Oct 11, 2010

Ron Hull, still busy in pubcasting after 55 years

Here's a tribute to public broadcasting at its best, through the experiences of longtime Nebraska Educational Television programmer Ron Hull, who just turned 80. Although Hull has come and gone from the station a few times, "he never really went away," the local Journal Star noted. He's now senior adviser to NET and professor emeritus of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and reports for work in his fourth-floor office at 6:30 every morning. "This place I love," he said — even after 55 years.

Knight News Challenge introduces new categories

The Knight Foundation announced four new categories for its next Knight News Challenge: mobile, authenticity, sustainability and community. Details at Knightblog and Neiman Labs. The window for entries opens Oct. 25 and closes Dec. 1. The competition backing innovations in news media has awarded $23 million to 56 projects in its first four years; WBUR in Boston and Public Radio Exchange were among this year's winners.

Four major pubmedia intiatives "suffer from similar limitations," blogger writes

PBCore, Public Media Platform, Argo and American Archive: "One or more may rock our world," writes Barrett Golding on Hacks/Hackers of the four ambitious pubmedia initiatives. However, "All four of the above projects are well-conceived, led and executed by consummate pros. . . . But all suffer from similar limitations: they’re top-down, closed, exclusive (some proprietary), and expensive." Golding, keeper of the PubMedia Commons blog, suggests another approach: "The bottom-up, grassroots, social inclusiveness of open-source projects — what in tech parlance is more bazaar than cathedral. Imagine some small-scale journocoder community solutions that deliver immediately useful results, cheaply and quickly." Golding will flesh out those ideas in part two of his essay.

Days after KCET's withdrawal from PBS, surprise and confusion

Although it had been negotiating with KCET for nearly a year over a dues disagreement, PBS was taken aback with the Oct. 8 announcement that the station was dropping its membership. "How quickly it happened was a surprise," PBS President Paula Kerger said in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday (Oct. 10).

The decision left confusion in its wake. KOCE President Mel Rogers says it has to "ramp up in a hurry" to assume primary station status. "It's in our interest to make sure viewers get the same content at the time they're accustomed to watching it," he said. "That's the goal we're shooting for." But Kerger would only say that KOCE will be the primary station "if that's what we need them to do."

Plus, KCET's participation in a four-station, resource-saving consortium (Current, Aug. 5) with area stations KOCE, KVCR and KLCS, is in up in the air. KCET President Al Jerome told Current he'd like the station to remain in the group; Larry Ciecalone, president of KVCR, said the group is continuing without KCET. "The collaboration would've been stronger with four stations, but the market will still win with three of us involved," Ciecalone said. However, Kerger said "the door is not shut at all" for KCET to play some role.

Additional coverage:

— Jerome told the New York Times Media Decoder blog: “I imagine there will be some loss in the donor base, but in the direction we’re headed, I’m very comfortable we’ll also re-establish our donor base.” Kerger said that allowing KCET to lower its dues was not possible because “all of our stations abide by the same dues structure, and it’s very difficult for us to make an exception.”