PBS cancels Market Warriors series from Antiques Roadshow producer

This item has been updated and reposted with additional information. PBS is ending production of Market Warriors, the much-anticipated series that premiered in July 2012 as a partner program to longtime ratings hit Antiques Roadshow, according to a March 14 WGBH internal memo to employees. Marsha Bemko, executive producer of both programs, today told Current the decision was PBS’s and declined further comment. The demise of the series triggered several layoffs. The memo said that Field Producer Rebecca Donahue and Editors Peter Hyzak and Sean Sandefur left WGBH the week of March 4, while Senior Producer John Kalish, Associate Producer Joey Toppan, Production Assistant Rebecca Taylor and Assistant Editor Jim Fetela departed on Friday. Continue Reading

Chris Lydon returns to Boston airwaves as WGBH-FM contributor

Former radio host Christopher Lydon will return to the Boston airwaves as a weekly contributor to Boston Public Radio, a daily local news/talk show on WGBH-FM. Lydon will appear on the show Thursdays to discuss current events with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, who debuted as hosts Monday. The duo formerly hosted a show on commercial talk station WTKK in Boston, which switched format last month. WGBH also announced that Emily Rooney, host of Greater Boston on WGBH’s TV channel, will be Friday’s featured guest. Rooney previously served as a Boston Public Radio co-host. Continue Reading

Downton Abbey season finale nets 8.2 million viewers

The third-season finale of Downton Abbey drew 8.2 million viewers for its Feb. 17 PBS broadcast, the network and WGBH announced Feb. 19. The numbers come from Nielsen and gave the episode a 5.2 household rating. The episode came in with 50 percent more viewers than the season two finale in 2012 and also drew 300,000 more fans than this year's season premiere. Continue Reading

WGBH settles with Justice Department over alleged mishandling of federal grants

This item has been updated and reposted with additional information. WGBH has agreed to pay more than $300,000 in a civil settlement with the U.S Attorney's Office to resolve allegations that it improperly tracked and accounted for federal grant money, The Associated Press is reporting. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz told AP that from 2005–08 the Boston pubcaster maintained an inadequate accounting system for tracking grant expenditures. The settlement, announced Thursday, is for damages incurred by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. WGBH spokesperson Jeanne Hopkins told Current that the settlement involves a payment equal to the error rate of half a percent to one percent of the total value of the grants, which was $60 million. Continue Reading

WBUR entering Cape Cod market with purchase of WMVY

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. Continue Reading

WBGO chief engineer David Tallacksen, left, and news director Doug Doyle kept the jazz station broadcasting during Superstorm Sandy from a makeshift studio in Tallacksen's apartment. (Photo: Andrew Meyer)

Pubcasters battered by Superstorm Sandy

When Superstorm Sandy slammed into the most populated region of the United States Oct. 29, claiming at least 90 lives and wreaking havoc on everything in its path, public broadcasting stations along the Eastern Seaboard couldn’t escape the storm’s wrath. Continue Reading

Great Expectations exceeds expectations by winning four of PBS’s 11 Creative Arts Primetime Emmys

As a Masterpiece production competing against other miniseries, movies and specials, Great Expectations received Emmys for outstanding achievement in costume design (Annie Symons, Yvonne Duckett), art direction (David Roger, Paul Ghirardani, Jo Kornstein), main title design (Nic Benns, Rodi Kaya, Tom Browich) and cinematography (Florian Hoffmeister). In addition, the Masterpiece production Page Eight won an Emmy for original main title theme music (Paul Englishby). Other PBS winners included the Independent Lens production Have You Heard From Johannesburg, a seven-part series about the global anti-apartheid movement that received a juried award for exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking. Cited were Connie Field, producer; Lois Vossen, series senior producer; and Sally Jo Fifer, executive producer. Geoffrey Ward received the Emmy for nonfiction writing for scripting Ken Burns’s Prohibition: A Nation of Hypocrites. Continue Reading