American Public Media’s Wits is introducing a "Social Club" for fans as producers prepare to launch the show’s fall season. For $35, fans become members for the fall 2013 and spring 2014 seasons and gain early access to tickets for live performances of the variety show, hosted by John Moe and recorded in St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater. They also receive a 10-percent discount on up to four tickets per show and other perks. "Social media has been embedded into Wits’s DNA, so a social club seemed like a natural fit," APM spokesperson Tara Schlosser told Current.
Music City Roots: Live from The Loveless Cafe, a weekly radio show and HD webcast featuring roots, alt-country and Americana music from Nashville, is heading to public television as a 13-episode series showcasing performances from its 2012 season. The show will be released for pubTV broadcast Sept. 5, presented by Nashville Public Television and distributed by American Public Television. Carriage commitments from 75 stations so far includes major markets such as WNET in New York and WGBH in Boston. In each episode, emcee Keith Bilbrey — a former Grand Ole Opry announcer — welcomes musicians to a 600-seat barn at the Loveless Cafe, built in 1951 and locally famous for its homemade fried chicken and biscuits.
NPR and American Public Media are partnering with a new mobile app that curates talk radio and podcasts according to listener taste. Swell, which launched June 27, is the latest venture to bring digital radio programs to listeners through digital rather than terrestrial means.
J.J. Yore, a veteran producer credited as a creator of the public radio show Marketplace, was one of three senior executives riffed June 17 from American Public Media, the Minnesota-based company that produces the series. Yore, who rose up through the production ranks two years ago to become v.p. and g.m. of the weeknightly business and economics show, will be succeeded by Deborah Clark, e.p. who steps into the role of v.p.
Clark has worked for Marketplace over two stints since 1995, and APM expects her to move the show forward “business as usual,” Mardi Larson, spokesperson, wrote in an email confirming the layoffs. “We thank J.J. for his valuable and lasting contributions to our company’s mission and audience service, and we wish him well in his next career opportunity.”
“I am disappointed, and I’m surprised, but I’m not angry,” Yore said in an interview last week. “This is the thing I’ve been associated the longest with in my life. But I am now looking forward to figuring out what will come next.”
APM also eliminated the positions of Mary Pat Ladner, v.p. of marketing, and Kathy Golbuff, v.p. of underwriting.
Public radio reporters took all nine awards for radio reporting in this year's Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize outstanding reporting on radio, TV and the Web by national and local news organizations. NPR’s Ina Jaffe, Quinn O’Toole and Steven Drummond won for breaking news reporting (network syndication) for “Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals.” For investigative reporting, John Ryan and Jim Gates of KUOW in Seattle were cited among stations in markets 1–100 for “Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear ‘Crushed Like a Beer Can,’” while Sandy Hausman of WVTF and Radio IQ in Roanoke, Va., won in the 101+ market category for “Naming the Fralin,” about naming the University of Virginia Art Museum. In the feature categories, Linda Lutton, Cate Cahan and Sally Eisele of Chicago’s WBEZ won for “The weight of the city's violence, on one school principal,” and Lance Orozco of KCLU in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for “My Cancer.”
NPR's State of the Re:Union, co-distributed by Public Radio Exchange, won the syndicated documentary award for “As Black as We Wish to Be,” which explored an Appalachian foothills town in Ohio where residents who look white identify as African-American; it was reported and produced by Lu Olkowski, Laura Spero, Taki Telonidis and Al Letson. Alabama Public Radio’s “Winds of Change,” coverage by Pat Duggins, Ryan Vasquez, Maggie Martin and Stan Ingold of a Tuscaloosa tornado, won for smaller-market documentary. The public service in radio journalism winners were “If it's legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” by the staff of Seattle’s KPLU (markets 1–100); Charles Lane and Naomi Starobin of WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., for “State struggled at fire prevention ahead of Manorville blaze.”
In the television categories, San Francisco’s KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting won for large-market (1–50) documentary for “Heat and Harvest,” a report on the effect of climate change on California agriculture by Mark Schapiro, Serene Fang, Gabriela Quiros and Craig Miller.
On Being, a weekly pubradio program about religion and faith, is creating a production house for the show that will exist offsite from its distributor, American Public Media. The transition is happening with the assistance of APM, which will continue to distribute the show at its regular times.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science singled out the first of four BURN documentary specials, “Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima,” which aired March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. The series was produced by SoundVision Productions in partnership with American Public Media’s Marketplace and distributed by APM. The award citation recognizes SoundVision Executive Producer Bari Scott, Host Alex Chadwick, Managing Producer Mary Beth Kirchner, Senior Producer/Editor Robert Rand and Technical Director/Mix Engineer Robin Wise. AP science reporter Seth Borenstein, a judge in the competition, called the broadcast “gripping, informative and thorough — radio science journalism at its best.” Larry Engel, an associate professor in the American University School of Communication, praised its “excellent combination of story reporting, writing, character development, and sound recording and editing.”
The award was announced Nov. 14, and the winners will receive $3,000 and a plaque at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston in February 2013.
The segment produced for All Things Considered’s “Radio Diaries” by Joe Richman, Sue Jaye Johnson and Samara Freemark told the story of 16-year-old boxer Claressa Shields’ preparations for her gold medal–winning performance in the 2012 Olympics. At the Third Coast awards ceremony Oct. 7 in Evanston, Ill., Shields said that she would have been disappointed if the documentary had lost because she had never received anything less than gold in her life. She then led a brief tutorial on proper jab technique. This American Life won a silver award for best documentary for “What Happened At Dos Erres,” the story of a 1982 military massacre in Guatemala produced by Brian Reed and Habiba Nosheen, and co-reported by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica and Ana Arana of Fundación MEPI.