Kansas City’s KCPT picks up gauntlet to expand local news coverage

Three years ago, a delegation from Kansas City Public Television, including the board chair, trekked out to San Diego’s KPBS to evaluate how that station’s extensive radio, television and online news operation might be adapted in Kansas City. A few months later, an influential visitor to Kansas City, PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer, urged KCPT leaders to act on their nascent ambitions to develop a locally focused news service for the community. Over dinner at the restaurant Lidia’s, Lehrer “kind of threw the gauntlet down,” recalled Kliff Kuehl, KCPT president, challenging executives to step up the station’s commitment to news coverage. But the proposal to transform KCPT into a true local news hub remained mostly an aspiration until a surprise major grant from the Hale Family Foundation arrived in July 2013. Only then was the station able to turn its ambitions into something substantive and seemingly sustainable.

NewsHour sticks to founding mission: “Allow the audience to reach its own decisions”

In the first installment of our interview with Linda Winslow, outgoing e.p. of PBS NewsHour, she discussed her early start in broadcast journalism and working with Fred Friendly, a founding father of public broadcasting. In this, the second of three parts, she discusses the start of the NewsHour, working as a woman in media, and the NewsHour's commitment to its mission. Part three will be posted next week. This transcript has been edited. Current: What did you do next after Public Broadcasting Laboratory?

Thursday roundup: Flappy Bert takes to the air, WAMU host skis to work

• Less than a week after the maker of the wildly popular mobile game Flappy Bird announced he would pull the plug on his creation, Sesame Workshop has introduced the browser game Flappy Bert. The gameplay, where players control a bird as it navigates Sesame Street's Bert among obstacles, draws heavily on the original. It's one of several Flappy Bird clones on the market but the only one starring Bert in an 8-bit sheen. • Today marks the premiere of a series of web video specials co-produced by PBS NewsHour and Al-Monitor, a news site featuring reporting and analysis by journalists and experts from the Middle East. The first, posting at 7 p.m. Eastern time, focuses on Syria.

Friday roundup: NewsHour launches new website; podcasting patent fight continues

• PBS NewsHour unveiled a redesigned website Thursday, featuring responsive design, new navigation menus and an expanded digital editorial presence. The new site combines stories from the program's weekday and weekend editions, as Current reported in July 2013. "This new site is designed to meet the demands of an expanding and more involved audience," NewsHour Creative Director Travis Daub wrote in an introductory post, adding that the redesign is the most expansive in the website's 18-year history. • Pittsburgh Public Media has applied to the FCC for permission to boost the wattage of WYZR-FM, the jazz station it launched in August 2013. The proposed boost to 10,000 watts still would not get WYZR into Pittsburgh from its location in Bethany, W.Va., PPM President Chuck Leavens told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.