In Albuquerque Journal, PBS is “losing the battle”

“[I]t is fundamentally wrong to exclude the Latino experience on a subject of the magnitude of World War II, especially in a high-profile, publicly supported project like The War,” says Eduardo Díaz, executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in an Albuquerque Journal report on the controversy over Ken Burns’ forthcoming PBS series. In an editorial published today, the Journal calls on KNME to drop Burns’ documentary from its schedule and highlight local programs on New Mexico’s WWII veterans.

Grandmas get their game on

The gaming industry has discovered an enthusiastic and growing audience among retirees, according to the New York Times. “Baby boomers and up are definitely our fastest-growing demographic, and it is because the fear factor is diminishing,” said Beatrice Spaine, marketing director. “Women come for the games, but they stay for the community….It’s kind of a MySpace for seniors.”

Hispanic caucus presses PBS on “The War”

Leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with public TV executives on Tuesday to discuss their concerns about the absence of Latino-American veterans in The War, Ken Burns’ 14-hour World War II documentary series slated for a PBS debut in September. Lawmakers may try to restrict pubTV’s federal funding if PBS doesn’t address their concerns, according to Politico, a newspaper and website covering the Washington, D.C., political scene. “The bottom line is we also have the right to do what we can economically with PBS to show our displeasure,” said Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas). “I hope it won’t come to that.”

Kartemquin Films honored by MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation named Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, a frequent pubTV producer, as one of this year’s eight recipients of its MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The Chronicle of Philanthropy profiles Kartemquin, headed by co-founder Gordon Quinn. The company is known for Hoop Dreams, Refrigerator Mothers and the series The New Americans, among other social documentaries.

Investigative reports cited with IRE Awards

Nuestra Familia/Our Family, a Center for Investigative Reporting doc for public TV about the Latino gang that grew in California’s agricultural valleys, received an IRE Medal and the Tom Renner Award for crime reporting from Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., IRE announced Monday. The award credits producer/director Oriana Zill de Granados, Julia Reynolds and George Sanchez of CIR. CPB and Latino Public Broadcasting were among the funders. [Program website.] The doc premiered last year on KQED and aired nationally last fall as part of Latino Public Broadcasting’s Voces series, distributed by American Public Television. The film was edited by David Ritscher, who is also production coordinator for Frontline/World.

FCC clears NCE backlog

The FCC released details yesterday about the settlement of 76 groups of mutually exclusive applications for new full-power noncommercial educational stations. (PDFs of order, attachment.) Universities affiliated with Iowa Public Radio are in line to receive a total of seven construction permits. Other current operators of public radio stations who prevailed include Spokane Public Radio, the University of Wyoming, Temple University and the University of Massachusetts. Unsuccessful applicants: Jefferson Public Radio, Kentucky’s Murray State University and WSKG in Binghamton, N.Y. The commission also announced plans to open a filing window for new noncoms in October.

Savage takes on Keillor

Dan Savage erupts over a Garrison Keillor column about modern families and gay parenting. “These couples deserve our gratitude and support,” Savage writes. “What they don’t deserve is a rich, old hypocrite insinuating that they’re more interested in their fussy hairdos and over-decorated apartments than they are in raising their kids.”

PBS strain of March Madness infects bloggers

“All I’m saying is, if PBS has to tart itself up as something it’s not in order to attract donors, isn’t that a de facto admission that their regular schedule isn’t enough of a draw to justify their existence?” A Huffington Post column by Eric Williams drew nearly two dozen comments from blog readers eager to rip up public TV pledge programs.

Shales reviews Discovery’s TV landmark

“Years will pass before another program poses a serious challenge to this landmark,” writes Tom Shales, Washington Post TV critic, in a review of Planet Earth, an 11-part BBC series that debuted last night on Discovery.

Paste Magazine: NPR’s “All Songs Considered”

Paste magazine looks at Bob Boilen and his show, NPR’s web-only All Songs Considered: “What is a fresh sound? Who the heck knows? But I look for something that has a vitality, that has a sense of creativity to it, maybe that’s breaking new bounds—or something that just feels great.”

This American Life – Ira Glass – TV – New York Times

The New York Times previews the TV debut of This American Life: “Mr. Glass was greeted as a conquering rock star in various American cities during a recent live tour, and Showtime is hoping that the rabid, embedded fan base of “This American Life” — as well as the tsunami of media coverage generated by reporters who love to write about someone who actually tells real, live stories — will give it visibility in a cluttered television universe.”

The latest squirmish over “The War”

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler reports and comments on criticism that The War, the Ken Burns documentary series debuting in September, ignores the contributions and sacrifices made by Hispanic-Americans during World War II. “[W]hat interests me most among the critical public statements, and the questions and criticisms raised by viewers in letters to me, is whether, during the six years of production, anyone did actually think about the Hispanic veterans,” Getler writes.

On PBS, no Chiquita bananas for Curious George

Curious George, the top-rated PBS Kids show, is having trouble selling all of its underwriting slots, according to Advertising Age. Could part of the problem be that PBS prohibits product placement in its programs?

WNYC, PRI plan a.m. show

WNYC, Public Radio International and other partners plan to produce a morning show that will go up against NPR’s Morning Edition and pursue a younger audience, reports the New York Times. “We have a vision of what we think is needed, and we think we are the right people to do it,” says WNYC President Laura Walker. (More details from WNYC, via PRPD’s blog.)