In a profile in the alumni magazine of Oberlin College, Radio Lab hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich discuss the show and its ties to their shared alma mater. “It feels like an extension of conversations I used to have at Oberlin,” Abumrad says. “There’s a playfulness that connects it to college. I hope that’s not just regression.” A coda to the article features other Oberlin grads in public radio contemplating the connection between their college and their jobs.
The Knight Foundation will spend $5 million in the first year (and perhaps $25 million over five years) for innovative digital prototypes, initiatives and experiments that improve connections among people in communities. Application deadline for the Knight Brothers 21st Century News Challenge: Dec. 31. Guidelines are posted at www.newschallenge.org. Applicants need not be journalists or have printing presses or transmitters.
Mark Ramsey comments on Arbitron’s decision to include ratings for noncommercial radio in its market reports. “Public radio will now be on commercial radio’s radar like never before,” he writes. “Commercial radio will more aggressively learn from public radio, compete with it, and counter-program it.” (Via Technology360.)
The New York Observer’s NYTV columnist reports on how FCC indecency rules inhibit PBS’s coverage of the war and other topics. “It’s a really sorry state of affairs if we’re Disney-fying combat,” says filmmaker Martin Smith, whose Oct. 3 Frontline documentary, “Return of the Taliban,” will air without f-words spoken by soldiers in combat.
NPR is looking for a full-time blogger for its Mixed Signals blog. “Other qualifications not mentioned are a strong liver and deep fondness for insult-flinging world leaders. Willingness to drunk-dial foreign bureaus on deadline also a plus,” writes current blogger JJ Sutherland.
A former advertising rep for Michigan Public Media was sentenced to 18 months of probation last week for embezzlement charges, the Detroit Free Press reports. Jeremy Nordquist was one of three former MPM employees involved in the case. (Earlier coverage in Current.)
Fearing FCC fines from risque moments in David Grubin’s historical biography of Marie Antoinette, Rocky Mountain PBS pulled the program from last night’s schedule. The questionable scenes were “nothing worse than what you see on TV elsewhere,” RMPBS President James Morgese told the Denver Post, “but in this era of heightened sensitivity by the FCC, fines are pretty stiff.”
Sprint, NextWave, Clearwire and other wireless companies may bid on 72 MHz of microwave bandwidth worth an estimated $9 million to be leased at auction in coming weeks by the operator of Las Vegas pubTV station KLVX, the Clark County School District Board, says Las Vegas Business News. The FCC is letting businesses repurpose and reorganize the underused spectrum once used for ITFS school services, as Current reported in April. Wireless companies already own adjacent spectrum, which they plan to use for city-wide services resembling Wi-Fi.
A new episode of Maya and Miguel debuting today introduces Marco, a character who speaks American Sign Language. The New York Times reports on the difficulties of animating sign language, as well as the socialization issues that producers sought to address in the program.
Vanderbilt University’s 38-year archive of TV news broadcasts doubled its exposure on the Web, and nearly doubled its videotape rental income by catering to search engines, according to the Center for Social Media at American University.
Viewers complain to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler about the “stupid promo” that disrupted the conclusion of Ric Burns’s American Masters bio of Andy Warhol. Others, including the American Conservative Union, took exception to Now’s recent reports (Sept. 1 and Sept. 8) on voter registration.
When Ed Caleca came to PBS a decade ago, he expected to see it through completion of the digital TV transition in ’06 before moving on. But media switchovers don’t stick to schedule. With PBS in unending, overlapping transitions, Caleca and colleague André Mendes are leaving their jobs, the network told stations recently.
The FCC will act soon on authorizing multicasting for digital radio, said Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Dallas. But talks about public interest obligations on the new channels are causing a holdup, Radio World reports.
Greg Diefenbach, a longtime executive producer at a major supplier of PBS programs, Devillier Donegan Enterprises, is CPB’s new senior v.p. for TV programming. At DDE he oversaw the PBS world history series Empires (“great eras of struggle … explosive creativity, ultimate depravity…”) among 100 hours of programming. He succeeds Michael Pack, who returned to documentary production. Pack colleague John Prizer remains at CPB as an advisor to President Pat Harrison.
NPR’s Kevin Klose will cede his role as c.e.o. of the network Oct. 1 to Ken Stern, now executive v.p. Klose will continue serving as president and will lead a collaborative fundraising initiative to support public radio. Stern, who joined NPR in 1999, will assume all management duties.