American Masters to shine light on reclusive author J.D. Salinger for 200th episode

The author of The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey died in January 2010 after living for more than 50 years as a recluse in Cornish, N.H. Shortly after news of his death emerged, Hollywood screenwriter Shane Salerno announced he had been covertly working on Salinger, an independent documentary probing the author’s sheltered existence. Susan Lacy, American Masters executive producer, learned of Salerno’s film while attempting to procure the rights to an unrelated Salinger biography for the program. Salerno — whose screenplay credits include Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and Oliver Stone’s Savages — agreed to produce his film for American Masters after Lacy contacted him. Salerno is a fan of American Masters and says he taught himself the craft of documentary filmmaking by watching the biography series.

Nine Network of St. Louis recognized as ‘Best of the Best’ in 2012 NETA Awards

The St. Louis public TV station's Nine Academy, a program that trains individuals and community organizations to produce short videos on stories of “community impact,” received special recognition among the awards presented during NETA’s recent conference in St. Louis. In honoring the academy as the top winner in its annual awards program, NETA cited the station for groundbreaking community work. NETA recognized 20 public TV stations in 30 categories spread across four divisions — community engagement, content production, instructional media and promotion.

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.

Robert Kotlowitz, father of pubTV icon series, dies at 87

Robert Kotlowitz, a pioneering public broadcaster at New York’s WNET who developed several public television series that became signature PBS programs — including a half-hour evening news show featuring Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil in 1973 — died Aug. 25 at his home in New York City after battling prostate cancer. He was 87. The New York Times described Kotlowitz as “a novelist and editor who reluctantly became a public television executive in 1971 and went on to help shape a lineup of homegrown and imported shows — including The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, Live at the Met, Dance in America and Brideshead Revisited — that represent a high-water mark in American television.”

Kotlowitz had just resigned from Harper’s Magazine in 1971 when John Jay Iselin, then the new president of WNET, offered him a job. Kotlowitz had never been inside a television studio.

WXEL staff

Closure, finally, in sale of Palm Beach pubTV station

Eight years after the “For Sale” sign first went up on WXEL-TV/FM, the transaction resolving the future of pubcasting in Florida’s affluent Palm Beach region finally closed last month. WXEL-TV, which split from its radio sibling in a 2011 sale to American Public Media Group’s Classical South Florida, is to be transferred to a nonprofit headed by the execs who have managed the station through years of uncertainty...

Karen Everhart and Steve Behrens

Current transition: Behrens to Everhart

Karen Everhart, senior editor of Current for 20 years, will succeed founding editor Steve Behrens after this edition. Larry Kirkman, dean of the American University School of Communication, appointed Everhart as interim managing editor. She joined Current in 1992 and covered public TV for 16 years before moving to the public radio beat in 2007. The school, with support from the Wyncote Foundation, took responsibility for publishing Current a year ago. Behrens, 63, gave notice last fall that he’d retire from the position in six months. Before leaving the premises, he will coordinate the relaunch of Current.org this spring, at long last, using WordPress as a content management system.