Raymond Davis, a veteran broadcaster who influenced and nurtured the bluegrass music scene as a music host for WAMU in Washington, D.C., died Dec. 3 of leukemia. He was 81. Davis capped his 65-year career in radio broadcasting as an afternoon host on WAMU’s all-music station Bluegrass Country. He joined the pubcaster in 1985, when the station split its weekday format between NPR News programs and bluegrass, and retired in 2013.
Longtime Programming Director Mark McDonald and Engineering Director John Holt will be leaving WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., according to the station. McDonald will depart at the end of the year to pursue multimedia opportunities, said WAMU Director of Marketing Kathleen Allenbaugh, and Holt will retire at the end of November after 20 years with the station. McDonald has been programming director at WAMU since 2001. He previously worked for BBC TV and Radio News and was managing editor for WNYC in New York. Holt has been engineering director at WAMU since 1994.
An NPR editor has recommended that network journalists avoid referring to the Washington Redskins by their name and should instead use "Washington" or "the team" as much as possible. Standards & Practices Editor Mark Memmott provided the guidance Oct. 10 amid a growing backlash against a name that is a racial slur. Memmott said he is not calling for an outright ban, but that use of the name should be curtailed under the organization’s policy regarding potentially offensive language. “The team’s name is the name and our job is to report on the world as it is, not to take a position or become part of the story,” Memmott wrote.
WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., will enter the Fredericksburg, Va., market with the pending purchase of 8,000-watt WWED 89.5-FM. WAMU has proposed to buy WWED from the Educational Media Corp., a nonprofit Christian ministry based in Spotsylvania, Va. According to an asset purchase agreement filed with the FCC, WAMU licensee American University will pay $375,000 for WWED and a booster signal in Fredericksburg. WWED and sister station WWEM-FM in Lynchburg, Va., went dark as of Aug. 1, 2013, according to fredericksburg.com.
JJ Yore, co-creator of public radio’s Marketplace and a former v.p. and executive producer with American Public Media, will step into a station leadership role Aug. 1 as g.m. of WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C.
“It feels great to be coming back to Washington,” said Yore, who lived and worked in the area before heading west to start Marketplace. “WAMU is a station I have been close to and listened to since the mid-80s. I was listening to Diane Rehm before she had a national show. I feel like this is a culture I understand deeply.”
Yore served as v.p. and g.m. of American Public Media’s portfolio of Marketplace programming for two years until his job was eliminated in June 2013.
• 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.
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.”