Spirits rise as PBS acts: science, kids, on demand

During a PBS Showcase meeting distinguished by a sense of optimism that public TV had emerged stronger after last year’s political troubles, public TV executives unveiled their plans to make more PBS content available to viewers on demand, to expand children’s programming and pilot new primetime science series. “The digital revolution cannot be ignored. … It is calling us to reinvent ourselves on a seemingly daily basis,” said new PBS President Paula Kerger, during a May 17 speech that opened the conference in Orlando, Fla. “We need to expand the menu of services we offer for the era of ‘my time’ TV,” said WGBH President Henry Becton later that day.

Moyers commends optimism: Get up and try to be more

When Bill Moyers took the podium May 17 [2006] at PBS Showcase in Orlando, Fla., he stepped up to accept PBS’s “Be More” Award, an honor recognizing PBS contributors who inspire viewers. His acceptance speech [full text] exhorted public broadcasting itself to be more. He admitted having “optimism of the will,” which means, contrary to the grim view of his reportorial eye, he expects a positive future and gets up every day to bring it about. Pubcasting’s leadership also gives him hope. He knew Paula Kerger at WNET, before she became PBS president.

KUOW launches second FM service

Seattle’s KUOW-FM will launch a second news/talk service on KXOT-FM in Tacoma starting July 1. The station will carry national news and information programs not already airing on KUOW. KXOT is owned by Public Radio Capital and was previously operated by KEXP-FM, which was unable to keep up payments on the station and let it go dark in January.

Gwathmey to retire

Joe Gwathmey is retiring as president of Texas Public Radio in San Antonio. Gwathmey was a member of NPR’s founding board of directors and one of the network’s first employees.

KOCE sale invalidated by court

The fate of the Los Angeles area’s second largest pubTV station is up in the air again after a state appeals court on Friday nixed the sale of KOCE to a nonprofit affiliated with the station. The seller, a community college district in Orange County, must either keep the station or put it up for sale again, the Los Angeles Times reported. Selling KOCE to the nonprofit instead of a higher-bidding religious broadcaster was “the rankest form of favoritism,” the court concluded after rehearing the case. Daystar, the religious broadcasting chain, filed a separate suit alleging discrimination. The nonprofit now operating KOCE thought it wrapped up the purchase in October 2003.

StoryCorps puts flesh on bones of history

Danny and Annie Perasa enjoyed the sort of dream marriage promised in diamond ads and sappy romantic comedies, only it all actually happened. All the laughs, the finished sentences, the little love letters — “glorified weather reports,” Annie called them — that Danny would leave for “my princess” each morning on the kitchen table at home in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. All the funny stories. Like the one about Danny, with his monumentally bad eyesight, mistaking a herd of goats in St. Martin for a pack of “really incredible leaping dogs.” Or about the time he befriended a crew of Hells Angels on Long Island, who put him on the back of a chopper and gave him a lift to the train station.