Exposure on NPR’s Fresh Air helped land the debut album of novelty act What I Like About Jew into Amazon’s top 100 sellers, reports Reuters.

The sounds of the Philadelphia Orchestra will return to national radio thanks to a deal with NPR, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Orchestra musicians have expressed frustration since the ’90s that they have lacked a steady presence on national radio.

The New York Times has opted to sell its 50 percent stake in the Discovery Times Channel back to Discovery Communications Inc., ending its three-year-old partnership with cable network, the New York Observer reports (see earlier post). In a conference call announcing its first quarter earnings, Times CEO Janet Robinson told analysts today that the company will shift its focus to short-form programming for distribution on its recently redesigned website. “Advertisers are really coveting that,” she said (via Romenesko). The Times previously partnered with a variety of public TV shows, such as Frontline, Now with Bill Moyers, Nova and The NewsHour.

The former development director of Ann Arbor’s Michigan Radio pleaded no contest yesterday to a charge of embezzling from the station. The Detroit News reports that two other defendants, including the current g.m. of WDET-FM in Detroit, pleaded not guilty. News of the crimes did not appear to affect Michigan Radio’s spring fund drive, reports the Free Press, though pledges are down at WDET. A station exec attributes the drop to a recent format change. (Additional coverage in the Free Press.)

Some analysts believe that public radio has benefited from Howard Stern’s move to satellite radio, which left some former listeners looking for other earthbound alternatives, reports Reuters.

Orozco gives small station big-league news presence

Lance Orozco is one of Southern California’s most honored and recognized journalists. Yet he doesn’t work for the Los Angeles Times or a commercial megastation. Orozco has instead landed dozens of awards from area press groups by making an unlikely news powerhouse out of tiny KCLU-FM in Thousand Oaks, a Ventura County suburb northwest of Los Angeles. The station employs just four full-time staffers but has won a flood of praise for the extensive local coverage spearheaded by Orozco, its news director and reporting dynamo. Last month the Associated Press Television and Radio Association of California and Nevada awarded KCLU and Orozco nine of its Mark Twain Awards, including one naming him Radio Reporter of the Year.

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin reviews his network’s new blog: “NPR has a well-deserved but perhaps overstated reputation for reporting the news with great seriousness, so the initial impressions one gets from reading ‘Mixed Signals’ are: 1) Why didn’t NPR do this sooner? and 2) Who knew that the news organization with a reputation of earnestness could be so whimsical?” Dvorkin also reveals that he declined a request to turn his column into a blog.

IT Conversations is auctioning a month-long sponsorship of the podcast of Tech Nation, a show that also airs on public radio stations. Bidding opens today at $12,000. (Via Technology360.)

For the first time, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin received more complaints about left-wing bias than right-wing bias over the past quarter, he says in his latest report on listener feedback.

Consultant John Sutton plays down the hype around podcasting. “Even at 10 times the current number of downloads, podcasting will have a minimal effect on the size of the traditional public radio audience. The more immediate issue facing public radio is the long-term collective effect of podcasting, satellite radio, and soon, wireless broadband.”

Why is jazz singer Robin McKelle suddenly ranked fifth on the Amazon sales charts? It’s the “NPR effect,” says Robert Smith on Mixed Signals.

The Covenant with Black America, a book of essays edited by Tavis Smiley, has become a bestseller through radio, churches and word of mouth. “It’s selling so fast we can’t keep up with demand,” its publisher tells the Washington Post.

A Forrester Research survey found that only 1 percent of a group of web users regularly listened to podcasts, reports Adweek. (Via Technology360.)

Susan Stamberg offers Katie Couric ten tidbits of anchoring advice. No. 6: “Combing one’s hair was never a priority here, and I can’t see why it should be for you.”

NPR’s Juan Williams told Bill O’Reilly of Fox News that “these kids don’t know anything” in reference to Los Angeles students protesting immigration legislation, according to Media Matters.

McSweeney’s presents “A Rejected Submission to NPR’s ‘This I Believe.'” Money line: “But then you realize your bat does, in fact, suck.”

PBS’s winners in the 65th annual Peabody Awards include documentaries presented by American Experience, P.O.V. and American Masters. Also: the international co-productions of Bleak House, recently broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre, and a Nature film that debuts this Sunday.

The New York Times might sell its stake in the Discovery Times channel, a joint venture with Discovery Communications, the New York Observer reports. Web video will have a larger presence on the Times redesigned website, which debuted this week, and some within the paper are reportedly unsatisfied with the Discovery channel’s home in the cable “exurbs,” the Observer reports. “We have a position on the dial you couldn’t find with a Sherpa,” one Times staffer said.

Wired explores the podcasting predicament: Pubradio wants to embrace convenient new platforms, but will giving content away for free hurt the bottom line? “You can go around and say the sky is falling, or you can see [podcasts] as an opportunity,” says Ruth Seymour, g.m. of major podcaster KCRW. Another view: “All of the new delivery systems are great for the stations that produce the content. It’s not good for the local affiliate in Eau Claire, Wisconsin,” says consultant Paul Marszalek. “They’re really, really reliant on programs from elsewhere to draw listeners and members.”

Greg Guma, the new executive director of the Pacifica Foundation, reported to the network’s board last month about the big issues he’s been studying. Pacifica has also launched a new website, PacificaNetwork.org, a resource for staffers at Pacifica stations.