Jun 1, 2012

NPR hires Africa correspondents

NPR has hired Leila Fadel from the Washington Post as a foreign correspondent based in Cairo. At the Post, Fadel served as bureau chief in Iraq and Egypt, covering the Iraq War and the Arab Spring. She will start at NPR in July; the Post is now looking for her successor, according to a memo on Romenesko.

NPR also hired Gregory Warner, a correspondent for American Public Media’s Marketplace, as East Africa correspondent, based in Nairobi, Kenya. And it appointed Corey Flintoff, a former newscaster and a correspondent for NPR’s digital news division, as its Moscow correspondent.

"Saddle Up" host sent to prison for 10 years

The host of the pubTV show Saddle Up with Dennis Brouse on Thursday (May 31) was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a District Court judge in Iowa in connection with a state filmmaking tax-incentive program scandal that was uncovered in 2009, reports the Des Moines Register. Brouse had been convicted of fraudulent practices in March.

The horse trainer "told a state investigator he had never declared bankruptcy, never gambled nor had his wages garnished — all deceptions that backfired at his sentencing for fraud," the newspaper noted.

Brouse's Changing Horses Productions had been awarded $9.27 million in tax credits for five projects, but a state audit last year reportedly found discrepancies including $2.18 million in expenditures claimed by Changing Horses paid to companies outside Iowa, which wasn't allowed, and $1 million in expenses not supported by documentation. The tax incentives were suspended in September 2009 after state officials discovered several filmmakers were exploiting the program's rules to qualify for millions of dollars in tax credits.

WYEP's Ferraro to depart

Lee Ferraro, g.m. of WYEP-FM in Pittsburgh for 16 years, has announced that he will leave the station after helping its board find a successor. Ferraro told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the decision was his own and “a difficult one.”

Last year Ferraro worked with WYEP’s board and funders to purchase WDUQ-FM from Duquesne University. The station is now Essential Public Radio 90.5 FM.

Ferraro said in a press release that he plans to take some time off after leaving WYEP but that he hopes to stay involved with public radio.

FCC plans workshop on spectrum channel reassignment reimbursements

The FCC is sponsoring a workshop on June 25 on its plans to reimburse broadcasters for channel reassignment costs following the upcoming spectrum auctions. The 2012 Spectrum Act established a $1.75 billion TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund for those costs. Panelists will discuss issues they feel the FCC should consider when designing the payback, as well as possible models and lessons learned from similar previous programs. Appearing will be Jay Adrick, v.p., broadcast technology, Harris Corp.; Brett Haan, principal, Deloitte Consulting; Jane Mago, e.v.p. and general counsel, National Association of Broadcasters; and Patricia Tikkala, v.p., spectrum, Sprint Nextel Corp. The workshop will run from 2 until 3:30 p.m. at FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. Watch live here, submit questions here, and participate via Twitter using hashtag #fcclive.

Pa. station considers change to all-news

WITF in Harrisburg, Pa., is likely to go to an all-news format on weekdays, dumping the classical music that it now airs during middays, according to

“We believe there is a need that WITF and NPR’s quality news can help to fill,” said Kathleen Pavelko, WITF’s president. “We also believe that this decision reflects what our listeners want.” WITF’s news programming is twice as popular as its classical music, and a listener survey found a larger appetite for more news programming as well.

The station will still air local classical performances on weekend evenings and is launching an all-classical web stream. Its board will meet today to act on the proposal.

UPDATE: The station's board has voted unanimously to approve the change. Pavelko said the change will occur June 25.

Annual benefit gala raises more than $2 million for Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop's 10th annual benefit gala this week raised more than $2 million, reports the Wall Street Journal. Honoree at the Wednesday (May 30) event at the opulent Cipriani 42nd Street was former President Bill Clinton. "When Elmo started on Sesame Street in 1984 he was 3½ years old and so was Chelsea," Clinton said, referring to his daughter. "We never missed an episode. Now Chelsea's 32, and Elmo's still 3½. Savor it."

Emcee was The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, who urged the crowd: "Take out a second mortgage! Do whatever you can."