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Nov 29, 2004

Tavis Smiley will leave his NPR show Dec. 16. In an e-mail to stations, he appears to blame NPR for failing "to meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio, but simply don't know it exists or what it offers."
Milwaukee's school board voted unanimously last week to outsource management of WYMS, their noncommercial station, to local nonprofit Radio For Milwaukee.
"The common thread for us is secrets, that sense of revelation," says Kitchen Sister Nikki Silva in a New York Times profile.
A Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist draws a distinction between the "corporate" nature of Minnesota Public Radio and the "small, funky and extremely local" stations in the state that are banding together to raise their profile against MPR's.

Nov 24, 2004

"Just how many conservatives does it take to balance out one wily progressive?" asks the Village Voice as it observes Bill Moyers' departure from public TV. "And now that Moyers is gone, do they really need all this firepower to balance out . . . David Brancaccio?"
Vic Sussman, a longtime journalist and recently senior editor of Marketplace, died yesterday at the age of 65. The Washington Post remembers his curiosity and restlessness.

Nov 23, 2004

FCC Auction 37 has closed, with WGBH in Boston apparently the only pubcaster to emerge as a top bidder. The station is in line to pay more than $3.9 million for an FM signal on Cape Cod.

Nov 22, 2004

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz profiles NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin and also notes the growing audience of the network's On the Media (last item). (Via Romenesko.)
KPBS in San Diego begins broadcasting to Calexico, Calif., today on a newly acquired FM frequency. Calexico and the surrounding area formerly lacked an English-language public radio service, one of few such regions in the country.

Nov 19, 2004

FCC FM Auction 37 rolls on, and Boston's WGBH has the high bid of nearly $4 million on a channel in Brewster, Mass. Most other pubcasters have been knocked out of the bidding. Meanwhile, at least two pubcasters — WKGC in Panama City, Fla., and Unalaska Community Broadcasting in Unalaska, Alaska — are likely to get AM stations in FCC AM Auction 84. Forms are due Jan. 18.
Radio for Milwaukee, a nonprofit, is expected to get approval from Milwaukee's school board to manage the school system's noncommercial FM station, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Nov 18, 2004

Two bidders in FCC Auction 37 are considering starting a public radio station in Marfa, Texas, reports the Odessa American.
Blogger Michael Petrelis learned that NPR news staffers Corey Flintoff and Michelle Trudeau donated to the campaigns of John Kerry and Howard Dean, violating NPR's ethics codes. In a response to Petrelis, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin addressed the issue in his latest online column, and the Chicago Reader takes it up as well. Meanwhile, NPR reporter Eric Weiner writes in the Christian Science Monitor that Palestinians should practice nonviolence. Other NPR reporters have previously sounded off on current events, raising questions about proper ethical conduct.
Garrison Keillor will launch Literary Friendships next year, a five-show series featuring writers who are friends talking about their work and relationships. Guests will include Sandra Cisneros, Michael Chabon and Robert Bly.
Bob Edwards tells the Boston Globe that he threatened to sue NPR over the network's suggestions that he was booted from Morning Edition because he declined to have a co-host. In fact, Edwards says, he was never offered the option. Newly installed at XM Radio, Edwards will visit Boston's WBUR tonight in celebration of Morning Edition's 25th anniversary.

Nov 17, 2004

"She’s not a lifestyle liberal," says PBS host Tucker Carlson of Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, who appeared on his show Friday. "She’s actually interested in reordering society. . . . I thought she was a good guest." Goodman, for her part, says she's "concerned about a right-wing takeover at PBS." Meanwhile, Barbara Streisand, or an electronic facsimile thereof, has plugged Democracy Now on her website.
The BBC said it replaced the late Alistair Cooke's Friday night Letter from America (at least temporarily) with A View from reports by correspondents in America, Australia, China, Brazil, South Africa, India and the Caribbean. The U.S. voice is Tim Egan, a New York Times reporter in Seattle. David Stewart describes Cooke's longtime weekly Letter.
"The Dead Hensons are a seven piece rock band exclusively covering the upbeat songs from early Jim Henson projects (mainly Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, and the Muppet Movie)." Via cheesedip.

Nov 16, 2004

Pop Vultures host Kate Sullivan announced on Transom.org and her weblog that her show's funders have decided to pull the plug. "The death of PV was due to a confluence of forces," she said. "It wasn't the weirdness of the show per se that killed it."
The New York Times reviews Afghanistan Unveiled, a film created by young Afghan women who were trained as video journalists after the fall of the Taliban. The documentary debuts tonight on PBS's Independent Lens.

Nov 15, 2004

WESU-FM, the student-run station at Wesleyan University, will simulcast some programming from WSHU-FM in Fairfield, Conn. Students had resisted the plan, but WESU's g.m. says that "our initial fears have been addressed to our satisfaction."

Nov 12, 2004

The University of North Dakota sold noncommercial KUND-AM to a Catholic broadcaster, reports the Grand Forks Herald.

Nov 11, 2004

Doug Bennet, president of Wesleyan University and a former president of NPR, has suggested that his school's freeform radio station simulcast a Fairfield NPR station during the day, reports the Hartford Courant. Students are protesting the idea and have presented their own proposal (Word document). (Read the university's press release.)

Nov 10, 2004

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin looks at the network's decision to remove All Things Considered host Michele Norris from recent political stories because her husband was an adviser to John Kerry's campaign. ". . . I worry that news organizations will in effect censor their own journalists because of what their partners and spouses do. It is dangerous because it infers that journalists are incapable of good journalism because of what their spouses and partners believe," he writes. (Via Romenesko.)
Broadcast news hosts using sentence fragments. A Chicago Tribune article takes note of this increasingly popular trend, which has at times swept up a few NPR anchors as well.
Microsoft expects Slate, its online magazine, will be sold by the end of the year, reports the Online Journalism Review. Media reports have named the Washington Post Co. as the likely buyer. NPR and Slate co-produce the network's Day to Day. (Via Romenesko.)

Nov 9, 2004

Pacifica has hired Roy Campanella II as g.m. of KPFA in Berkeley, Calif. The Internet Movie Database details Campanella's television career, which includes directing Baywatch, Knight Rider and Boston Public. Meanwhile, Pacifica announced the weekly audience of its five stations recently topped 1 million for the first time in the network's history.
Public radio stations in Minnesota not affiliated with Minnesota Public Radio have launched a marketing campaign to distance themselves from the megacaster, reports the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.
Boston University has concluded its investigation of WBUR-FM and found merit in some of the allegations leveled against the station and its former g.m., Jane Christo. Coverage in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

Nov 8, 2004

Sarah Vowell, whose voice can be heard in the new Pixar blockbuster The Incredibles, discusses her role with the Hollywood Reporter. "[I]t's a nice thing to be part of a juggernaut once in your life, especially when it's a really cool juggernaut like this," she says.

Nov 5, 2004

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin raises questions about the ties between the network's Day to Day and Slate in light of the Microsoft-owned mag's announcement that most of its staffers would vote for John Kerry. As Day to Day also noted, Slate joined other media outlets and bloggers in sharing exit-poll data on Election Day that at first favored Kerry to win. The Poynter Institute's Steve Outing and Online Journalism Review's Mark Glaser look at the use of these polls.
FCC Auction 37 began Nov. 3. You can follow it at this FCC site (follow the link to "Bidding System and Results"—the page can't be linked to directly). Earlier articles in Radio World summarized the bidding process and presented a nice map that shows where the frequencies at stake are located.
Citing declines in traditional revenue sources, KERA-TV/FM in Dallas announced job cuts and schedule changes that trim $1.1 million from its budget, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (Registration required.)
NPR has combined its operations and engineering departments and promoted longtime employee David Argentieri as their senior director, reports Radio World.
Congressmen from Hawaii have asked the FCC to expedite approval of a Hawaii Public Radio transmitter that would serve Maui, reports Pacific Business News.

Nov 4, 2004

"Focus requires discipline and, in this case, a painful choice." The New York Times is restructuring its TV unit and shuttering its production facility in lower Manhattan, according to an internal memo leaked to Romensko.
Two keynote speeches from a recent production workshop held by American Public Media's Classical Music Initiative are online.

Nov 3, 2004

NPR has hired David Folkenflik, media reporter at the Baltimore Sun, reports the Baltimore Business Journal (second item). (More in the Baltimore City Paper. Via Romenesko).

Nov 2, 2004

This winter, director Robert Altman will begin shooting a film version of A Prairie Home Companion, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. (Reg. req.) More in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post (fourth item), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (also, an interview with Altman), and the Associated Press.

Nov 1, 2004

"I may care who gets elected, but my show does not." The LA Times interviews David Brancaccio about succeeding Bill Moyers as host of Now. (Via Romenesko.)
The audience of Pacifica's WBAI-FM in New York rose 40 percent from spring to summer, reports the New York Daily News.