In the first and potentially only government-backed grant program supporting arts coverage by California’s public media stations, KQED, PBS SoCaL and Radio Bilingüe each received one-time funding from the California Arts Council. The Council created its Arts on the Air program as one of several initiatives funded by a special $2 million allocation from the California state legislature. The state aid was split between two arts education initiatives and three grant programs; the council created Arts on the Air specifically to support public, nonprofit media outlets and directed $200,000 to be distributed through a competitive grants process. “It’s a modest program, but the council really wanted to find organizations that would really impact public feeling about the arts, that would build public will and understanding about the value of the arts in our communities,” said Caitlin Fitzwater, spokesperson for the Arts Council. In San Francisco, KQED’s $75,000 grant will help fund an expansion of Spark, a weekly television show and educational outreach program that profiles local artists and art organizations.
NPR is preparing member stations to provide local news for the network’s new mobile app, slated for release by summer. NPR content chief Kinsey Wilson discussed and previewed the app Feb. 24 for station execs attending the Public Media Summit in Washington, D.C. It builds on the Infinite Player, an NPR platform released for bigger-screened devices in 2011, moving it to a mobile interface and adding local station content to NPR’s own programming. Summit attendees heard an NPR newscast item about the Winter Olympics segue into a segment from San Francisco’s KQED about a labor dispute. The audio included a plea for donations to KQED.
Raul Ramirez, executive director of news and public affairs at San Francisco’s KQED, died Nov. 15 in Berkeley. He was 67 and had been fighting esophageal cancer since his July diagnosis. Born in Cuba, Ramirez began his career in the 1960s as a print journalist, working at major dailies such as the Miami Herald, the Washington Post and the San Francisco Examiner. He joined KQED in 1991, signing on as news director.
The San Francisco–based startup accelerator, funded by KQED and the Knight Foundation and owned in part by Public Radio Exchange, has announced a new round of seven early-stage companies joining Matter.
WLRN in Miami won large-market radio Murrows for feature reporting and use of sound. Chicago’s WBEZ also won for news documentary and hard-news reporting. The award for investigative reporting went to KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting, both based in San Francisco, for “Broken Shield: Exposing Abuses at California Developmental Centers.”