Nov 25, 2008
Europeana, the continent's online cultural library, attracted so much attention on its debut Nov. 20 -- 10 million hits an hour, 3 million simultaneously -- that the website crashed and won't be back until mid-December, according to a notice on the nonfunctioning site. Technical second-guessers told PCWorld.com that traffic was three times the expected level and planners failed to buy adequate hardware load balancers. The European Commission said 52 percent of the digitized cultural objects were contributed by France, 10 percent each from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands and tiny shares from the other member states. For a preview, click the video starring Descartes, Darwin, Beethoven and Callas and featuring Little Kim.
Posted by Steve at 6:47 PM
There have been facetious presentations of dancing on public radio, but none has been as visually compelling -- or as facetious -- as this performance of the NPR Dancers to the works of B.J. Leiderman and his various Salieris. Thanks to Alaskans Duncan Moon and John Proffitt, who noticed the video, which came out of the creative ferment of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre improv company.
Posted by Steve at 6:15 PM
Nov 21, 2008
Patty Wente, the former g.m. of KWMU-FM in St. Louis, reached a settlement Nov. 13 with the station’s licensee, the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Wente will receive $50,000, and her departure from the station will be officially recorded as a resignation, not a firing. In exchange, the former manager will drop a grievance against the university, among other conditions. The city’s Riverfront Times posted the full settlement on its website. Wente was fired June 2 based on preliminary findings from a review of KWMU’s finances and management under her tenure. Since leaving KWMU she has started a consulting business, The Wente Group.
Posted by Mike Janssen at 8:43 PM
Records turned over to Congressional investigators have revealed that the host of public radio’s The Infinite Mind has accepted payments from drug makers while opining about their products on the show, reports The New York Times. Dr. Fred Goodwin, a psychiatrist, earned $1.3 million between 2000 and 2007 for marketing lectures, the records show. Goodwin told the Times that he had informed Bill Lichtenstein, the show’s producer, of his consulting work, a claim the producer denies. NPR announced it will drop the show from its Sirius Satellite Radio channel. Slate spanked Goodwin and the show earlier this year for similar conflict-of-interest issues related to an episode about Prozac. NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard also weighed in on the issue.
Posted by Mike Janssen at 3:53 PM
Nov 18, 2008
Worldfocus and SundayArts, both new to the production slate at WNET.org, as the station’s licensee now calls itself, will be produced starting next spring in a new glass-walled, street-level production and broadcast studio at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center, the New York Times reported today. The studio is being built in cooperation with Lincoln Center at 66th and Broadway. Check out 360-degree photo of the intersection on Google Maps. The 15-year lease marks a return to the Lincoln Center area, where WNET was based for years, and an expansion of studio space, which it had reduced considerably when it moved its offices down to West 33rd Street. SundayArts also is rising in profile: Its co-hosts are cellist and former CNN anchor Paula Zahn and Philippe de Montebello, soon to retire as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here's an architect's drawing of the new studio's exterior. Click it for WNET.org's release.
Posted by Steve at 6:42 PM
More than a quarter of pubTV stations are having problems with liquidity and almost as many with debt burden, with "some stations in dire straits," CPB station grants chief Kevin Martin told the CPB Board today. Martin said the financial distress “cuts across large, medium and small, urban and rural stations." Community licensees are over-represented among those in trouble, but little stations are not. “When you looked at financial strength versus size, there’s no indication that size matters,” says Walter Parsons of BMR Associates in Seattle, Wash., the lead consultant. “Strong stations are large and small, less strong stations are large and small.”
Posted by Steve at 6:24 PM
It no longer makes sense for the federal government to fund a corporation for public broadcasting, writes David Sasaki, outreach director of the global citizen media project Rising Voices and contributor to the MediaShift Idea Lab blog on PBS.org. He proposes that President-elect Barack Obama create a National Journalism Foundation, modeled on the National Science Foundation and funded with some sort of tax on internet service providers or the giant telecom companies, to replace CPB. The foundation would fund PBS and NPR in addition to web-only journalism projects such as EveryBlock and FiveThirtyEight.com. "We need a federal body in charge of supporting the nation's journalism, communication, and information needs," Sasaki writes. "That is, in charge of supporting quality online content and mash-ups."
Posted by Karen at 10:29 AM
Laura Linney will be the new host of Masterpiece Classic, series e.p. Rebecca Eaton announced today in an online video release. Linney succeeds Gillian Anderson. Masterpiece Classic's second season as a distinct Masterpiece brand, separate from Masterpiece Mystery! and Masterpiece Contemporary, begins in January with a new adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Ubervilles. The season includes a special collection of Charles Dickens stories.
Posted by Katy June-Friesen at 10:26 AM
Nov 14, 2008
Kentucky’s Louisville Public Media has launched The Mediavore, a blog that points listeners to don’t-miss content offered throughout public media. In a post on his blog, Todd Mundt, LPM’s director of new media strategies, explains the purpose of Mediavore. “It’s launching with a heavy tilt toward news/talk, but we expect to balance it over the next few months with more music and cultural content,” he writes. “We’re also looking to beef up our exploration of content produced by local stations, and we will add much more video content.”
Posted by Mike Janssen at 2:44 PM
An Utne Reader article looks at the international reach of Sesame Street, using The World According to Sesame Street, a documentary, as a starting point. “Sesame Street has to reprove itself in every country where it goes,” says one of the doc’s directors. “Here is an American organization coming in and wanting to teach their children. That’s alarm-bell city.”
Posted by Mike Janssen at 2:33 PM
The Association of Fundraising Professionals named Gretchen Gordon, director of development and outreach at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska, its Outstanding Professional in Philanthropy this week, reports the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Gordon doubled the station’s donations from listeners over four years to $1 million despite cutting back on on-air fund drives. “Saying it is a huge honor would be an understatement,” she said of the award.
Posted by Mike Janssen at 10:15 AM
Henry Loomis, president of CPB for a stretch in the 1970s, died Nov. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla., at the age of 89, according to the New York Times. Loomis was appointed by President Nixon in 1972 and “set about wresting control over programming and production” from PBS. He also steered more funds to stations rather than national programs. Before joining CPB, Loomis led Voice of America until resigning in 1965, resisting pressure from the White House to cut back on coverage of the U.S. military’s involvement in Southeast Asia.
Posted by Mike Janssen at 10:03 AM
Nov 13, 2008
Pubradio station KWMU will move to midtown St. Louis, next door to pubTV station KETC, the radio licensee announced Wednesday, the Post-Dispatch reported. Grand Center, the city's redeveloping entertainment area, persuaded the licensee, University of Missouri-St. Louis, to drop plans for a new KWMU building on campus and locate at the Center on Olive Street. Students persuaded the university to allocate a third of the 27,000-square-foot building to non-station university space.
Posted by Steve at 5:37 PM
More listeners are tuning into KRCL, the Utah community radio station that overhauled its contemporary music format in March and replaced volunteers with paid djs, but the station fell short of its fall fundraising goal, according to the Salt Lake City Weekly. Two additional music stations that received CPB aid to revamp their formats--KDHX in St. Louis and WUMB in Boston--are soliciting online donations after missing their pledge targets.
Posted by Karen at 10:23 AM
Nov 12, 2008
Raising the profile of its production side, KCET chief Al Jerome upped Mary Mazur to e.v.p. and chief content officer, overseeing content development and production in all media, Variety reported. Mazur in turn promoted Bret Marcus to senior v.p., programming and production; he's also overseeing its new weekly newsmag, SoCal Connected. In addition, KCET promoted Bohdan Zachary to v.p., broadasting and syndication, and Karen Hunte to v.p., program planning and development.
Posted by Steve at 11:08 AM
Nov 11, 2008
Cindy Browne, founding head of Iowa Public Radio and longtime exec at Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), died Sunday night, Nov. 9, after a long fight against cancer, according to former colleague Todd Mundt. He wrote in his blog: "Cindy was the most courageous person I ever knew; throughout her life, she confronted change, in her career, in her health, some of it unwelcome, and yet she was a fount of optimism, and maintained a laser-like focus on what she needed to do." A memorial service will be held Friday, 4-8 p.m., at Holcomb Henry Boom Funeral Home in Shoreview, Minn. Her survivors said memorial contributions can be given to TPT or to Iowa Public Radio. TPT, where Browne worked her way up from receptionist to general manager over 25 years, published an advisory today about her death. After a short stint at CPB, Browne worked as a consultant, advocating an important role for women in management and advised on the skills of change management. Browne took on a substantial task along that line during her last three years -- leading the merger of three university stations to create Iowa Public Radio.
Posted by Steve at 4:56 PM
Vivian Schiller, senior v.p. of NYTimes.com, has been appointed as NPR's next president and c.e.o. Schiller, who will be the first woman to helm NPR, previously was a senior executive with the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications, and led CNN Productions, specializing in long-form documentary work. "Her roots in the news business, as well as her inclusive management style and operational expertise, make her an ideal fit for NPR.," said Howard Stevenson, NPR Chairman in this news release. His memo to NPR staff is posted here. Schiller's first day on the job is Jan. 5, 2009.
Posted by Karen at 2:24 PM
To attract younger listeners, public radio needs to "get off the news mountaintop," former NPR host and correspondent Luke Burbank told station execs at last week's Western States Public Radio conference. "Don't talk down--be at eye level," he said. Burbank, who departed NPR's Gen X-targeted Bryant Park Project shortly after its launch last year, offered six suggestions for bringing younger adults into the public radio fold, reported by KUOW's Jeff Hansen on the PRPD blog. From Burbank's perspective as one of two full-time staff on a daily commercial talk show in Seattle, BPP was "overstaffed, overly-expensive, and over-supervised," Hansen writes.
Posted by Karen at 11:55 AM
Nov 10, 2008
Nic Harcourt, KCRW's eclectic music tastemaker for 10 years, will leave the Santa Monica, Calif., station later this month. "It’s not the politician’s thing, like, ‘Oh, I’m spending more time with my kids'," Harcourt told the Los Angeles Times [scroll down]. "The bottom line is I’ve been in public radio for 10 years, and regardless of how great my job is, I make public radio money, and I have two 5 year-olds. I have to think about their future ... I’m going to busy. I’m looking forward to building some equity for myself." Harcourt looks to "explore new career opportunities and expand upon my other activities in movie, television, voice over work, advertising and the Internet," he said in a statement. Harcourt, music director and host of KCRW's signature program Morning Becomes Eclectic, will continue at the station as host of an as yet unnamed Sunday evening music show. In this 2005 profile of Harcourt, the New York Times Magazine describes Harcourt as "the country's most important disc jockey and a genuine bellwether."
Posted by Karen at 3:46 PM
WHYY in Philadelphia distinguishes itself among public broadcasting outlets for excessive compensation of its chief executive, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday. Citing the latest tax filing for Philly's major pubcasting outlet, the Inquirer reported that President and CEO William Marrazzo's total compensation of $740,090 in 2007 included $415,993 in salary, $317,240 in benefits and $6,857 in expenses. "Marrazzo's total outstripped that of chief executives at WNET and WGBH, with five and six times WHYY's revenues," the Inquirer reported. "It also exceeded the compensation of the heads of the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio, networks that serve stations countrywide." Board Chairman Jerry Sweeney told the Inquirer that Marrazzo's compensation is tied to performance and necessary to retain him as top executive. "The board takes the long view, which is we want a platinum station," Sweeney said. "Marrazzo is the guy who executes all that."
Posted by Karen at 2:43 PM
Nov 7, 2008
New Jersey's state-owned NJN network confirmed yesterday that Elizabeth Christopherson, executive director for 14 years, will leave the job Dec. 1. She told the NJN staff in a memo on Monday. Spokeswoman Ronnie Weyl said the director has a new job, yet to be announced. Christopherson has not won state leaders' support for NJN's proposal to become an independent nonprofit. The blog PolitickerNJ.com reported yesterday that the proposal was pronounced "dead." That assessment came from an official of the state treasurer's office during yesterday's state Public Broadcasting Authority meeting, Weyl said.
Posted by Steve at 11:18 AM
The University of Michigan's WFUM-TV in Flint, Mich., is the latest of a growing number of pubTV stations to plan an early turnoff of analog broadcasting. WFUM will turn off both its analog and digital transmitters Nov. 19 for three days while Thomson technicians move the DTV signal generators into its Channel 28 transmitter. The analog will stay off. On Nov. 22, the station will resume DTV broadcasts but on the old channel long used for analog, Director of Engineering Wayne Henderson tells Current. Starting Nov. 19 -- 90 days before the nationwide analog turnoff Feb. 17 -- the FCC allows analog turnoffs by stations that follow a streamlined notification procedure. More in our Nov. 10 issue.
Posted by Steve at 10:19 AM