Websites affiliated with PBS and NPR have been nominated for Webby Awards in more than 20 categories. PBS Video and NPR’s Responsive Design Project are contenders for top recognition for best practices on the Web, one of the most high-profile awards to be presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences later this spring. PBS led public media organizations in garnering the most nominations. PBS Video received a nomination in the general website media streaming category, and The PBS Idea Channel is vying for two Webbys in categories for first-person online film and video and best web personality/host. Additional nominees include PBS Kids Digital, in the youth category, and Shanks FX and PBS Food, nominated in categories of how-to and DIY content.
Startup Internet TV service Aereo has launched a website to make its case to the public in advance of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing next week. The court’s ruling after Tuesday’s arguments could make or break the service, which allows subscribers to view and record television broadcast programs online. Broadcasters, including PBS and New York’s WNET, have sued Aereo, claiming the company is violating copyright law by converting broadcast signals to streaming video. Launched Thursday, Aereo’s website, ProtectMyAntenna.org, lays out the company’s case for why it should prevail and provides links to all court filings to date. The case before the Supreme Court, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al., v. Aereo, Inc., stems from a pair of lawsuits brought by noncommercial broadcasters and commercial networks including ABC, CBS and NBC.
• PBS has promoted two of its programming execs. Michael Kelley, formerly v.p. of strategy and business affairs, ascends to s.v.p., programming and business affairs. In addition, Bill Gardner, formerly director of general audience programming, is now v.p. of programming and development, overseeing science, history, natural history, cultural and current events programming. Both joined PBS in 2012. “Mike’s strong business skills and strategic leadership coupled with Bill’s acute editorial judgment and significant development chops have been instrumental to the success of PBS, our producers and member stations nationwide," Beth Hoppe, PBS chief programming executive, said in a statement.
• NPR introduced voice recognition–enabled ads this week on its smartphone app in an attempt to connect its nearly one million mobile listeners with sponsors, Adweek reports. The 15-second audio spots ask listeners to say "Download now" or "Hear more" after hearing an ad that sparks their interest. • The Knight Foundation has awarded a joint grant to the nonprofit newsrooms Voice of San Diego and MinnPost to help them develop plans to grow membership. The two-year, $1.2 million grant will be divided evenly between the news operations, who will collaborate on using membership data more effectively. Nieman runs down how the sites will use the grant.
PBS’s fiscal 2015 draft budget contains a recommendation for a 2.5 percent increase in dues paid by member stations. The PBS Board, meeting Friday morning at headquarters in Arlington, Va., voted to send the proposed budget to member stations for comment. Stations did not see an increase in membership assessments this year due to an anticipated FY13 windfall of $22 million generated in part by higher income from PBS Distribution deals for Masterpiece megahit Downton Abbey. By the end of FY13, PBS officially closed its books with an extra $24.5 million. PBS management is proposing the 2.5 percent dues increase for FY15, which would generate about $4.6 million.
It’s a question that parents and teachers struggle to answer at home and in the classroom: how do we make math fun for kids? The creative minds at PBS Kids have spent the last few years devising a solution to that problem. With Ready to Learn funding provided through the Department of Education in 2010, PBS staff set their sights on creating two math-focused children’s shows. Their answer for the 3- to 5-year-old crowd was PEG + CAT, an animated series that debuted last fall. Produced by Fred Rogers Company, PEG + CAT teaches measurement, shapes and patterns, skills that help the characters solve their real-life problems.
Odd Squad, a live-action math series geared toward children ages 5 to 8, is the latest addition to PBS’s slate of math-based kids’ programming.