NPR commentator Cokie Roberts will sit on President Bush’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. A rep for ABC News, Roberts’ employer, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer the appointment raises no conflict of interest. But Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR’s ombudsman, told Current, “I’m not sure that it’s a good idea at this time.”

WXPN-FM in Philadelphia hired Roger LaMay, former manager of a Fox TV affiliate, as general manager. The Associated Press profiles the station, which will move next year to a $9 million space including studios, performaces stages and a “World Cafe” restaurant.

“In Washington, where you sit is almost always more important than what you say,” and PBS’s Jim Lehrer rubbed elbows with President Bush at a lunchtime media briefing yesterday, notes The Washington Post. (Second item.)

NPR’s Jason Beaubien and two other reporters were detained in Zimbabwe yesterday.

Christopher Lydon’s return to public radio also lands him in the Boston Globe.

The FCC is seeking comment on proposed DTV rules for channel election, replication and maximization requirements as part of its second periodic review of the digital TV transition. The commission is also soliciting comments on whether there are steps it could take to help public TV stations during the conversion. Read press release. See full NPRM.

CNBC, home of ex-PBS star Louis Rukeyser, is adding celebrity editor Tina Brown to its roster of hosts. The cable net is shifting away from heavy stock market coverage and scheduling programs that are “branded toward people who are smart, curious and interested in a more sophisticated take on the issues,” said CNBC President Pamela Thomas-Graham in the New York Times.

Triple-A strikes chord with disenchanted listeners

One musical voice gaining ground on public radio sounds a little scruffier than the rest. Rather than a viola or sax, it bears a six-string axe and a heavier backbeat than your average chamber ensemble. Triple-A, an eclectic format that blends rock, folk, blues, world music and other genres, has already proven popular and lucrative for stations such as New York’s WFUV, Philadelphia’s WXPN and southern California’s KCRW. But smaller stations in fly-over country, inspired by the format’s major-market success, are also displacing jazz and classical music for newer musical genres that carry themselves like outsiders. As a result, listeners may be tuning in to the sultry lilt of young chanteuse Norah Jones or the twang of O Brother blues rather than Mozart and Gershwin.

How should NPR handle the sticky situation of reporting on itself? Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin takes on the question in his “Media Matters” column.