Consultant Robert Paterson shares some thoughts about public radio’s New Realities forum, which takes place Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C. “For many who will attend, the issue is much more than the survival and health of public radio but the survival of the last large media space in America that can be trusted,” he writes.

Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media said yesterday it’s creating a new Center for Innovation in Journalism, which will further develop its Public Insight Journalism system. APM’s national programs are now starting to use PIJ after three years’ development at MPR. In a Nieman Foundation report (PDF) last year, Michael Skoler, the MPR news exec who will direct the new center, described the system that uses Internet and database technologies to gather a large pool of volunteer news sources. MPR raised $2.25 million for the project in its capital campaign and topped the new wing of its St. Paul headquarters with a meeting room designed for in-person gatherings of PIJ sources.

Mara Liasson, filling in this week as NPR’s Mixed Signals blogger, says she was “jolted” by a MasterCard ad — uh, underwriting credit — packaged with the web-only All Songs Considered.

WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill, N.C., is aiming to expand its presence in nearby Greensboro, a move which could increase competition with WFDD-FM in Winston-Salem, reports the Triad Business Journal. Jay Banks, WFDD’s g.m., calls the prospect “frightening.”

Joel Achenbach, a sometime science writer for the Washington Post and National Geographic, is spring cleaning his old files. He ponders a file about Carl Sagan, the late astronomer and PBS star, plunders some good quotes and (this is not a surprise ending) decides to keep Sagan around.

Earlier this month, PBS apparently strapped webcams onto several cows and launched MooTube, a bovine blog and video site promoting WNET’s Texas Ranch House, set to debut May 1. “Ladies and gentleman, it is now official . . . the Internet is a wasteland,” wrote TV blogger Richard Keller.

PBS has tapped SES AMERICOM to provide the satellite network for the PBS Next Generation Interconnection System, the network announced Monday. The current public TV interconnection system uses SES AMERICOM satellites as well. The NGIS, which will move the system from traditional program stream broadcasting to digital, non-real-time program file delivery, is scheduled to go into service later this year.

CPB has issued a Request for Proposals for a study that will analyze coverage and interference issues related to HD Radio. “CPB is concerned with the disenfranchisement of listeners due to the loss of services public radio currently provides to them and the underperformance or lack of HD service (i.e., technical availability) when the conversion of public radio stations to HD is complete,” the RFP says.

National pubcasting orgs launched a website earlier this month designed to generate grassroots support as the system tries to stave off proposed federal funding cuts, reports the New York Times. In its first week, the website,, generated “a couple thousand” e-mail messages to Congress from 39 states, said Mike Riksen, NPR’s v.p. for government relations.