Jan 12, 2012

Basin PBS could be puttin' on the Ritz

Looks like Basin PBS in Midland, Texas, may be moving downtown. According to, the Downtown Midland Management District board has voted to provide the station with a $100,000 grant over the next four years if it purchases the Ritz Theater on Main Street. General Manager Daphne Dowdy Jackson told the board the station would need public support because the theater requires renovation work. Basin PBS anticipates needing to raise between $3.5 and $4 million, some of which it already has, to make the move. The station will operate from the Ritz Theater, as well as open the theater for public meetings and other community uses. Basin PBS is currently housed at Odessa College.

APM, Arizona State join for public affairs teaching partnership

American Public Media and Arizona State University are announcing a new partnership to "help foster collaborative reporting and innovative storytelling in public affairs journalism." Linda Fantin, APM’s director of network journalism and innovation, and Joaquin Alvarado, its senior vice president of digital innovation, will teach as visiting professors during the spring semester at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, leading a class on public insight reporting for radio. The students’ resulting work will be featured on national pubradio programs. And David Brancaccio, one of the hosts of APM’s Marketplace, also will be at the school as a Hearst Visiting Professional as part of the "Must See Mondays” speaker series.

Knell calls last year's NPR troubles "self-inflicted wounds"

New NPR President Gary Knell, speaking on KPBS Radio in San Diego, called the pubradio network's problems last year — including the firing of Juan Williams and resignation of c.e.o. Vivian Schiller — "self-inflicted wounds to a large degree."

Speaking on the station's Midday Edition, he added, "I wasn't there, I wasn't part of the decision making process. The people who were are not there anymore, and that speaks volumes in and of itself."

Also during the half-hour call-in show, Knell possibly foreshadowed upcoming changes. "I think it's important that we are continuously looking for new, articulate voices," he said. "You don't want to 'dumb-down' public radio," and need to include "discussions from conservative voices, from so-called liberal voices and people who might be somewhat in the center. And you can find those voices. But we've got to make sure they feel welcomed on our air."

One caller asked if NPR has a plan in case federal funding is cut. "We're not anticipating, so to speak, and planning for a privatized public radio," Knell said. However, he added, NPR also needs to look at "growing the private sector and figuring out how to manage through turbulence, in public funding or, frankly, in private sector funding. We're not immune from those. And we have our eyes wide open, and we're going to be prudent business people and manage the resources we have in front of us with balanced budgets and other things that I'm going to bring to the table at NPR."

Here's a rush transcript.