Breaking with his custom not to write about PBS programs until after they’ve aired, Ombudsman Michael Getler wades into the controversy over The Armenian Genocide.

Consultant and blogger Robert Paterson gives a sneak peek at a New York Times feature about NPR’s growth in the post-Kroc era, dated for Sunday. “To put it in perspective, the [Baltimore Sun] just closed my old Beijing bureau,” says Frank Langfitt, a Sun alum and NPR reporter. “NPR just opened a Shanghai bureau. It’s night and day.”

The Prometheus Radio Project says the FCC could open a filing window for full-power noncommercial FM frequencies within six months, reports Radio World.

The website for the Prairie Home Companion movie is up, complete with trailer. “Radio like you’ve never seen it before.”

“NPR over the years began taking itself enormously seriously — as it should,” says Bob Edwards in a Newsweek online article about his XM gig. “In the end I was so micromanaged that they were telling me how to pronounce syllables of words.”

Three former employees of Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor were charged this morning with felony embezzlement. They are accused of illegally taking money, food, airline tickets, furniture, a pool table and other goods and services. One former employee, Michael Coleman, is now g.m. of WDET-FM in Detroit.

Digital video recording pioneer TiVo is introducing a new service that will automatically record and aggregate educational kids programs, the Associated Press reports (via USA Today). The new tool, which will debut mid-year and be part of TiVo’s recently launched KidZone parental-control feature, will record shows tagged with the “E/I” label that denotes educational and informational programming for kids. It will also include a list of shows recommended by the Parents Television Council, Common Sense Media and Parents’ Choice Foundation. The service will be free but is only available to subscribers with standalone Series2 machines.

Kontiki Inc., the Silicon Valley company behind Open Media Network, has been bought by VeriSign Inc. for $62 million, according to, which calls Kontiki “among the few legitimate [peer-to-peer] solution providers out there and certainly the one with the most traction among the media industry.” [VeriSign news release.] The firm provides online players for the BBC, AOL and other online video contestants. Pubcasting exec Dennis Haarsager, who has worked with Kontiki chief Mike Homer to shape OMN as a model for pubcasters online, views the sale as a positive sign.

The investigation into Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor now underway includes a look at underwriting incentives given to station employees, reports the Detroit Free Press. A former account exec received a pool table, Persian rugs and meals at local restaurants in exchange for underwriting spots, according to his attorney.

A former Voice of America employee questions whether public radio stations should carry the BBC World Service without warning listeners that the service is funded by the British Foreign Office. “. . . [I]t is disturbing that a foreign broadcaster has taken such a prominent role in U.S. public radio,” writes David Pitts in the Washington Post.

“Terrestrial radio might be hyping a technology that isn’t quite ready for prime time,” writes consultant Paul Marszalek after a frustrating experience with an HD radio. “. . . The fact is, while HD’s lack of compression does sound a lot better than satellite, it just doesn’t work as well.”

Studies forecast that more people will be listening to podcasts than HD Radio by 2010. “How much are you investing in podcasting vs. HD radio?” asks Mark Ramsey.

Improperly installed satellite radios are interfering with some listeners’ enjoyment of noncommercial radio, reports the (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call.

Lamar Marchese, g.m. of Nevada Public Radio in Las Vegas, is retiring. Marchese co-founded the station in 1979.

Today Discovery Education unveils Cosmeo, the consumers’ version of its unitedstreaming service to K-12 schools. For a monthly subscription fee of less than $10, households with school-aged kids and high-speed Internet connections can buy access to curricular material from Discovery’s library, as well as that of other “educational content providers such as Scholastic Corp. and the Public Broadcasting Service,” reports the Washington Post.

The latest Audience 2010 report (PDF) sizes up the stalling of public radio’s audience growth and its impact on fundraising. This year’s individual giving could come in at least $30 million short of what it might have been had audience growth continued. Public radio “is no longer a growth industry,” the report says.

CBS’s Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian Institution announced plans for a Smithsonian On Demand service for cable TV and other multichannel distribution starting in December. They’ll offer a library of 40 hours of programming, refreshed monthly, including docs, children’s programming and event coverage. Other branded Smithsonian Networks projects are expected to follow.

Merlin Mann selects five more excellent public radio names.

Baltimore’s WYPR-FM aims to boost its wattage soon, a move which could drown out 10-watt WMUC-FM, the station operated by the University of Maryland in College Park. The tiny station is the only college station in the Washington, D.C., area.

Donovan Reynolds, who recently resigned as director of Michigan Public Media in Ann Arbor, says he prompted investigations of his station last fall by reporting “suspicious business practices” to the University of Michigan, which holds the station’s licenses. Reynolds tells the Detroit Free Press that he resigned “because serious things occurred on my watch and I had to accept responsibility.”