With problems saddling the rollout of NPR’s new ContentDepot program distribution system, the network will keep a backup for the system in place until at least April, longer than initially planned. Some station staffers tell Radio World that the transition is “a case study in how a big technological change is fraught with problems.” (More from NPR Distribution at prss.org.)
Mattel, maker of the ever-popular Tickle Me Elmo dolls, will follow up last year’s anniversary T.M.X. Elmo with “extreme” Ernie and Cookie Monster dolls to be released this fall, CNNMoney.com reports. Also coming soon: Pizza Elmo, a doll with a pizza that sings along with him. Pubcasting critic Jeffrey Chester takes aim at a Sesame Workshop moneymaker that he says pushes junk food and further commercializes childhood.
A survey sponsored by the Association of Public Television Stations found that 61 percent of respondents did not know a DTV transition was happening; 10 percent had limited awareness; and 25 percent were somewhat or very aware. APTS is leading a coalition of trade and interest groups that is competing for the $5 million Congress set aside for consumer education in last year’s DTV bill. “There are more than 21 million U.S. households that get their TV exclusively free and over the air, and we know these homes are heavy viewers of public television,” APTS President John Lawson said. “That puts us, working with our partners, in a strong position to provide information about the digital transition to the people who need it most.”
WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill, N.C., plans to open a satellite studio in Greensboro, N.C., reports the Greensboro News-Record. The studio will be staffed with a reporter and a fundraiser. WUNC and WFDD in Winston-Salem, N.C., compete for listeners in Greensboro, which lies between the two stations. (More coverage in the Lincoln Tribune.)
Todd Mundt, director of content and media for Iowa Public Radio, talks with Rob Paterson about his approach to creating the new network and representing the changes to the public. “I don’t think that any people can connect with an institution,” Mundt says. “My bet is that, if I speak for myself and if I hold myself accountable and if I allow people to reach me and that I engage directly with them — then Iowans will accept me for doing my best.” (Current article about Iowa Public Radio.)
KQED’s multimedia science/environmental literacy project, Quest, was previewed in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle. Quest’s website, with maps and GPS data to help users go see the environment in person, and to download programs, launches Thursday at kqed.org/quest; the Friday morning radio reports begin this week and the Tuesday night TV half-hours launch Feb. 6. The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation put up $3 million of the $7.7 million cost, including R&D funds. PBS hired the KQED exec who oversaw Quest, John Boland, as its new chief content officer.
Independent producer Jesse Thorn criticizes the tone of two recent NPR stories that touched on hip-hop: “It is unacceptable to me that after fifteen years at the top of the charts and thirty years on the cultural scene, hip-hop should continue to be marginalized not only by the so-called mainstream media, but also by public media.” Jon Kalish, who filed one of the stories Thorn discusses, responds in a comment: “Maybe you had to be there but I think the scene certainly warranted a ‘gee whiz’ approach to this story.”