Lawmaker to push over-the-air performance royalty

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) plans to introduce a bill next month that would require over-the-air radio stations to pay performance royalties for the music they play, a move the recording industry has been plotting for some time. Broadcasters have paid royalties to composers and music publishers for decades, but unlike satellite and online radio operators, they haven’t had to pay the performance rights holders–generally record labels–of recordings they air. The National Association of Broadcasters predictably vowed to fight the effort. “The big record labels are spinning the same old tune to Congress–asking them to impose a tax on radio to line the pockets of international record executives,” NAB President David K. Rehr said at this week’s NAB Radio Show in Charlotte, N.C. “We can’t and won’t let that happen.”

CPB backs plans to build pubradio audience and major giving

To address the slowing in public radio’s audience growth, CPB put out an RFP today seeking someone to lead a systemwide consultation and develop goals, audience-building strategies and best practices. Deadline: Oct. 31.Earlier this week CPB gave the Development Exchange a $235,000 grant to plan a Major Giving Initiative for pubradio. The objective is to train radio fundraisers and otherwise help them find major donors, following completion of a similar project for pubTV.

Miami is the 12th largest metropolitan area without a full-time classical music service. The region lost its last classical FM radio service, a commercial station, seven years ago. As one of the largest producers and distributors of classical music programming in the world, the new station will build on one of American Public Media Group’s core strengths.“American Public Media Group is in a unique position, with our commitment to classical music, arts and cultural programming, to make this station into a strong public radio station serving the residents of Miami and southeastern Florida,” said Bill Kling, president and CEO of American Public Media Group. “As one of public media’s most active champions of classical music, we are pleased with this opportunity to contribute to southeastern Florida’s cultural vitality by bringing classical music back to the airwaves.”Through 89.7, American Public Media Group will connect classical music audiences in Miami to performances from around the world through American Public Media’s™ national classical music programs and its relationship with the European Broadcasting Union.American Public Media will begin providing programming to the station as soon as feasible, and will assume full responsibility for operations of the station when approval from the Federal Communications Commission is granted.About Public Radio CapitalPublic Radio Capital’s (PRC) mission is to secure and expand the number of public radio stations in communities nationwide, so that people have greater program choices for in-depth information, unbiased news, diverse music, and cultural programming. In its role to broaden the reach of public radio, PRC is the industry’s leading advisor in planning, acquiring and funding new public radio channels.

Iowa Congressman finds mistake in Burns’ WWII doc

Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley found a factual error in Ken Burns’ The War, reports Radio Iowa. In his description of “one of the most famous Iowa families involved in that war,” Burns says the five Sullivan brothers were from Fredericksburg. ” ‘That came as a great surprise to all of us living in Waterloo, home of Sullivan Park and the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center,’ Braley says. Braley faxed a letter to Burns today, praising his work as a filmmaker but pointing out the error.”

APMG to bring back classical format to Miami

Rebuffed last week in a bid to buy an FM outlet in the Washington, D.C., area, American Public Media Group has agreed to laid out $20 million for a station in the Miami area, according to a news report on APMG’s Minnesota Public Radio. APMG plans to change the format of WMCU from Christian to classical music, a format that lost its longtime broadcaster a decade ago. APMG President Bill Kling said he’s not on a buying spree, but the offer was “just too good to pass up.” The seller is an affiliate of an evangelical school, Trinity International University. WMCU’s last day on the air will be Sunday, Sept.

What may become a frank and open chat with Jim Russell

The doctor is in. Jim Russell, the longtime radio producer who does business now as The Program Doctor, has just begun taking questions at, the website for public radio producers. Like other guests, Russell posted a conversation-starter, his 17-step guide to program development. (He had a hand in developing not only Marketplace, but also The World, Weekend America and more. Transom’s previous guest was Ben Shapiro, a TV-and-radio producer who discusses visual storytelling for radio folks.

African-American museum already active online

More than 40 stories of black families recorded by the ongoing CPB-funded StoryCorps Griot Project are on the website of the Smithsonian’s newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum, expected to be built on the Mall by 2015, aims to raise half of its expected $500 million cost and went online early to show donors that it’s already at work, the Associated Press reported. The Griot Project mobile recording booth has already swung through Atlanta, Newark, Detroit, Chicago and Oakland and will be in Holly Springs, Miss., tomorrow through Oct. 6, and moves on to Clarksdale, Oct. 11-27, and Memphis, Nov.

Nine news Emmys for PBS shows

PBS received nine Emmys last night in the 2007 News and Doc ceremony in New York last night; CBS came in second among the networks with five. Both Frontline and P.O.V. drew special awards for excellence from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Of the nine Emmys, six went to WGBH, including two to American Experience, two to Frontline and one each to Frontline World and one to Nova. Three went to WNET, including two to Nature and one to America’s Investigative Reports. Here’s the complete list.

Listening “won’t feel like a civic duty”

Jesse Thorn (“America’s Radio Sweetheart”) doesn’t mind that Esquire has listed his high-energy show, The Sound of Young America, in The Esquire 100. Esquire endorses it as “a public radio show that’s specifically designed not for the kind of people who carry around canvas NPR tote bags.” You want to check it out because: Listening to the show “won’t feel like a civic duty.” (Thorn himself compares the show to Fresh Air, “but more fun.”) Thorn and friends started the show in 2000 at the college station at UC Santa Cruz. called his show “the greatest radio show you’ve never heard.”