakota's Prairie Public Television lost its transmitter near Devil's Lake in an ice storm last May and hopes to restore it by spring 2005, the Grand Forks Herald reports. The capital cost to restore service to 9,000 people: $2 million.

Aug 23, 2004

Responding to a listener's gripe, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin supports reporting results from Olympic competitions as they come in. NPR reporter Howard Berkes concurs in a Poynter Online interview: "Holding the news to meet the scheduling preferences of rights-holding broadcasters does a disservice to listeners."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette examines the growth of WYEP-FM and the related tensions between funky eclecticism and buttoned-up professionalism.
The Cincinnati Enquirer explains why Robin Gehl, p.d. at all-classical WGUC-FM, is known as the "velvet steamroller."

Aug 22, 2004

A former finance-office employee at WTTW in Chicago was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from the station, AP reported. Fe Corizon Cruz-Fabunan agreed to pay back $370,000. [Earlier Current story.]

Aug 18, 2004

American University defended the firing of Susan Clampitt in a response to the lawsuit filed by the former g.m. of WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C. The university also denied Clampitt's charges against it and its president, Benjamin Ladner.

Aug 17, 2004

The Washington Post's Marc Fisher takes a quick look at the operating costs of D.C.-area public radio stations.

Aug 16, 2004

Wal-Mart is salving its public-relations wounds by buying underwriting credits on KCET (The Tavis Smiley Show) in addition to NPR, which has been running blurbs for the big retailer since February, reports the New York Times (as reprinted in the Wilmington, N.C., Star-News).
A Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer questions whether Minnesota Public Radio needed to buy WCAL: "[I]t's hard to understand how a virtual MPR monopoly in the state is a positive."

Aug 13, 2004

Staff and volunteers at KPFA-FM in Berkeley, Calif., are accusing the station's recently elected Local Station Board of micromanagment and unmerited attacks on staff. (Related Berkeley Daily Planet article.) In a letter to listeners, Interim General Manager Jim Bennett warns that "[t]he progressive politics that are sometimes put forward on the air will not flourish in a repressive mode of trying to get certain agendas rammed through." Pacifica's bylaws, enacted last year, provided for the creation and election of LSBs. Meanwhile, Pacifica pointed out that three of its stations have weekly cumulative audiences that put them among the top 30 in the country.
In The Nation, Eric Alterman, author of What Liberal Media?, concludes the funding of PBS's Tucker Carlson and Wall Street Journal shows resulted from "naked political pressure" by "crybaby conservatives."
A University of Wisconsin study finds that media ownership by national conglomerates doesn't reduce local news coverage -- in quantity, at least.

Aug 11, 2004

This article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian explores KALW's FCC troubles and wonders why the city's commercial stations aren't being held to the same standard. The story, titled "Squashing David, ignoring Goliath," quotes FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, who said they are "troubled by the message we send when we send small, independent stations to hearings but give a pass to stations owned by larger media companies for troubling allegations."
The school board in Austin, Minn., approved transfer of public TV station KSMQ to a new community nonprofit, the Austin Daily Herald reported. Consultant Don Thigpen, former head of WCEU in Daytona Beach, Fla., is acting manager.
St. Olaf's College will sell WCAL to Minnesota Public Radio for $10.5 milliion, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The college founded an AM precursor to the FM classical music station more than 80 years ago. Last year the station had member revenues of $860,000 and aid of $130,000 from the college, but the college discontinued its assistance this year, according to the Twin Cities Business Journal.

Aug 10, 2004

The Cartoon Network will launch a new block of preschool programs that aims to be "fun, funny, and fearless." Humor is a "skill kids need to know," said Alice Cahn, v.p. of development and programming, a former director of children's programs at PBS.

Aug 6, 2004

The Wall Street Journal will produce a new Friday-night roundtable, Journal Editorial Report, for PBS starting Sept. 17, WNET announced. The show has major funding from CPB and will feature members of the paper's famously conservative editorial board. They won't be "lapdogs" for the Bush administration, WNET's Stephen Segaller told the Hollywood Reporter.
In Bethlehem, Pa., the Lehigh Valley's public TV and radio stations, WLVT and WDIY, are talking merger, the Morning Call reports.
Martha Stewart Living will offer public TV stations a new half-hour program sharing the name of its Everyday Food magazine, WETA announced this week. Stewart's company, struggling to reestablish itself with its founder going to jail, lost $19 million in the second quarter, according to TheStreet.com.

Aug 3, 2004

Bob Wright, NBC Universal c.e.o. and now talent spotter, answered an indie dream by picking a documentary on capital punishment out of the Sundance Festival lineup and buying it for network broadcast, the New York Times reported. "Deadline" aired July 30 on NBC's Dateline. Kirsten Johnson, co-director and cinematographer for the doc, has run camera for several PBS programs.