This item has been updated and reposted with additional information. After more than two decades on the air, NPR’s Talk of the Nation will come to an end in June to make way for the newsmag Here & Now, which will be revamped under a new partnership between NPR and Boston’s WBUR-FM. Talk of the Nation will air its last episode June 28, ending a 21-year-long run. The call-in talk show has helped launch big names in public media, including original host John Hockenberry, This American Life’s Ira Glass and PBS NewsHour’s Ray Suarez. NPR Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson said the network decided to end Talk of the Nation because a newsmagazine might pull a bigger audience in midday.
Boston NPR news station 90.9 WBUR-FM is wading into the Cape Cod resort market and going toe-to-toe with WGBH’s network of stations with its planned purchase of 92.7 WMVY-FM on Martha’s Vineyard. WBUR is buying the Tisbury, Mass.-based station for an undisclosed amount from Housatonic, Mass.-based Aritaur Communications Inc. The sale is expected to close in early 2013 pending FCC approval. Now broadcasting an adult alternative format, WMVY, known as mvyradio, will switch to WBUR’s news format, reaching up to 60,000 listeners with a 3,000-watt signal. The market includes Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and coastal towns including New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth and Westport. “We believe that the islands, Cape Cod and SouthCoast are important parts of the community we cover and serve," said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz, in a statement.
A reporter for the NPR station based in Greeley, Colo., Hood earned the award for Investigating Colorado’s Online K–12 Schools, a three-part report about for-profit education. The report found that the state’s largest full-time online school was operating under questionable state oversight and delivering poor academic results. It aired in fall 2011. “Her reports demonstrated the likely abuse of millions of dollars in public funds for an online education that was producing decidedly inferior results while at the same time enriching the for-profit management company,” said Schorr Prize judge Philip Balboni, c.e.o. of Global Post. Hood has also contributed to NPR’s Morning Edition, the National Radio Project’s Making Contact and Voice of America.
Underwriters of public radio programs increasingly want to link their names more closely to particular stories and reporting projects, according to station executives, a trend that is requiring journalists to be more vigilant in fighting perceptions of potential conflicts of interest.
In a move signalling its ambitions to extend its clout and influence in public radio, Boston's WGBH has acquired Public Radio International, the Minnesota-based program distributor of radio programs such as This American Life, The World and The Takeaway. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the sale will help to stabilize the nonprofit program distributor PRI, which ran an operating deficit of $2 million in 2011, according to PRI spokesperson Julia Yager. "This is a deal borne out of shared visions," Yager said in an interview with Current. PRI began examining its options last year as its leadership considered the implications of various funding scenarios for public media. PRI looked for partners to help it continue distributing radio programming and found that WGBH was best aligned with its own mission and values.
NPR announced June 8 that Tom and Ray Magliozzi, hosts of the popular and long-running Car Talk, will lay down their wrenches and stop recording new episodes as of October. The show will continue, however, with producers repackaging calls mined from Car Talk’s 25-years-deep archive.
... Building and maintaining a meaningful social media presence requires a significant investment of time — and it’s not always easy to measure the return on that investment. What does social media success look like, anyway? Is it when you reach 1,000 followers? 10,000? ...
Among the 54 public stations receiving regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for electronic journalism, WUFT-FM of Gainesville, Fla., won eight, and Vermont Public Radio captured seven. Five additional pubradio stations — KUNC, Greeley, Colo.; South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB); KCCU, Lawton, Okla.; WBUR, Boston; and WITF, Harrisburg, Pa. — each won six Murrows in regional RTDNA competitions among broadcast and online news outlets. Awards for overall excellence among large market stations went to KUT in Austin, Texas, and WUNC in Chapel Hill, N.C., while WUFT and Alabama Public Radio were recognized among small-market stations in their regions. The Radio Television Digital News Association honored broadcasters across 13 multistate U.S. regions for outstanding news reporting.