KCET.org showcases indie gaming

KCET.org launched a special feature on the independent movement within the gaming industry. Flow, a New Age Pac-Man of the sea, is the first of four independent games to be showcased on the site.

Daniel Schorr, Doing 90 in a 30 Zone

NPR honored Daniel Schorr on the occasion of his upcoming 90th birthday with a luncheon yesterday, reports the Washington Post, but didn’t invite the press. “It’s absurd!” Schorr told the paper. “I don’t want to start an argument with NPR, but I regret that. And I apologize.”

A radio tradition that we tune out

A Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist addresses the idiosyncratic block of ethnic programming that airs Sundays on the city’s WCPN-FM. “It’s a throwback,” writes Tom Feran. “Personally, I wish [WCPN] would throw it back.”

WFMU’s four million page views

Ken Freedman, g.m. of WFMU-FM in Jersey City, N.J., commemorates his blog’s four millionth page view with an analysis of web stats. “52% of y’all are still using Internet Explorer – are you out of your minds?”

Geezer pundits and Marilyn Monroe

Commentary by geezer pundits smother the subject of Marilyn Monroe: Still Life, an American Masters biography debuting on PBS tonight, writes New York Times critic Virginia Hefferman.

WNYC’s Planned Move Will Finish Its Breakup With the City – New York Times

The New York Times takes note of WNYC’s move from its shabby headquarters in the city’s Municipal Building to a $45 million space downtown. “In a place where the phones work and the toilets flush, we can focus better on making radio,” says President Laura Walker. (Current article from 2004 about WNYC’s transition from city control to independence.)

Shearer strikes back

Harry Shearer told Le Show listeners last weekend that Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison canceled his show due to unhappiness with political content, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. Phil Corriveau, WPR’s director, admits that it was a “small factor,” but adds: “[S]ometimes he tends to ramble on, and it gets kind of boring.”

NPR rallies system to jointly build ‘trusted space’

NPR launched the next phase of public radio’s New Realities process last week, releasing an ambitious plan to strengthen ties with listeners and foster better collaboration within the system. In its 12-page Blueprint for Growth, released to general managers July 12, NPR said it will work with stations and other system partners to develop a “News Network of the Future,” a web-based music service and an infrastructure to support distribution of digital content. The network will also lead efforts to raise major gifts to support these ventures. But the blueprint goes further by asking stakeholders in public radio to reconsider their relationships with their audiences and each other. Members of the public radio community must shift their focus from competing with each other to uniting against competition from other media, the blueprint says.

Indecency’s winding road, 1978-2006

July 3, 1978
FCC v. Pacifica Foundation: The Supreme Court upheld the FCC’s right to ban indecent speech when children could be expected to be in the audience. Pacifica’s WBAI in New York had aired George Carlin’s “Filthy Words” monologue in the afternoon of Oct. 30, 1973. Upshot: Confirmed both the FCC’s right to regulate indecent language and its definition of such speech as that which depicts “sexual or excretory activities or organs in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium.” Indecent material falls short of obscenities, which are banned at all hours. Aug.

Paterson on Sievers

Consultant Robert Paterson says that NPR’s packaging of Leroy Sievers’ “My Cancer” series is “a pointer for the future of public radio.” “It expands the 5 minute radio spot into infinity and allows the interested person to escape time and space,” Paterson writes.

PBS Kids Go! channel: plan is no-go for now

After fewer than half of PBS stations made commitments to carry a proposed multicast channel for school-aged children, the network pulled back its plan to launch PBS Kids Go! as a fully packaged DTV multicasting service in October. The network is instead exploring its options to distribute school-age fare via video-on-demand or broadband platforms.

“I don’t want to bring up a service and not have the resources to support it,” said PBS President Paula Kerger, who announced the decision to stations July 6 [2006]. Only one-third of public TV licensees expressed interest in paying for Go! as an a la carte service, while PBS needed buy-in from least half, she said.

Pubcasters concerned about CPB nominee

Some pubcasting leaders aren’t happy about surprise CPB Board nominee Warren Bell, a TV producer and contributor to the online version of the conservative National Review, reports the Los Angeles Times. “We are definitely concerned about Warren Bell’s nomination,” said APTS President John Lawson. “After the damage caused by Ken Tomlinson’s activities, the last thing we need on the CPB board is another ideologue of any stripe.”

Research into podcasting

Is your station podcasting, and if so how are you handling it? An Ohio University researcher is inquiring. Rachel M. Ward, a graduate student in the school’s public broadcasting program, has distributed her survey to radio managers and posted it on the Web. She says stations’ identities will not be linked to their replies in her work. Address questions to Ward at rw212605ohio.edu or 443-812-5357.

Broadcasters hope new measures stave off FCC fines

Broadcasters and entertainers are turning to indecency insurance, zero-tolerance on-air policies and studio tech upgrades to protect themselves against the recent tenfold increase to FCC indecency fine levels, reports the Washington Post. “This is like a blessing for us,” said one CEO of a firm that makes time-delay machines that allow broadcasters to “dump” naughty words before they hit the air.

WBEZ defers to iPods, angers music fans

Reuters reports on WBEZ’s decision to scrap music programming in favor of a 24-hour news and public affairs format, a move partially motivated by the growing popularity of the iPod as music lovers’ platform of choice. But not all music lovers, apparently. “We feel very empty . . .

PBS announced Thursday that it was abandoning its plan to launch a 24-hour Kids Go! digital multicast channel in October. “While PBS stations support the concept of a 24-hour educational service for early elementary school-age children, an insufficient number of stations are in a position to financially sustain the service,” Jill Corderman, associate publicity director for PBS Kids, wrote in an e-mail. (See also Broadcasting & Cable.) The two-hour Kids Go! block and companion website will carry on and PBS may offer additional Go!

Google Video to offer Sundance Channel films

In the first of what promises to be many such partnerships, according to Google reps, the cyber-juggernaut has signed on to distribute original Sundance Channel films and series via its Google Video service, reports the Hollywood Reporter. Movie titles will be available for $3.99 for a 24-hour rental or $9.99 to own. Series are available only for purchase starting at $1.99 per episode.