Apr 27, 2006
Consultant Robert Paterson shares some thoughts about public radio's New Realities forum, which takes place Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C. "For many who will attend, the issue is much more than the survival and health of public radio but the survival of the last large media space in America that can be trusted," he writes.
Posted by Mike at 10:57 AM
Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media said yesterday it's creating a new Center for Innovation in Journalism, which will further develop its Public Insight Journalism system. APM's national programs are now starting to use PIJ after three years' development at MPR. In a Nieman Foundation report (PDF) last year, Michael Skoler, the MPR news exec who will direct the new center, described the system that uses Internet and database technologies to gather a large pool of volunteer news sources. MPR raised $2.25 million for the project in its capital campaign and topped the new wing of its St. Paul headquarters with a meeting room designed for in-person gatherings of PIJ sources. Skoler looks at the system's practical benefits for reporters in Current's May 1 issue.
Posted by Steve at 9:26 AM
Apr 26, 2006
Apr 25, 2006
Joel Achenbach, a sometime science writer for the Washington Post and National Geographic, is spring cleaning his old files. He ponders a file about Carl Sagan, the late astronomer and PBS star, plunders some good quotes and (this is not a surprise ending) decides to keep Sagan around.
Posted by Steve at 3:07 PM
Earlier this month, PBS apparently strapped webcams onto several cows and launched MooTube, a bovine blog and video site promoting WNET's Texas Ranch House, set to debut May 1. "Ladies and gentleman, it is now official . . . the Internet is a wasteland," wrote TV blogger Richard Keller. "And, you can thank the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) for making it so." Less cynical reactions at Broadcasting & Cable and the Washington Times, among other outlets.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 11:03 AM
PBS has tapped SES AMERICOM to provide the satellite network for the PBS Next Generation Interconnection System, the network announced Monday. The current public TV interconnection system uses SES AMERICOM satellites as well. The NGIS, which will move the system from traditional program stream broadcasting to digital, non-real-time program file delivery, is scheduled to go into service later this year.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 10:44 AM
Apr 24, 2006
CPB has issued a Request for Proposals for a study that will analyze coverage and interference issues related to HD Radio. "CPB is concerned with the disenfranchisement of listeners due to the loss of services public radio currently provides to them and the underperformance or lack of HD service (i.e., technical availability) when the conversion of public radio stations to HD is complete," the RFP says.
Posted by Mike at 4:55 PM
National pubcasting orgs launched a website earlier this month designed to generate grassroots support as the system tries to stave off proposed federal funding cuts, reports the New York Times. In its first week, the website, www.tellthempublicmatters.org, generated "a couple thousand" e-mail messages to Congress from 39 states, said Mike Riksen, NPR's v.p. for government relations.
Posted by Steve at 3:03 PM
Todd Mundt reviews Gather and Public Action, two public radio web services that aim to bring listeners together and solicit content from them. One comment: "In talking to some people in pubradio about Gather I’ve consistently heard two things: it doesn’t feel like public radio; and a lot of the stuff that users submit isn’t that good." (Coverage in Current, April 2006 and September 2005.)
Posted by Mike at 10:26 AM
Koahnic Broadcast Corp. in Anchorage, Alaska, has received CPB funding to handle program distribution for public radio's Native stations (press release, PDF). Native American Public Telecommunications in Lincoln, Neb., has until now served as the primary distributor of Native programming.
Posted by Mike at 9:55 AM
Apr 21, 2006
Trustees of Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas, have unanimously approved selling the college's noncommercial FM station to the Educational Media Foundation for $2.46 million, reports the Longview News-Journal. The other top bidder, NPR affiliate Red River Radio in Shreveport, La., could only offer less than half of the religious broadcaster's winning bid. Kilgore's president says the university wanted to pursue "the greater dollar value." (Kilgore College press release.)
Posted by Mike at 11:54 AM
Broadcast Electronics will provide program-associated data for XPoNential Radio, the Triple A-formatted stream that NPR offers for digital multicasting, reports Radio World. Information about artists and song titles will be disseminated via Internet.
Posted by Mike at 11:36 AM
Apr 20, 2006
Longtime public radio producer and program creator Jim Russell is leaving American Public Media and setting up shop independently as "The Program Doctor."
Posted by Mike at 11:16 AM
Apr 19, 2006
Daniel Ash, Chicago Public Radio's v.p. of communications, talks with Chicagoist about the broadcaster's upcoming format changes. "Our aim is to develop a service that is highly localized and a reflection of the Chicago area, which would include music," Ash says. Chicagoist, a local blog, was critical of the changes, as was this opinionator in the Chicago Tribune. But Trib blogger Steve Johnson offered words of praise.
Posted by Mike at 10:46 AM
Apr 18, 2006
Apr 17, 2006
Apr 13, 2006
The New York Times has opted to sell its 50 percent stake in the Discovery Times Channel back to Discovery Communications Inc., ending its three-year-old partnership with cable network, the New York Observer reports (see earlier post). In a conference call announcing its first quarter earnings, Times CEO Janet Robinson told analysts today that the company will shift its focus to short-form programming for distribution on its recently redesigned website. "Advertisers are really coveting that," she said (via Romenesko). The Times previously partnered with a variety of public TV shows, such as Frontline, Now with Bill Moyers, Nova and The NewsHour.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 1:33 PM
The former development director of Ann Arbor's Michigan Radio pleaded no contest yesterday to a charge of embezzling from the station. The Detroit News reports that two other defendants, including the current g.m. of WDET-FM in Detroit, pleaded not guilty. News of the crimes did not appear to affect Michigan Radio's spring fund drive, reports the Free Press, though pledges are down at WDET. A station exec attributes the drop to a recent format change. (Additional coverage in the Free Press.)
Posted by Mike at 9:27 AM
Apr 12, 2006
Some analysts believe that public radio has benefited from Howard Stern's move to satellite radio, which left some former listeners looking for other earthbound alternatives, reports Reuters.
Posted by Mike at 8:38 PM
Apr 11, 2006
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin reviews his network's new blog: "NPR has a well-deserved but perhaps overstated reputation for reporting the news with great seriousness, so the initial impressions one gets from reading 'Mixed Signals' are: 1) Why didn't NPR do this sooner? and 2) Who knew that the news organization with a reputation of earnestness could be so whimsical?" Dvorkin also reveals that he declined a request to turn his column into a blog.
Posted by Mike at 4:40 PM
IT Conversations is auctioning a month-long sponsorship of the podcast of Tech Nation, a show that also airs on public radio stations. Bidding opens today at $12,000. (Via Technology360.)
Posted by Mike at 9:58 AM
Apr 10, 2006
Consultant John Sutton plays down the hype around podcasting. "Even at 10 times the current number of downloads, podcasting will have a minimal effect on the size of the traditional public radio audience. The more immediate issue facing public radio is the long-term collective effect of podcasting, satellite radio, and soon, wireless broadband."
Posted by Mike at 10:07 AM
Apr 7, 2006
Apr 6, 2006
Apr 5, 2006
McSweeney's presents "A Rejected Submission to NPR's 'This I Believe.'" Money line: "But then you realize your bat does, in fact, suck."
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 1:49 PM
PBS's winners in the 65th annual Peabody Awards include documentaries presented by American Experience, P.O.V. and American Masters. Also: the international co-productions of Bleak House, recently broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre, and a Nature film that debuts this Sunday.
Posted by Karen at 12:38 PM
The New York Times might sell its stake in the Discovery Times channel, a joint venture with Discovery Communications, the New York Observer reports. Web video will have a larger presence on the Times redesigned website, which debuted this week, and some within the paper are reportedly unsatisfied with the Discovery channel's home in the cable "exurbs," the Observer reports. “We have a position on the dial you couldn’t find with a Sherpa,” one Times staffer said.
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 12:37 PM
Wired explores the podcasting predicament: Pubradio wants to embrace convenient new platforms, but will giving content away for free hurt the bottom line? "You can go around and say the sky is falling, or you can see [podcasts] as an opportunity," says Ruth Seymour, g.m. of major podcaster KCRW. Another view: "All of the new delivery systems are great for the stations that produce the content. It's not good for the local affiliate in Eau Claire, Wisconsin," says consultant Paul Marszalek. "They're really, really reliant on programs from elsewhere to draw listeners and members." Marszalek previously urged pubradio to charge for its podcasts in a Current commentary. (This article was Slashdotted.)
Posted by Jeremy Egner at 11:53 AM
Apr 4, 2006
"The radio station’s motto is 'Because there's always more to the story,'" writes the Washingtonian's Harry Jaffe about the new commercial news station, an extension of the Washington Post's print news, that's competing with the city's public radio stations. "But there's not always that much more."
Posted by Mike at 3:48 PM