Ira Glass has another vision. The first one launched his hugely successful show, This American Life, which developed a fresh narrative style for public radio. Now Glass has a plan for an entirely new generation of storytellers who can bring public radio into the new millennium. But that takes talent, something that many say has been in short supply for public radio the past few years. At the Public Radio Conference last month in Orlando, the buzz about the talent crunch dominated discussions among managers, producers, editors and engineers alike.
In settling its lawsuit over the ownership of Marketplace, Public
Radio International secured its grip on its most popular programs. The agreement
will let Minnesota Public Radio proceed with its acquisition of the business
show and will extend PRI’s distribution for it and other MPR programs.
“Everybody’s happy that this went away quickly,” said Jim Russell, g.m.
of Marketplace Productions and, now, MPR’s v.p. for national programming. “The public broadcasting industry doesn’t want this kind of dirty linen
washed in public, and it’s not good for the industry. It’s not good for
funders to see this.” The suit’s resolution clears the way for the program’s transfer, to the
relief of the University of Southern California, which sold Marketplace
and The Savvy Traveler, and MPR, which bought them. The settlement,
reached May 25, gives PRI a 10-year distribution deal for Marketplace,
according to MPR, extending it well beyond its 2003 expiration.
Since she was hired as PBS president early in February , Pat Mitchell has met with 60 or 70 of public TV’s managers, and station board leaders as well, in trips to stations and at the APTS Annual Meeting. To oversee station relations, she hired the network’s former board vice chairman, Wayne Godwin, away from Cincinnati’s WCET (he starts work this week at PBS). And she’s expected to announce further initiatives starting next weekend at the PBS Annual Meeting in Nashville. Mitchell, a longtime producer in commercial TV, was previously head of Time Warner’s CNN Productions, based in Atlanta. She still has yet to pack her household and move to the D.C. area.