A new report from Audience Research Analysis (PDF) begins to address public radio’s recent stagnation in audience growth by looking at some listening trends. One observation: “At a time when many station managers seem certain that airing more local programming is their best competitive strategy, listeners are generally showing less interest in listening to it.”

“[T]he few extra bucks aren’t worth it.” PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler writes that WGBH and PBS erred by allowing the Las Vegas Convention Authority and other local groups to underwrite Las Vegas: An Unconventional History.

The Traffic Directors Guild of America is completing its annual salary survey for traffic continuity, office and business managers in public and commercial broadcasting. The online survey ends Friday, Dec. 16. Results will be published in mid-January. For more information on the guild, see its website.

CPB seeks to award a three-year contract to a distributor of programming to Native radio stations.

The audience of WETA-FM in Washington, D.C. is “smaller, no more generous than the classical audience was, and no more reflective of the demographics of the Washington area” 10 months after the station dropped classical music in favor of news, writes the Washington Post’s Marc Fisher. (Earlier coverage in Current.)

CPB Chair Cheryl Halpern personally co-funded, with El Al Airlines, a joint exhibition of 61 paintings by 50 young Israelis and Palestinians, and trips to London for four teenage artists for the opening at the Ben Uri Gallery, the Hampstead and Highgate Express reported last week. The peace-minded paintings featured such images as doves flying over the Mideast and the Palestinian and Israeli flags flying side by side. The exhibit closes Dec. 23.

A ruling on the fate of KALW-FM in San Francisco is expected later this month, reports the East Bay Express. Station execs are accused of misrepresenting the state of their public file. [Details of the FCC accusation in 2004 FCC document, in Word format: Commission orders hearing on whether KALW lied.]

Seattle’s KEXP-FM went ahead with plans to lease a signal in Tacoma despite opposition from many senior staffers, reports the Seattle Weekly. The station recently cut the satellite frequency loose to shore up its finances.

An Editor & Publisher columnist suggests that newspapers might get a new lease on life by emulating public broadcasting’s nonprofit model.

Conservative columnist George Will takes aim at congressional plans to subsidize DTV converter boxes. “Call it No Couch Potato Left Behind,” he writes.

NPR’s entry into podcasting is going “spectacularly well,” says Ken Stern, executive v.p., in Radio World. (Earlier coverage in Current.)

Pubradio consultant John Sutton ponders the idea of “news fatigue” in his latest blog post. “‘News fatigue’ sounds like a handy answer to questions about public radio’s audience decline,” he writes. “But it is a ‘blame the listener’ response.”

Media activist Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy has asked PBS’s new ombudsman to see whether the network’s underwriting rules are permitting underwriters to back programs that serve their interests. He cites the recent American Experience history of Las Vegas, underwritten by the city’s tourist authority and a foundation related to the Las Vegas Sun. [Current article.] WGBH told Current that most funding for the show came from usual series sources not related to Las Vegas and that none of the funders saw the program before underwriting the episode.

Peggy Girshman, NPR’s assistant managing editor, shares a recipe for tri-color butter cookie swirls in advance of the annual NPR Cookie Day.

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin reads a 1988 article about NPR and laments that his network has lost some of its past quirkiness.

The Bergen (N.J.) Record profiles WFMU-FM in Jersey City, N.J., and music director Brian Turner. “One of the things I really love about music is discovering and finding out about all these things that dwell on the margins that you didn’t even know existed,” Turner says. Also: a blogger listens to (almost) nothing but WFMU for a week and lives to tell the tale.

The Chicago Tribune reviews Sound Opinions, a rock-criticism radio show that jumped from commercial radio to Chicago’s WBEZ-FM last weekend. The debut “kept things punchy and unprofessorial,” writes Steve Johnson.

A recent This American Life segment about Africa (RealAudio) dismayed a blogger with experience in the country. “In the only story in 2005 I can recall that mentioned Africa, you . . . managed to reinforce the majority of stupid Africa stereotypes I’ve encountered in 12 years of working on African issues and periodically living on the continent.”

It’s OK: Despite son’s disability, laughter is allowed in this film

The title character of The Teachings of Jon is a middle-aged North Carolina man with Down syndrome who has an IQ of 20, can’t speak and has a job that pulls in 27 cents a week. “But my film is not about Down syndrome at all,” says Jennifer Owensby, producer, director — and Jon’s younger sister. She says the documentary is not really about Jon, either. “My brother can’t be the main character because my brother never changes. It’s my family and the audience as they’re watching who become the main character.”

The Teachings of Jon offers an entertaining short course on family values, albeit as embodied by a somewhat unorthodox family.

In a farewell delivered on the final installment of PBS’s Journal Editorial Report, Paul Gigot thanked his producers, former CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson and viewers. “To the many PBS stations that carried us around the country, thank you for your commitment to public affairs programming that represents more than one point of view,” Gigot said. “We wish every station shared that commitment.”