Tavis Smiley will leave his NPR show Dec. 16. In an e-mail to stations, he appears to blame NPR for failing “to meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio, but simply don’t know it exists or what it offers.”
A Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist draws a distinction between the “corporate” nature of Minnesota Public Radio and the “small, funky and extremely local” stations in the state that are banding together to raise their profile against MPR’s.
“Just how many conservatives does it take to balance out one wily progressive?” asks the Village Voice as it observes Bill Moyers’ departure from public TV. “And now that Moyers is gone, do they really need all this firepower to balance out . . .
KPBS in San Diego begins broadcasting to Calexico, Calif., today on a newly acquired FM frequency. Calexico and the surrounding area formerly lacked an English-language public radio service, one of few such regions in the country.
FCC FM Auction 37 rolls on, and Boston’s WGBH has the high bid of nearly $4 million on a channel in Brewster, Mass. Most other pubcasters have been knocked out of the bidding. Meanwhile, at least two pubcasters — WKGC in Panama City, Fla., and Unalaska Community Broadcasting in Unalaska, Alaska — are likely to get AM stations in FCC AM Auction 84. Forms are due Jan. 18.
Blogger Michael Petrelis learned that NPR news staffers Corey Flintoff and Michelle Trudeau donated to the campaigns of John Kerry and Howard Dean, violating NPR’s ethics codes. In a response to Petrelis, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin addressed the issue in his latest online column, and the Chicago Reader takes it up as well. Meanwhile, NPR reporter Eric Weiner writes in the Christian Science Monitor that Palestinians should practice nonviolence. Other NPR reporters have previously sounded off on current events, raising questions about proper ethical conduct.
Garrison Keillor will launch Literary Friendships next year, a five-show series featuring writers who are friends talking about their work and relationships. Guests will include Sandra Cisneros, Michael Chabon and Robert Bly.
Bob Edwards tells the Boston Globe that he threatened to sue NPR over the network’s suggestions that he was booted from Morning Edition because he declined to have a co-host. In fact, Edwards says, he was never offered the option. Newly installed at XM Radio, Edwards will visit Boston’s WBUR tonight in celebration of Morning Edition’s 25th anniversary.
The BBC said it replaced the late Alistair Cooke’s Friday night Letter from America (at least temporarily) with A View from reports by correspondents in America, Australia, China, Brazil, South Africa, India and the Caribbean. The U.S. voice is Tim Egan, a New York Times reporter in Seattle. David Stewart describes Cooke’s longtime weekly Letter.
Pop Vultures host Kate Sullivan announced on Transom.org and her weblog that her show’s funders have decided to pull the plug. “The death of PV was due to a confluence of forces,” she said. “It wasn’t the weirdness of the show per se that killed it.”