In a move to bolster its local news footprint and audience, Boston’s WGBH is adding a third hour to Boston Public Radio, which in April was the top-rated public radio midday show for its noon to 2 p.m. timeslot. Starting in September, Boston Public Radio will begin airing at 11 a.m. weekdays. Hosted by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, the show made dramatic audience gains compared to last year. The 2.1 share it earned WGBH in April 2013 among listeners aged six and older grew to 3.7 by April 2014, surpassing public radio news competitor WBUR, according to research provided by WGBH. To make room for an expanded BPR, The Takeaway will move to an earlier timeslot, airing 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Diane Rehm Show, which is now airing at that time, will be dropped from the schedule.
The filmmakers behind a new documentary briefly discussed their “deeply troubling” experience with public TV in an appearance on public radio’s On Point Wednesday. Tia Lessin and Carl Deal directed Citizen Koch, now hitting theaters after vying for grant funding and a broadcast commitment from PBS’s Independent Lens. The film examines the influence of wealthy conservatives such as David and Charles Koch on Republican politics. A May 2013 article by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer suggested that ITVS, Independent Lens’s producer, backed away from the film due to pressure from New York’s WNET, where David Koch sat on the board. Appearing on On Point, Lessin and Deal said ITVS asked them to remove content related to the Kochs from their film and to change the name.
Boston’s WBUR announced today that Christopher Lydon will rejoin the station to host and produce a weekly hourlong show, Open Source with Christopher Lydon. Bostonians last heard Lydon on WBUR when he hosted The Connection, a nationally syndicated interview show, from 1994 to 2001. He and much of his staff left WBUR in a bitter public dispute over ownership of their show, and Dick Gordon replaced him in the host's chair. Lydon returned to the airwaves in Boston earlier this year as a contributor on WGBH. The new WBUR program will launch in January, airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. and with a repeat broadcast on weekends.
WBUR in Boston, Northwest Public Radio in Pullman, Wash., and The Lens, a nonprofit newsroom in New Orleans, are among 10 recipients of this year’s Knight Community Information Challenge grants to strengthen community journalism and promote government transparency. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded a total of $545,000 to the winners, each of which raised additional matching grants from community-based funders. With $50,000 from Knight and a matching grant from the Boston Foundation, WBUR will establish a statewide education reporting project, Learning Lab. The station partnered with Glass Eye Media, founders of the Homicide Watch D.C. crime blog covering murder cases in the District of Columbia, to develop the idea. Learning Lab aims to provide a forum for ideas to improve schools in Massachusetts.
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.”
More than 100 public radio stations have picked up the midday NPR news show Here & Now with its expansion to two hours July 1, many of them to fill the void left by the cancellation of NPR’s long-running call-in show Talk of the Nation.