• The Pacifica Foundation announced the appointment of a new interim executive director, even as the one the foundation attempted to fire, Summer Reese, reportedly continues to camp out at the foundation's headquarters. Bernard Duncan, previously station manager at Pacifica's Los Angeles outlet KPFK, is the new interim head of the network, according to a statement on Pacifica's website. "What Pacifica needs right now is a skilled manager who can hit the ground running, and I'm very pleased Bernard's taken us on," board chair Margy Wilkinson said in the release. Duncan resigned from KPFK in January. • PBS's POV will host a Twitter chat with veteran documentary filmmakers April 8 from 1-2 p.m. Eastern time. Directors Gary Hustwit, Doug Block and Bernardo Ruiz will discuss how they made their first films. Interested participants can send their thoughts with the hashtag #docchat.
• This American Life has yet to decide on a new distributor, contrary to Chicago media writer Bob Feder's report over the weekend that the show would go to Public Radio Exchange. Feder posted a correction today with a statement from TAL host Ira Glass. TAL hasn't even started negotiations, Glass said. "We’re about to begin a round of talking to possible distributors," Glass told Feder. "There’s also the option of self-distribution, which is attractive."
Public Radio International announced today that it will end distribution of one of its biggest titles, This American Life. The Minneapolis-based PRI has offered TAL to stations since 1997. "During our most recent negotiation, it became clear that our organizations’ expectations regarding our futures were different," and PRI will stop distribution July 1, said Julia Yager, PRI's head of sales, marketing and distribution, in an announcement. Yager told Current that negotiations concluded today and that PRI does not comment publicly on confidential contract discussions. In a statement posted on the TAL website, host Ira Glass said that "looking at where PRI is now pushing its business and where we're growing — especially on the digital side of things, which we’ve always done without PRI — both we and our colleagues at PRI came to the same conclusion: to go our separate ways."
• President Obama has nominated Dr. Judith Davenport to serve as a CPB Board director, the White House announced Friday. Davenport, a retired dentist, co-founded Pittsburgh, Pa.–based Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. with her husband Ronald in 1973. She also serves on several other boards, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the Andy Warhol Museum. The nomination goes to the Senate for confirmation.
• Nothing spells love quite like This American Life. For a Valentine's Day Doodle, Google has enlisted the Public Radio International program to present five love-themed stories from the series, complete with animations. Host Ira Glass provides an introduction. Time has a behind-the-scenes video of how the Doodle came together. • Veteran pubcasting exec Chet Tomczyk, currently managing Illinois stations WTVP-TV in Peoria and dual licensee WILL in Urbana in a unique agreement, announced yesterday that he is retiring, although he hasn't set a date. Tomczyk has worked in the system for nearly 50 years, beginning in 1965 as associate producer of The Week in Michigan, a weekly travel and outdoor show produced at WKAR-FM in East Lansing, Mich.
Programs produced by Chicago’s WBEZ, New York’s WNYC and Miami’s WLRN won awards from the Third Coast International Audio Festival, handed out Oct. 20 at the organization’s Filmless Festival in Chicago.
Alabama Public Radio will eliminate Public Radio International shows from its schedule, dropping This American Life and The World, reports Tuscaloosanews.com. Director Elizabeth Brock said the decision was based in part on budget concerns. APR will fill the gaps left in its schedule by adding Radiolab and an additional hour of All Things Considered.
The mass shootings last year in Colorado, Wisconsin and Connecticut reawakened Americans to recurring tragedies of gun violence and rekindled a national debate about gun control — one that public radio and television have chronicled and analyzed through ongoing programs and the package of special broadcasts that aired on PBS last month.
Judges in the 72nd annual Peabody competition selected winners as “the best in electronic media for the year 2012,” including PBS programs presented on Independent Lens, NPR’s coverage of the Syrian conflict and a ProPublica investigation produced with This American Life.