Aug 31, 2005

Director Robert Altman is bringing his trademark improvisational style to the Prairie Home Companion-inspired film, Time reports. "When I go home at night, I know we've got something, but I don't know what," Altman says. "It's going to be a very weird movie."
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin questions whether Jonah Goldberg, a conservative commentator, was a suitable fill-in for Daniel Schorr on a recent Weekend Edition Saturday.
Here it is: public radio's new mega-directory of podcasts, at NPR's site. It should soon appear on other station and network sites.

Aug 30, 2005

"Journalism can teach you a lot about narrative and detail to carry a story. But a novel has to take on its own life," says Scott Simon as he discusses his new novel, Pretty Birds.
Listeners have been complaining that NPR is airing a glut of stories about religion, and Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin says the network should consider keeping track of the airtime devoted to the subject.

Aug 29, 2005

WLVT-TV in Bethlehem, Pa., is still looking to expand into radio, reports the Express-Times. An earlier effort to merge with nearby WDIY-FM failed last November.

Aug 22, 2005

Seattle's KEXP-FM reportedly plans to start broadcasting to cell phones and handheld organizers later this month, according to FMQB. (Via Technology360.)
Staff and fans of Cincinnati's WVXU-FM are mourning the station's switch to an all-news format under its new owner, WGUC-FM. "This is like a family member passing away," an employee tells the Cincinnati Enquirer. (More coverage in the Cincinnati Post.)

Aug 19, 2005

CPB is looking for an African-American market-research company to help develop public radio programming for black audiences. Proposals are due Sept. 13.
Garrison Keillor has quietly begun Literary Friendships, a series of recorded conversations in which American writers discuss their friendships with one another. Guests have included Robert Bly, Michael Chabon and Sandra Cisneros.

Aug 18, 2005

Chicago's WTTW and CPB will join PBS in leading pubTV's Ready to Learn grant projects. For the first year, they received a total of $23.2 million from the Department of Education, CPB said yesterday. The joint Literacy 360 project of CPB and PBS got $15.8 million for programming and outreach, aiming to measurably improve the reading of kids from low-income families. WTTW got $4 million to co-produce a children's series, Word World. Grant-seekers scrambled after the department announced that the funding would be split among grantees and not entrusted entirely to PBS.

Aug 16, 2005

After fining broadcasters $8 million for indecency in 2004, the FCC has slacked off in recent months, but Mediaweek reporter Todd Shields told On the Media that the regulators are just gearing up to attack again [mp3 audio file]. New Chairman Kevin Martin recently hired an indecency advisor, Penny Nance, a Christian activist for kid-safe media.
Penn State's pubTV and radio stations in Happy Valley dedicate their new building Sept. 8 and the TV station adopts the radio station's call letters in October, moving from WPSX to WPSU. The combo shares a 96,000-square-foot building at the Innovation campus with the university's continuing education, online World Campus and other outreach activities.

Aug 15, 2005

Public radio "just isn't set up for innovation and it isn't set up to cultivate new ideas and it isn't set up to cultivate the next generation of things. And it seems like a waste to me," says Ira Glass to the CJR Daily.
WUKY-FM in Lexington, Ky., restored Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac to the air Friday, shortly after canceling the segment because of concerns about "decency." The station's manager "may now have discovered that playing it safe is the most unsafe thing an educational station manager can do," say two commentators with ties to Kentucky ETV.
Public Radio International will furnish Duke University with digital versions of some of its shows for use in classes, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Aug 9, 2005

Democracy Now host Amy Goodman and her brother, David, have asked that the New York Times and a late reporter, William L. Laurence, be stripped of a Pulitzer Prize. They charge that Laurence delivered biased reporting on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while on the U.S. military's payroll.
Radio researcher Mark Ramsey warns against overusing digital radio for the creation of new formats: "Just because we can thin-slice a format into skinnier niches doesn’t mean we should."
Marketplace will increase reporting on global sustainability and the economy with a $2.1 million grant from the Tides Foundation. The money will also support coverage on other American Public Media programs.
A Los Angeles Times story lays bare Ira Glass's struggle to bring his radio show to television: "Time and again, Glass seemed unable to reconcile himself with the pace of a TV story — in which the mind reads images faster than the speed of a narrator, leaving him no room to do what he knows best."
Dick Gordon, former host of public radio's The Connection, writes in the Boston Globe on the show's last day: "I'm still bewildered as to why the program was canceled." "We have lost an important set of voices -- actual conversations about important topics," writes a fan in a letter to the Globe.
Public TV's Now hired Maria Hinojosa as senior correspondent. Hinojosa will continue hosting public radio's Latino USA.
Chicago's WBEZ declined to sell underwriting to a local Air America affiliate, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Ken Tomlinson's chairmanship of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, overseer of VOA and other overseas broadcast units, compares with his guidance of CPB, writes Franklin Foer in The New Republic Aug. 15 issue -- asserting that both are marked by partisan purges, ideological hirings and closed meetings. NPR's David Folkenflik filed a similar report for NPR in June. Both Foer and Folkenflik refer to the Foreign Affairs magazine article by Sanford Ungar [partial article online], a former VOA director and ATC co-host who is now president of Goucher College in Baltimore. Tomlinson and criticized VOA Director David S. Jackson respond to Ungar's article here.

Aug 8, 2005

Three journalists quit a health program project at Connecticut PTV after top managers pressed them to interview execs of a hospital that partially funded the project, the Hartford Courant reported today [image of front page]. The Courant launched its critique of CPT yesterday with a piece criticizing its reduced local programming and the management of President Jerry Franklin. The newspaper points to Pittsburgh's WQED as a station of similar size with more local production. No gloves are laid upon the Connecticut network's radio wing.
Iowa's Board of Regents hired Cindy Browne as the first executive director of Iowa Public Radio today. Browne, a Minneapolis consultant, longtime exec of Twin Cities PTV and later executive v.p. of CPB, competed for the job against John Stark, g.m. of KNAU-FM, Flagstaff, Ariz. The candidates visited Iowa campuses during the unusually public hiring process. Stations at three universities are combining to create the new network.

Aug 3, 2005

The FCC granted a request by the Station Resource Group to extend the deadline for filing comments on its proposed low-power FM rulemaking. (PDFs.) SRG said the added time would allow member stations to discuss the rulemaking in San Diego this week at its annual retreat.
Even Brenda Starr is taking note of the CPB flap.

Aug 1, 2005

Audience share for WETA-FM in Washington, D.C., has dropped from a year ago, reports the Washington Times. The station changed to an all-news format in February. WAMU-FM's share was identical in spring 2004 and spring 2005.
Tavis Smiley addresses the debate about balance in public broadcasting: "While Washington talks about ideological balance, Americans hunger to see programming that reflects their experience and inspires their lives."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer checks on WCPN-FM/WVIZ-TV four years after the stations merged and finds low morale and a struggling news department on the radio side, according to some accounts. "The feeling was that TV management, which basically took over, didn't understand how public radio was done successfully," says a former WCPN reporter.