FCC sets date for NCE filing window

The FCC announced last week that it will open a filing window for noncommercial educational FM stations Oct. 12 (PDF). The window will be open for a week, and applicants must file electronically. The commission has not accepted applications for new noncommercial stations since April 2000.

WBEZ’s sister station, “:Vocalo”

WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio’s hitherto Secret Radio Project, intended to attract a distinct new audience, has gone public with the name of its new radio-Web service, :Vocalo.org. (That colon is part of an emoticon. The name combines “vocal” with “zocalo, a Spanish word for public square.”) Sign in and read more. In May the licensee plans to launch a newly developed public-affairs/talk format to air on WBEW, its outlet in northwest Indiana that now barely reaches into the South Side of the city but will get a stronger signal, the Chicago Reader reports. The g.m. is Wendy Turner, former membership director at WBEZ.

Want to count some translators?

To prepare for the digital broadcasting transition, CPB is looking for someone to audit and analyze the status of all translators that are a) owned and operated by pubcasters, or b) owned by other public or private entities but carry some pubcasting content. RFP available here, May 14 is the application deadline.

Ifill on Imus

NewsHour correspondent and Washington Week moderator Gwen Ifill recounts her own brush with embattled radio host Don Imus’ race-baiting shtick in this New York Times editorial. In 1993, Imus reportedly said in reference to Ifill, the Times’ White House reporter at the time, that it was wonderful that the newspaper “lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.” Imus’ “sincerity seems forced and suspect because he’s done some version of this several times before,” Ifill writes. “I know, because he apparently did it to me.”

Fans, critics speak up about Burns’ series

Associated Press reports on the controversy over The War, the Ken Burns series slated to air in September, and PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler shares more viewer feedback on Latino activists’ campaign for revisions to the documentary.

Landscape Artist: Television: The New Yorker

A New Yorker writer reviews This American Life’s TV debut and along the way shares some criticisms of its radio incarnation: “Sometimes, after reading certain magazines or watching certain TV shows, people speak of feeling as though they needed to take a shower; after listening to “This American Life,” sometimes I feel I need to roll around in the dirt.”

DCist: Considering NPR

DCist, a blog about the nation’s capital, interviews All Songs Considered producer Robin Hilton about the show’s series of live webcasts from local concert venues. “In general we look for bands that have something to say; bands that are breaking new ground or simply doing something interesting, however you define that,” Hilton says. (Via PRPD News.)

WQED originates teleconferences to steakhouse chain

Pittsburgh’s WQED Multimedia has begun generating revenue by originating high-def satellite teleconferences and musical performances beamed to specially equipped suites in 67 Morton’s Steakhouses around the country, to be demonstrated in a live news conference this afternoon. Velocity Broadcasting — a division of Elias/Savion Inc., Morton’s ad agency — is offering the “precision marketing” service to businesses as well as closed-circuit entertainment events in the Higher Definition Private Performance Series, which launched in October with a concert by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, also originated by WQED.

Weiss makes v.p. with endorsement of NPR newsroom

Ellen Weiss, an award-winning producer and editor in NPR’s news division over 25 years, will become its leader, the network announced last week. She is the newsroom’s first homegrown journalist after three veeps who established their journalistic credentials elsewher

Weiss, who had been interim news v.p., moves up from her previous job as senior editor of the national desk to succeed Bill Marimow, who became editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Marimow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning print reporter, was credited with strengthening NPR’s investigative reporting during more than 2½ years at NPR, including eight months as top news executive. The announcement to the NPR News staff capped an exceptional week for Weiss, who was offered the promotion April 3 and learned the next day that she would share a Peabody Award. Weiss and two colleagues — correspondent Daniel Zwerdling and producer Anne Hawke — won a Peabody for December’s investigative report on the military’s treatment of soldiers returning from war with emotional wounds (story).

Discovery cuts 200 jobs

Discovery today cut approximately 200 staffers, or roughly 3 percent of its workforce, Broadcasting & Cable reports. Network management let go roughly 20 percent of the aggregate staffs of the Discovery Channel; Animal Planet; the Education group; and some Corporate Service groups.

Minority consortia to PBS: PubTV’s ‘stunning lack of diversity’ allowed the Burns flap to occur

Public broadcasting’s five CPB-funded minority consortia sent this letter to PBS President Paula Kerger on April 9, 2007. Dear Paula:

I’m writing to you on behalf of my colleagues of the National Minority Consortia (NMC), which, along with the National Black Programming Consortium, includes the Center for Asian American Media, Latino Public Broadcasting, Native American Public Telecommunications and Pacific Islanders in Communications. We would like to offer our support to you in helping to address in a positive manner what we view as legitimate community concerns over the omission of Latino voices from Ken Burns’ The War. It is not the idea of an intentional exclusion that raises the flag of indignation from the American public – and not only, as has been suggested, Hispanic Americans. It is the idea that the perspective of those within the public broadcasting system empowered to make decisions about what is and is not appropriate for a public television event of this magnitude do not fundamentally represent the diversity of this society.

Discovery to launch ‘green’ channel

Discovery plans to launch an earth-focused channel and turn its Silver Spring, Md., headquarters “green” as part of a $50 million project it’s calling PlanetGreen, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The cable network will relaunch its current Home channel as the as-yet-unnamed eco-friendly channel next year. Programs will focus on eco-design, organic food and “green” architecture, among other topics.

Study finds that educational software doesn’t boost learning

A study released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Education found that educational software used in schools has no impact on student performance. “No technology adds value by itself,” said John Deasy, superintendent of schools in Prince George’s County, Md., in a Washington Post report on the study. “Just employing software is not likely to lift test scores for students.”

Six Peabodies awarded to pubcasters

An NPR report on post-traumatic stress disorder among Iraq War veterans and a PBS American Masters documentary on Andy Warhol are two of six pubcasting entries to receive 2006 Peabody Awards.

Crossroads ready for its closeup

It’s been a bumpy ride — critics hammered the inital idea, directors complained of undue interference from above, advisers quit — but the post-9/11 series America at a Crossroads is finally set for broadcast, says the New York Times. (See Current’s stories on its development, criticism, controversy, emergence and more recent flaps.)