Mo’ better radio

Believe it or not, there’s a stone tablet full of radio principles guiding This American Life. Ira Glass laid them out in a talk …

High court upholds authority of Arkansas network in debate case

The broadcast decision that embroiled Arkansas ETV in a landmark First Amendment struggle ever since 1992 was “a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral exercise of journalistic discretion,” the Supreme Court ruled May 18. The high court’s 6-3 ruling overturned an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in 1996 that the state network had infringed House candidate Ralph P. Forbes’ free-speech rights by refusing to add him to the two major-party nominees in a broadcast debate more than five years ago. “This is a great decision for viewers,” and will let the network continue airing candidate debates, said Susan Howarth, executive director of the five-transmitter state network, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “The majority opinion gives us as much or more than we thought we would win in our most optimistic moments,” said the elated Richard D. Marks, attorney for Arkansas ETV. Marks had pictured the Circuit Court’s 1996 decision as “a grave threat” to state-owned pubcasters that could undercut their ability to make editorial judgments.

CTW finds its cable outlet: a venture with Nickelodeon

In a partnership that aims to position educational children’s programs at the forefront
of the digital cable movement, Viacom’s Nickelodeon cable network and Children’s
Television Workshop last week announced plans to launch a new network for kids, to be
called Noggin. The long-anticipated channel will feature programs from each partner’s library,
including old episodes of the venerable Sesame Street, to serve both preschoolers
and school-aged children. Early plans call for it to run without commercials, drawing
revenues solely from cable-operator fees. “In an era when many television networks have abandoned their responsibility to do
more than just entertain, we are extremely proud to be joining with the long-standing
leader in kids’ educational programming, CTW, to bring Noggin to life,” said Herb
Scannell, president of Nickelodeon. “We hope to make learning cool, through

Ambrosino and ‘Nova’: making stories that go ‘bang’

In the first of May in 1971, Michael Ambrosino sat at his desk at 25 Wetherby Gardens in London writing a six-page, single-spaced letter to Michael Rice, vice president for programs at WGBH, Boston. “This project in science,” he wrote, “would begin to fill an appalling gap in PBS service. It would attempt to explain and relate science to a public that must be aware of its impact. “The strand would be broad enough to cover all of science and . .