Jabulani Leffall interviews Kevin Wilmott

The ‘ongoing process’ of diversity

Public radio stations trying to diversify their audiences, staffs and programming have found an increasingly active ally in NPR, whose leaders have been travelling to stations in recent months to help broadcasters walk the difficult walk of achieving diversity.

Minnesota Public Radio’s Chris Worthington receives diversity award

Presented by AAJA Minnesota, the Leadership in Diversity Award honors someone who has made great strides in promoting and demonstrating diversity in the news industry. Worthington, managing director of MPR News since 2006, received the honor based on his commitment to developing the next generation of journalists, his efforts to bring more diverse voices to MPR News and his support for groups such as AAJA, even during challenging economic times. “In my mind, a commitment to newsroom diversity and accurate coverage always starts at the top,” said Tom Horgen, AAJA Minnesota chapter president, “and Chris has shown time and again that he has a thoughtful and unwavering passion for these issues.”

The award was presented Sept. 27.

Allan Pizzato

Alabama firings expose rift over PTV mission, editorial standards

It's not clear what objectives the political appointees of the Alabama Educational Television Commission had in mind when they came out of an executive session on June 12 and voted 5–2 to fire the state-operated public TV network's top managers. Allan Pizzato, executive director of Alabama Public Television for 12 years, and his deputy, Pauline Howland, were ordered to clean out their desks and immediately vacate the station's Birmingham headquarters. The dismissals triggered a series of unintended consequences that included an exodus of nine lay leaders from APT's fundraising organizations, as well as Howland's reinstatement on a temporary basis two days later. After the dismissals, the commissioners realized that they needed her knowledge and expertise to complete work on APT's 2013 budget. The fissure also exposed an internal struggle over the commission's push to schedule programs from the religious right for APT broadcast, and a revision of the network's mission statement.

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Are we here for 11% of the public or for all of it?

Usually the only speakers in the "public comment" period after an NPR Board meeting are several regional reps of stations, but they were joined Feb. 25 by Sue Schardt, executive director of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR). Schardt spoke extemporaneously to the board and NPR execs about how public radio could address criticism that has undercut its case for continued federal aid. This is an edited transcript. I speak as someone who has 23 years of experience in the industry.

Thinking outside the core

While our audience stereotypes may be better informed than they were 40 years ago, they can blind us to our potential for growth and change, with equally dangerous consequences. Today there are many indicators that we have room for audience growth on radio if only we expand our view of the potential.