With CPB support, public radio Triple A stations team up to showcase music videos

PHILADELPHIA — A new website and mobile app backed by CPB will showcase videos of new and emerging bands, produced by five partnering public radio stations that specialize in contemporary music. The $750,000 CPB grant was announced Thursday at the opening day of the Non-Commvention, an annual conference for Triple A station programmers hosted by Philadelphia’s WXPN. The station is one of the partners in the project, which has the working title “Music X.” The other stations are KTBG in Kansas City, Mo.; KUTX in Austin, Texas; WFUV in New York; and KCRW in Los Angeles. A national umbrella site will showcase the best videos, and stations will also curate channels with their own brands for local audiences. A click-and-drag interface will enable curation for local apps and sites. Continue Reading

CPB ombud criticizes KUNM’s handling of plagiarism charges

The handling of plagiarism charges at New Mexico’s KUNM-FM drew criticism from CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan, who weighed in on the issue in an April 24 report. The charges were first made public by former KUNM reporter Tristan Ahtone, who left the Albuquerque station in March over what he cited as the station’s failure to respond to a fellow reporter’s plagiarism, as recounted in an April 15 story in the Santa Fe Reporter. In an email to his superiors at KUNM that a Santa Fe journalist later forwarded to Kaplan, Ahtone accused KUNM leadership of hiding three instances of suspected plagiarism from listeners. One of the stories was published through the Fronteras reporting desk, which covers the Southwest. Ahtone refused to participate in ethics training courses the station mandated for all staff, writing that the training “serves merely as the Potemkin Village to bolster this station’s attempt at credibility.”

CPB’s Kaplan also found the station’s response lacking. Continue Reading

CPB urges FCC to preserve public TV coverage in spectrum auction

WASHINGTON, D.C. — CPB’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution Thursday urging the FCC to avoid allowing “white areas” that would lack public television coverage after the upcoming spectrum auction and channel repacking. The resolution followed a meeting Tuesday in which network broadcasters and CPB management met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to discuss the auction, set for mid-2015. It will clear bandwidth to be used by the burgeoning number of wireless devices. Television broadcasters face three choices: sell spectrum and get out of broadcasting, sell a portion of spectrum and share a channel with another broadcaster, or opt out of the auction. Vinnie Curren, CPB c.o.o., told the CPB Board Thursday that it has identified “half a dozen major communities” where auctions could occur and where the pubTV station “is operated by an institution whose primary mission was not public broadcasting,” such as a university or government agency. Continue Reading

CPB plans meetings to inform public TV execs about spectrum auction

CPB will convene two meetings about spectrum over the next two months, working to craft guidelines for public TV stations to use in deciding whether to participate in the upcoming auction, as well as exploring wider policy and technology issues. Broadcasters face several options as the FCC works to clear bandwidth for the growing number of wireless devices. A station can sell all its spectrum and get out of broadcasting completely, sell part of it and share a channel with another broadcaster, or opt out of the auction altogether. The auction is set for mid-2015. CPB is approaching spectrum issues in a “very measured” way, CPB President Pat Harrison told the board at its April 8 meeting in Washington, D.C. “We’re hearing that stations need more spectrum, not less,” for public-service oriented projects. Continue Reading

Faction of Pacifica board sues to reinstate fired director

Nine members of the Pacifica Foundation’s board of directors opposing last month's firing of executive director Summer Reese filed a lawsuit Thursday asking the court to void the action and reinstate her. Calling themselves the Pacifica Board Members for Good Governance, the group filed a civil lawsuit in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda. According to the lawsuit, Reese’s March 14 firing violated Pacifica’s bylaws and was “improper, unlawful and fiscally reckless.”

Named in the lawsuit are the board members who voted for Reese’s removal, including Chairwoman Margy Wilkinson and Vice Chairman Tony Norman. The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages, only the overturning of the board’s decision and the immediate reinstatement of Reese. The Pacifica board voted in executive session to dismiss Reese, who was appointed permanent executive director of the network last November after holding the job on an interim basis. Continue Reading