Public TV won eight Peabody Awards and public radio three, the University of Georgia announced today. Bill Moyers and Jay Allison’s Transom.org received awards. WGBH won three and P.O.V., two.
“It was Alistair Cooke’s idiosyncratic mix of the momentous and the everyday that captivated his British audience and turned his Letter from America into an institution,” wrote Karen McVeigh in The Scotsman after the BBC journalist died today. Cooke was 95 and had ceased his weekly BBC Letter from America in February.
While some execs at public radio stations support NPR’s decision to find a new Morning Edition host, they are critical of the network’s handling of the change, reports the New York Times (reg. req.) “There’s a universal sense that this has been managed poorly,” says one. The Los Angeles Times reports that Bob Edwards’ resistance to having a co-host might have contributed to his fate.
Brian Lehrer, talk host at New York’s WNYC, explains in Newsday why he chose to interview Jayson Blair: “I felt that a public purpose had been served by having Blair on. Unfortunately, it was served mostly by watching a man further sink his reputation, with his words and demeanor.” (Via Romenesko.)
Linda Ellerbee views Edwards’ reassignment as a dis to boomers. A writer to the Washington Post also cites the “specter of ageism.” More: former Rewind host Bill Radke in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and editorials in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the St. Petersburg Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Washington Post.
In an online poll, 84 percent of 1,300 Seattle Times readers favor keeping Bob Edwards at the Morning Edition microphone; though he is actually a young stud, one calls him “fatherly” and another compares him to Walter Cronkite. In USA Today, CBS News star Charles Osgood says of Edwards: “If it were me, I’d have him do it forever. Every time I hear him, I think how terrific he is.” SaveBobEdwards.com, established March 24, suggests sending protest e-mails to NPR exec Jay Kernis. More than 1,400 people protest Edwards’ reassignment at Petitiononline.com.
Newspapers are finding public TV producers at work all over: investigating an old bayonet in Carlisle, Pa., for History Detectives, shooting historical sites in Boston for American Experience, documenting reading problems in El Paso for Children of the Code: The Code and the Challenge of Learning to Read It.
More on bye-bye, Bob: The demoted host tells the Washington Post that NPR programming veep Jay Kernis had said he wanted someone else in the job and speculates Kernis was “tired” of listening to him. In USA Today, Ken Stern, NPR’s executive v.p., says the decision was about “needs for years to come.” The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) grills Stern and concludes, “The demotion sounds like the kind of dumb move you might expect from commercial broadcasting, where change is often made because somebody in charge wants to make his mark.” MetaFilter readers decry the decision: “There are some things you just don’t mess with.” (More in the Boston Globe and the New York Times.)
Just as the Sandra Tsing Loh flap seemed to be winding up, KCRW has released a letter Loh wrote the station the day her show was canceled. “The discrepancy between the content and tone of this letter and the subsequent attacks on KCRW has yet to be explained,” says Ruth Seymour, KCRW’s g.m. Loh tells the L.A. Times that the statement “underscores, on a personal level, how frightening it is for individuals to take Ruth Seymour on for battle” (reg. req.). And Catherine Seipp recaps the fracas for the National Review Online.