Pismo pays big bucks for PBS wine series

“We like public TV as much as the next viewer, but we wonder whether the city of Pismo Beach had enjoyed one glass of wine too many when it agreed to pay $50,000 to sponsor a PBS reality series called ‘The Wine Makers’,” reads an opinion piece in The Tribune, the newspaper of San Luis Obispo County.

Lessons learned in Iowa network’s first year

“The creation of Iowa Public Radio, and its early success, should send an important signal to a public radio system that is vastly overbuilt,” writes IPR Content Director Todd Mundt, in a blog entry describing the evolving state network’s first year of service. “Maintaining local public service is not the same thing as maintaining hundreds of independent stations.”

PBS ombudsman gets letters of support for Moyers

After his critique of Bill Moyers’ commentary on Karl Rove, PBS ombudsman Michael Gelter says he got a load of pro-Moyers mail. In his Aug. 24 column, Getler questioned Moyers’ reporting on Rove’s religious convictions.

PBS programming for Hispanic Heritage Month

In a press release today, PBS details “a number of broadcast premieres and encore presentations that recognize the cultural, historical and societal impact of America’s growing Hispanic community.” The programs, to air during Hispanic Heritage Month, come in the wake of protests against Ken Burns’ upcoming series The War. Latino groups, concerned about the lack of Latino vets in the WWII film, have asked PBS for assurance that it would work harder to include Latinos in “current and future programming” (Current, Aug. 27). Some Latino filmmakers have credited the Burns controversy with opening doors for them at PBS (via AP).

Georgia to resign as g.m. of Pacifica’s KPFK

Eva Georgia, embattled g.m. of Pacifica’s KPFK in Los Angeles, will leave the job on October 31, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Being General Manager of a progressive community radio station isn’t easy,” said Greg Guma, Pacifica executive director, in a statement reaffirming the Pacifica National board’s support for Georgia. “In fact, it’s a tough and draining job.” Georgia has been accused of sexual harassment and racial discrimination in two pending lawsuits.

San Diego’s progressive talk station contemplates format change

“I don’t know that many liberals go to the AM dial, because it’s full of right-wingers and sports,” says Randy Dotinga, radio columnist for the North County Times, in a report on the likely end to the progressive-talk format on KLSD-AM, a Clear Channel station in San Diego. “If you don’t like right-wingers and sports, there’s no reason to flip to AM.” Dotinga tells the San Diego CityBEAT that KLSD will always have problems competing with KPBS, the local pubradio outlet on the FM dial.

Stern previews NPR content, services to launch with help from Seattle outlets

“A lot [of] people outside our core demographics are interested in our content,” NPR CEO Ken Stern tells the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “They’re turned off by our conventions.” In a P-I story published yesterday, Stern described several NPR initiatives of interest to Seattle’s pubradio listeners, each of which launch in October: Bryant Park, a morning newsmag for twenty- and thirty-somethings cohosted by former KUOW reporter Luke Burbank, major upgrades to its music website featuring station-produced programming, and a new service that will deliver NPR content to mobile devices. Seattle’s KPLU and KEXP are partners in the new music website and KPLU helping NPR launch the new mobile service, the P-I reports.

OPB documentary includes nudity

Nekkid in Oregon: “When Oregon Public Broadcasting airs Portland director Ian McCluskey’s Eloquent Nude this Thursday, Aug. 30, it will be showing a gorgeous, poignant documentary about the love affair between an iconic photographer and his model,” reports the Willamette Week. “It will also be showing a nekkid woman.” The program about Edward Weston, which airs state-wide at 10 p.m., already has been featured in Portland theaters.

Alt rock returns to Cinci airwaves via WVXU-HD

The Cincinnati Post reports on an unusual radio partnership: Cincinnati Public Radio’s WVXU-FM recently began HD Radio broadcasts of WOXY.com, a station that brought alternative rock to southwestern Ohio in the 1980s and, after ending broadcasts three years ago, struggled to survive as an Internet-only station. “I see it as the perfect test run of a multicast channel to see what sort of legs it has,” says Bryan Miller, WOXY.com g.m. “We have a built in audience. There is a pent up demand in the market for alternative rock.”

An insider’s account of Post Radio’s demise

Why Washington Post Radio failed: unfulfilled promises to deliver in-depth news, clashes between the cultures of two different newsrooms, and too many moments when Post reporters froze up on the air, according to Marc Fisher, Post radio columnist and blogger.

CBS covers Moyers-on-Rove

In an online post, CBS News covers the “War of Words in MediaLand going on for more than a week now: Karl Rove versus Bill Moyers.” This “war” has been facilitated mostly by Fox News, which hosted Rove and asked him to respond to Moyers’ mention that Rove might be agnostic. Moyers wrote a letter to Fox host Chris Wallace and Wallace responded to Moyers on Fox News Sunday.

Bonneville to end its partnership with the Washington Post

During its first year on the air, Bonneville-owned Washington Post Radio failed to attract one percent of listeners in the metropolitan D.C. region, reports the Washington Post. Next month, the Post and Bonneville will end the 18-month partnership that put the newspaper’s reporters on the air.

PBS Ombudsman on Moyers…Again

Bill Moyers is again the topic of PBS ombudsman Michael Getler’s column. Getler addresses Moyers’ farewell to Karl Rove on Aug. 17 and says he’s less concerned with the “editorializing” than the reporting. The “reports” in Moyers’ following line lacked attribution, says Getler: “At [Rove’s] press conference this week he asked God to bless the president and the country, even as reports were circulating that he himself had confessed to friends his own agnosticism.”

Crossroads documentary on anti-Americanism debuts tonight

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal review The Anti-Americans (a love-hate relationship), a PBS documentary debuting tonight. The film is the latest installment of the CPB-backed America at a Crossroads initiative. Filmmakers Louis Alvarez, Andy Kolker and Peter Odabashian will be appearing today on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show and Tucker Carlson’s MSNBC series.

The War controversy opens doors for Latinos at PBS

“Call it a guilt trip or a cultural awakening, but some Latino filmmakers feel that the controversy over Ken Burns’ upcoming World War II documentary has unexpectedly opened doors for their work at PBS,” reports the AP. Before The War’s premiere on Sept. 23, PBS has scheduled to air five programs featuring Latinos. The program about marketing to (and representing) Latinos– Brown Is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream (Sept. 12)–lines up with PBS’s educational goals: “To a certain degree, Brown Is the New Green feels like a primer on Latino society for older white Americans — a big part of PBS’ audience.”

Vincent goes out swinging at KUOW

Program changes and compensation disputes at Seattle NPR news station KUOW prompted longtime host and engineer Ken Vincent to abruptly quit his job and go public with a litany of grievances over work conditions, as reported by The Stranger, a Seattle alt weekly, and the Seattle Times. Vincent and other employees object to the clipped on-air delivery style that Program Director Jeff Hansen has asked all on-air staff to adopt; Vincent describes the style change as “dumbing down the on-air sound.” Turmoil among the KUOW air staff began amid rumors of big bonuses for management and a projected $2.5 million end of year surplus, according to Blatherwatch, a Seattle radio blog that interviewed former KUOW morning host Deborah Brandt about why she resigned early this year.

Kids’ pipeline

Debut this fall [2007]
Jim Knox’s Wild Zoofari
Producing organizations: Jim Knox’s Wild Zoofari LLC. Producer: Rob Child. Creators: Rob Child, Jim Knox, Bruce Knox. Episodes: 14/30. Status: released on DVD 2006.

Latino critics of The War seek assurance from PBS, WETA

Advocacy groups protesting Ken Burns’ upcoming World War II doc asked PBS and WETA in Washington, D.C., Aug. 20 [2007] for assurance that the producers would work harder to include Latinos in “current and future programming. The statement about Burns’ The War bore the signatures of 53 individuals, ten media, policy and educational organizations and Defend the Honor, the coalition that first challenged Burns. In a response, PBS said it “continues to build upon our track record of inclusion in programming, in front of and behind the camera.” WETA has issued no response. The full statements from Defend the Honor and PBS are below.

Ken Burns to participate in National Book Festival

Some 70 authors have been chosen to participate in The Library of Congress’s 2007 National Book Festival on the National Mall, Sept. 29. Ken Burns and Geoffrey Ward (co-writer with Burns on several documentaries and the new book The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945) will be part of the history and biography group.