Miami-U studies relationship with WMUB

Faced with a $100,000 reduction in support from its licensee, Oxford’s WMUB-FM asked Miami University of Ohio to reevaluate its future relationship with the station, according to the Dayton Daily News. In a statement announcing the review, the university described technological changes in public radio and declining state support to the university as “forces making the review necessary.”

WRNI extends service to southern R.I.

Rhode Island Public Radio began broadcasts to the southern region of the state today via WAKX in Narragansett, according to The Jamestown Press. The station, recently acquired through a loan from the Rhode Island Foundation, carries the NPR News service originating from WRNI in Providence.

Local News Initiative to aid seven “hubs”

Public radio’s Local News Initiative backed seven collaborations proposed through its “Hubs Initiative,” an effort to bring multiple stations together for shared reporting or training projects. [Via PRPD.]

KPFK host Ian Masters profiled in LA Times

“You try to be an advocate for the truth, not an ideology,” says Ian Masters, host of KPFK’s Background Briefing, in a recent Los Angeles Times profile. The Times describes his weekly show as “considerably more ambitious and frequently more illuminating” than Sunday morning pundit fare broadcast by the commercial networks.

Guma to step down as Pacifica chief

In a statement describing his role as a transitory leader for Pacifica, Executive Director Greg Guma writes about his achievements after two years in the job. [Via Rolas de Aztlan.] “I have tried to raise some fundamental questions–for example, the question of whether Pacific’s current governance structure is sustainable or even wise–while simultaneously avoiding actions that would produce debilitating resistance,” Guma writes.

OPB faces state funding cuts

Oregon Public Broadcasting CEO Steve Bass says $1.25 million in proposed funding cuts could hamper his network’s digital transition in this editorial.

War doc flap = “politically correct overkill”

So says Broadcasting & Cable blogger John Eggerton, who weighs in on PBS’s recent experience catching heat from both the left and the right and worries that the network may be setting a “poor precedent for independence” in the dispute over Ken Burns’ The War: “PBS should clearly reflect the various, competing, voices of the public it serves, but it should not give undue weight or give into political pressure from either side.” For a different take, see this column from Ruben Navarrette Jr., who thinks Burns was right to give in to pressure by Hispanic activists.

“One of the cultural gems of Massachusetts” (the tenant, but maybe the building, too)

WGBH President Henry Becton took the Boston Globe for a tour of the station’s prominent new building last week, and the newspaper responded in an editorial on Sunday: “The complex will become a visual landmark to match the importance of WGBH as a cultural institution.” Notable besides the outdoor electronic mural: a 210-seat theater with access for people with limited sight and hearing; widened sidewalks so that pedestrians can watch radio broadcasts from the windows without disrupting foot traffic; and (reportedly) attentive liaison with the community. Current looked at plans for new headquarters for WGBH and Minnesota Public Radio.

Burns agrees to “incorporate” Latino war stories

Ken Burns reached an agreement with two interest groups to integrate the “narratives and voices” of Hispanic World War II veterans into his “artistic vision” for The War. “I am confident they can be incorporated in a way consistent with the film’s focus on individual experiences and in a way that means nothing in the film that already exists will be changed,” Burns said in a news release issued this morning.

MPT under fire for picking up V-me

Maryland Public Television’s recent announcement of its plans to begin multicasting V-me, pubTV’s new Spanish-language digital channel, came under fire from Republican State Delegate Pat McDonough. During a recent talk radio appearance, McDonough accused MPT leaders of adding the service as political payback for Hispanic supporters of Maryland’s new Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley. In an editorial published today, the Baltimore Sun described the complainers as “know-nothing critics.”

Pubcasters remind Congress of the “firewall”

As Latino interest groups and politicians took their complaints about Ken Burns’ The War to corporate sponsors last week, top execs from pubcasting’s G-4 signed a joint statement on CPB’s role in protecting public TV and radio from political interference in program content. “[A]ny attempt by the government or interest groups to influence content, especially before a program has aired, raises serious Constitutional, statutory and policy concerns…,” wrote leaders of CPB, PBS, APTS and NPR. “[A]s we reaffirm our commitment to the mission of public broadcasting at its 40th anniversary, we urge Congress not to forsake this ideal.”

Where are PBS’s liberal defenders now?

PBS and its star filmmaker Ken Burns “have just been mugged by censors and pressure groups demanding changes” to The War, writes National Review Online columnist Garrett Moewe, and the silence from pubTV’s “self-appointed protectors” on the left is deafening.

Showtime renews video “The American Life”

Phil Rosenthal reported in the Chicago Tribune that the Showtime cable net has ordered an additional six-episode run of the TV spinoff of PRI’s This American Life. (That’s all Rosenthal writes, so don’t bother registering for more.) With the first run, more than a few critics, including AP’s Frazier Moore, gave fans the good news that Ira Glass and company had succeeded in developing a visual version that lives up to the aural original.

PBS picks Wired Science pilot

PBS announced today that it picked Wired Science as the winner of its science pilot competition (see Current’s story in advance of the announcement). The breezy 10-week series, produced by Los Angeles’ KCET and Wired magazine, will debut Oct. 3.