Lehrer to Colbert: “I am bias free”

“You can make fun of me all you want, but it takes courage to be boring five nights a week,” the NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer tells Stephen Colbert during an appearance on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. Lehrer also declared himself to be “bias free.” [Scroll down to stream a two-part video clip.]

Gore headlines pubTV’s 2007 teacher convention in NYC

Former Vice President Al Gore will headline the 2007 edition of the WNET/WLIW regional teachers’ convention. The New York pubTV stations’ second annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning, March 23-34, 2007, pins its theme to the 50th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch. Last year’s celebration drew nearly 7,000 area teachers.

YouTube to show up on Verizon cell phones

A deal to be announced today by Verizon Wireless and YouTube will bring YouTube videos to cell phones, according to the New York Times. The service will offer a limited selection of YouTube fare and requires a $15 monthly subscription to Verizon’s VCast service.

New York’s WNET launches media blog

WNET unveiled blogthirteen, which is devoted to coverage of media. It offers a daily briefing that compiles links to news and features on a wide range of media topics and a weekly column by President Bill Baker.

Thanksgiving meal time-savers

Christopher Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen offers some time-saving tips for cooks who are planning Thanksgiving menus. Mashed potatoes can be prepared ahead of time and reheated tomorrow, but instant mashed potatoes are out of the question, he tells Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep.

Pubcasters Focus on Tech Issues — Radio World

CPB is disappointed that fewer public radio stations are applying for grants to support conversion to digital broadcasting, reports Radio World. CPB is surveying stations to determine why they aren’t applying and is contacting them to let them know that the money is available.

CBS challenges FCC ruling on 2004 Super Bowl

In a lawsuit filed yesterday, CBS contends that Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl was an “unscripted, unauthorized and unintended long-distance shot of Ms. Jackson’s breast for nine-sixteenths of one second.” The Los Angeles Times reports that the network is challenging the FCC’s $550,000 fine for the incident, which was broadcast to an estimated audience of 90 million and was deemed indecent by the FCC.

Blogger finds pubcasting lacking from Web 2.0 perspective

“Why is former MTV VJ Adam Curry better at building community than radio and television stations that depend on the community for their very existence?” asks a blogger at LostRemote. “Public broadcasting online should be the ultimate long tail of user-contributed content, with a natural geographical cross matrix linking the affinity groups.” (Via Technology360.)

Frontline rebuts criticism of “A Hidden Life”

Last week’s Frontline documentary examining the downfall of former Spokane, Wash., Mayor Jim West prompted complaints of factual errors by the editor of Spokesman-Review, whose own journalistic ethics and investigative tactics came under scrutiny in the program. Frontline rebutted the newspaper’s criticism on its own discussion page. Producer Rachel Dretzin fielded questions about the documentary in an online chat.

Nielsen to debut VOD ratings next month

Nielsen Media Research will begin offering video-on-demand ratings in December, the New York Times reports (via mediabistro). Rentrak, a company based in Portland, Ore., already tracks VOD viewing but it only releases data that cable companies approve. If VOD viewing habits hold steady through December, more than two billion on-demand programs will be watched this year, based on Rentrak data.

Downtown home for Phoenix station

The Phoenix City Council yesterday okayed planning for a building on Arizona State University’s downtown campus that will house pubTV station KAET and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, the Arizona Republic reported yesterday. Construction would begin next spring and the building would be occupied by fall 2008.

Past role of new Sprout host raises eyebrows

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler revisits the firing of PBS Kids Sprout host Melanie Martinez last summer and finds a story rich with “irony and hypocrisy” on the actress recently selected to replace her.

White House reappoints Tomlinson to overseas broadcast post

President Bush yesterday reappointed former CPB Chair Kenneth Tomlinson to his other federal post, chair of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, overseer of Voice of America and other overseas radio and TV services, the AP reported. The State Department’s inspector general criticized Tomlinson on several matters in August but did not seek a criminal investigation; Tomlinson’s defenders downplayed the accusations. He quit the CPB job after a report by CPB’s inspector general. Just last month the BBG named a new VOA director, Dow Jones and Wall Street Journal veteran Danforth Austin, and a new director of VOA-TV, Russell Hodge, head of the Maryland production company 3 Roads Communications. Austin replaces Wayne Jackson, who was roundly criticized by VOA’s employee union.

Workers at public station KQED authorize strike

Unionized technicians at Northern California Public Radio (formerly KQED) in San Francisco have voted to authorize a strike, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The 130 employees are frustrated with the slow pace of contract negotiations, says a spokesman with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians.

To the NEA, News-Laden NPR is Making a Classical Mistake – washingtonpost.com

A study by the National Endowment for the Arts criticizes public radio for favoring news programming over classical music in recent years, writes Marc Fisher of the Washington Post. “We work in a complicated media environment,” says Ken Stern, c.e.o. of NPR, in response to the report. “We have to fish where the fish are.” UPDATE: Here’s a link to the study (PDF).