stephen hill : spatial relations: HD is DOA

Stephen Hill looks at the shortcomings of HD Radio as compared to other emerging technologies: “Of the major usage trends that are driving the growth of Internet radio — new ‘long tail’ niche and alternative content, on-demand delivery, user-created content, podcasting (subcriptions and portability), and time-shifting — only time-shifting is even doable with HD, and then only in a relatively crippled way due to memory and interface constraints. Even this undermines the one incontestable advantage of conventional radio: ease of use.” UPDATE: Dennis Haarsager chips in: “If ‘HD’ is going to work, we need patience, some advanced features beyond the ones we now have that are implied in the mark-up language, some smart business thinking about multicasting and PAD features — and some luck. Oh, and a better name.”

Jake Shapiro on listener support for new media

Jake Shapiro ponders the place of voluntary financial support in a new-media environment: “. . . [E]ven if the underwriting revenue does the trick, I think there’s something important to continue and to redefine in the invitation for voluntary support.”

Profile 2006

Impress your friends at parties this summer with your encyclopedic knowledge of NPR’s Profile 2006! Tell them over hors d’oeuvres what percentage of NPR listeners play bingo (2.83 percent)! While smoking a fine cigar, let drop that 29.32 percent of NPR listeners have bought underwear in the last year. You’ll be the toast of the town. Now get reading!

Once the feisty advocate for indies, AIVF fades to black

The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, a 30-year-old group that coordinated activism and provided networking and training for independent filmmakers, shuttered its offices and shut down operations in late June. The Manhattan-based association told members in March that it faced a financial crisis, but an emergency fundraising appeal didn’t generate enough contributions to maintain operations. The AIVF Board is looking for another group to take over publication of The Independent, AIVF’s monthly magazine. Although the board considered a scenario of eventually resuming operations, it’s unlikely that the association will revive, said Bart Weiss, organizer of the Dallas Video Festival and board president. “I wish it could, but I don’t see how it could happen,” he said.

Ex-WUOM salesman guilty

A former underwriting rep for Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor was convicted July 26 of conspiracy to commit embezzlement, the Ann Arbor Times reported. Jeremy Nordquist was one of three former employees tried in the investigation. (Earlier coverage in Current.) targets ‘NPR-PBS 24’ is soliciting donations for a campaign to “Beat the NPR-PBS 24”–the 24 members of Congress up for reelection who voted to cut pubcasting’s federal aid. “With your help, together we can retire enough of these representatives to tip the balance on this issue—and send a signal that cutting public broadcasting comes with a political price,” writes’s “Political Action Team” in an e-mail solicitation [Via].

Grassroots Radio Conference

Chicago Public Radio’s Julie Shapiro blogs about the Grassroots Radio Conference, which begins tomorrow in Madison, Wis. “though i respect, not to mention adore the community of public radio producers i’ve come to know over the past six years, the public radio system at large feels pretty sterile, isolated and starched compared with the sometimes crazy, often manic and totally dedicated community station devotees,” she writes.

Media cos. want parents, not the FCC, to control kids’ TV viewing

Commercial networks, broadcast, cable and consumer electronics trade associations, film studios and the Ad Council are partnering on a broad campaign to educate parents about V-chips, cable channel blocking and other tools and techniques for controlling what kids see on TV, reports Broadcasting & Cable. A new website,, is the cornerstone of the campaign, which is an effort to stave off federal content regulation as FCC leaders aggressively police broadcast indecency and support a la carte cable models.

PBS Kids Sprout cans “technical virgin”

Digital cable net PBS Kids Sprout fired Melanie Martinez, host of the network’s nightly The Good Night Show, for appearing in two spoof videos titled Technical Virgin, the Associated Press reports (via the Washington Post). The videos, produced before Martinez joined the kids network, parody PSAs about how young women can keep their virginity. “PBS Kids Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character’s credibility with our audience,” said Sandy Wax, network president.

Cringely: Print still beats the web for news

Longtime Internet journalist Robert X. Cringely, columnist, outlines the ways in which musty old newspapers are still far superior to web news outlets. “The Internet is, in fact, the idiot savant of journalism,” he writes, “supremely good at a thing or two and not at all good at anything else.” | Native American channel launching?

A host on WPFW-FM in Washington, D.C., has joined the effort to launch a cable channel for Native Americans. “We can see the culture, the history, the issues, the everyday life — the smiles and the frowns — of Native Americans,” says Jay Winter Nightwolf in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Nightwolf is news director and chief of television and radio program production for Native American Television Inc.

WTWP Radio Gets Off to a Slow, But Game Start

Washington Post Radio in Washington, D.C., earned less than a one percent audience share in its first three months on the air, the paper reports. “It’s in the low range of what we expected,” says station exec Jim Farley, who has made clear his intent to draw listeners away from the city’s public radio outlets.

Sirius admits modulators are out of compliance

Sirius Satellite Radio has admitted that it directed manufacturers to make radios that did not comply with FCC regulations, reports Radio World. Radio listeners have complained that satellite radios in nearby cars at times drown out terrestrial stations at the lower end of the dial, posing a problem for some public and Christian stations. Also in Radio World: A Media Audit study found that listeners to NPR-formatted stations have the second-highest incomes among listeners to more than 60 radio formats.

Todd Mundt returns to Iowa to head IPR’s Content Media Efforts

Todd Mundt will join Iowa Public Radio in Des Moines next month as director of content and media. Mundt now serves as chief content officer at Michigan Public Media in Ann Arbor. On his blog, he writes, “I’m excited because there’s a chance for Iowa to be one of the leaders in re-imagining the partnership we have with our audience.”