Avoid these cardinal sins in applying for public media jobs

I’ve hired a lot of folks over the past 35 years in broadcasting, and thankfully most have been good hires, some excellent, and some even extraordinary. I count in that latter group Robert Krulwich, Robert Siegel, Noah Adams, Scott Simon, David Brancaccio, David Brown, and many others. But I have also encountered job applicants who left me with a bad taste in my mouth — not because of who they were, but rather because of what they did during the application process. For the benefit of future applicants, I thought I’d detail some of what I consider the “cardinal sins” of applying for a job. The obvious time-wasters: those who haven’t read the detailed job description or lifted a finger to research the company or station doing the hiring. Continue Reading

Friday roundup: Parachutist gets stuck on St. Louis tower; PBS station’s finance manager pleads guilty to embezzling

• The broadcast tower of St. Louis's Nine Network picked up an unexpected Halloween decoration Thursday night: a parachutist who was stuck for two hours about 120 feet off the ground, reports KMOV-TV. Firefighters rescued 27-year-old Timothy Church after he attempted to jump off the tower. The illicit leaper and an accomplice were charged with trespassing. https://twitter.com/CoryStarkKMOV/status/528035355585695744/

• Elsewhere on the crime beat, a former finance manager for WFWA-TV in Fort Wayne, Ind., pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling money from the station in July 2010, according to the News-Sentinel. Continue Reading

Downton, Roosevelts help boost PBS to fifth in ratings

PBS finished the 2013-14 broadcast season in fifth place among broadcast and cable networks, up from eighth the previous season and 11th in 2011-12. Beth Hoppe, PBS’s chief programmer, has focused on scheduling similar genres together to retain primetime audience from one show to the next. “It’s a strategy that is paying off,” she said in the announcement Wednesday. Average primetime household Nielsen ratings rose over last season from 1.43 to 1.50, finishing with an average audience of some 1.9 million viewers, according to PBS. Viewing on Sunday nights, anchored by Masterpiece and its hit Downton Abbey franchise, grew 7 percent over last season. Continue Reading

Thursday roundup: Serial spawns much chatter; Music X to launch at SXSW 2015

• It's Thursday, which means that fans of Serial are getting their weekly dose of podcast crack. The This American Life spinoff, which digs into the details of a 1999 Baltimore murder case, has spawned a bevy of equally obsessive commentary, including a podcast about the podcast from Slate. But the vortex of meta-analysis doesn't end there — an English professor has started a weekly video chat with Rabia Chaudry, the lawyer who brought the murder case to the attention of Serial's Sarah Koenig (and who is also blogging about Serial). "I am interested in exploring how new media engagement affects narrative and knowledge, and Serial presented an fertile ground in which to ask those questions," writes Pete Rorabaugh. There's also the Serial subreddit, which as a listener I am studiously avoiding lest I fall into a wormhole from which I cannot return. Plus, I haven't listened to today's episode yet. Continue Reading

Thursday roundup: USDA backs digital projects; PBS hires Fox exec for digital

• Public TV stations in four states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will receive a total of $2.5 million in federal grants for upgrading transmitters, translators and production equipment. The grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced Wednesday, are part of the 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized by Congress. We'll have to expense a trip to the islands to report back on their new equipment. • PBS has hired Don Wilcox, a former executive with Fox Broadcasting Corp., as v.p. of digital marketing and services. At Fox, Wilcox was v.p. and g.m. of branded entertainment, overseeing websites including Fox.com, American Idol's and TheXFactorUSA.com, which now just redirects to a YouTube page, so maybe he left Fox with that one on his thumb drive. Continue Reading