With CPB support, public radio Triple A stations team up to showcase music videos

PHILADELPHIA — A new website and mobile app backed by CPB will showcase videos of new and emerging bands, produced by five partnering public radio stations that specialize in contemporary music. The $750,000 CPB grant was announced Thursday at the opening day of the Non-Commvention, an annual conference for Triple A station programmers hosted by Philadelphia’s WXPN. The station is one of the partners in the project, which has the working title “Music X.” The other stations are KTBG in Kansas City, Mo.; KUTX in Austin, Texas; WFUV in New York; and KCRW in Los Angeles. A national umbrella site will showcase the best videos, and stations will also curate channels with their own brands for local audiences. A click-and-drag interface will enable curation for local apps and sites.

WFUV seeks membership boost with new mix of music

New York’s WFUV has expanded its music mix and dropped NPR newscasts, with a goal of enticing more listeners to become members. Starting this month, the Triple A station broadened its playlists and added more local music to its lineup. Listeners might now hear musicians such as Prince, the Clash and Arcade Fire in close proximity, while classic artists such as Aretha Franklin, Queen, and Hall and Oates are still represented. WFUV is also featuring more new music as it aims to buttress its reputation for introducing listeners to up-and-coming artists. Program Director Rita Houston and her colleagues were happy with recent growth in WFUV’s audience, from an average–quarter-hour share of 0.2 in spring 2012 to 0.4 a year later.

Pubradio backs musical acts at SXSW festival

Public radio will be well-represented at the musical portion of the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, March 13–16. The NPR Music showcase March 13 will feature the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performing new songs from their forthcoming album Mosquito, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mexican rockers Café Tacvba and others. Audio of the live set at 8 p.m. Eastern will be offered for station broadcast and distributed online; NPR Music will also offer a live video stream through its website and mobile apps. Café Tacvba will put in double duty and appear in a March 14 showcase arranged by NPR Music’s Alt.Latino channel, along with Molotov, also from Mexico. Rounding out the lineup is Bajofondo, a band led by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who has scored films including Brokeback Mountain and The Motorcycle Diaries.

Live From Lincoln Center creator departs, McGee replaces Fornatale at WFUV, and more…

John Goberman has produced more than 200 live national telecasts since launching the PBS performance series more than three decades ago. Goberman was cited by Symphony Magazine as one of the 50 most important individuals making a difference in American music. He pioneered the video and audio technology by which concerts, opera, ballets and plays could be telecast during live performances without disruption of performers and audiences. His television work has garnered 13 national Emmy Awards, three Peabodys and the first Television Critics Circle Award for Achievement in Music. Goberman plans to focus on producing another type of performance that he helped to pioneer — “Symphonic Cinema,” in which orchestral scores are performed live to the films for which they were originally commissioned.

Ann Thompson

NPR hires two reporters, WXXI news director rappels down 21 stories, and more…

Leila Fadel, Cairo bureau chief for the Washington Post, signs on as NPR’s Cairo-based correspondent in July. She covered the Iraq War for almost five years and won a George Polk Award in 2007 for her reporting from Baghdad. She replaces Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, who will report from Kabul, Afghanistan, and then Berlin. Gregory Warner, a senior reporter for American Public Media’s Marketplace, will join NPR as East Africa correspondent, based in Nairobi, Kenya, in December. Warner now covers the economics and business of healthcare, but he’s previously reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the DR Congo.

Reber leaves NPR; Arganbright, Appleby launch firm; and more…

CIR has hired ex-NPR investigative news head Susanne Reber. As senior coordinating editor for multiplatform projects and investigations for the nonprofit newsroom, Reber will lead national and international investigative and enterprise reporting projects, and guide the center’s team of health and environment reporters. Reber joined NPR in January 2010 to build and lead the network’s first investigative unit as deputy managing editor of investigations. She left NPR this month, according to a May 8 memo by NPR News chief Margaret Low Smith that was published on the Poynter Institute website. Smith put Senior National Editor Steve Drummond in charge of investigations while NPR determines “next steps for the unit’s leadership,” she wrote in the memo.

Peace declared in the great Bronx tower war

At a feel-good press conference May 13, all parties hailed the resolution of a decade-long fight over the tower of Fordham University’s WFUV-FM in New York City.The Daily News likened the scene to a Rose Garden peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Even Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a joint news release endorsing Montefiore Medical Center’s offer to put the antenna atop its residential building. The new site is one-and-a-half miles from the scene of the station’s festering dispute with the nearby New York Botanical Garden, which says the present tower spoils the surroundings. Ralph Jennings, WFUV’s g.m., is saving his big hooray for the day when the station starts transmitting from the new tower. With its new antenna nearly 500 feet above average terrain and radiating 50 kilowatts of power, the station will reach farther into Brooklyn, Westchester County and Connecticut, instantly doubling its potential audience to more than 13 million.