Hutchison in for Stevens on Commerce Committee

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas will replace Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) as the GOP’s ranking member on the Commerce Committee, which oversees broadcast legislation, while Stevens is under indictment, TV Week reports. Congress is about to recess for its August break and the party conventions and won’t be back in session until mid-September.

WMUB drops evening jazz, goes all-news

WMUB in Oxford, Ohio, is adopting an all news/talk format next week. The format switch moves longtime evening host Mama Jazz to WMUB Jazz, a 24-hour HD-2 channel and online stream, and clears evening slots for repeats of the Diane Rehm Show and Talk of the Nation. The station invited listener feedback on its Directions blog, where a couple of commenters questioned why WMUB would drop the music programs that differentiated it from Cincinnati’s WVXU, a nearby NPR News station. “By focusing our format, we believe we will increase our ability to attract and retain new listeners as well as serve the great majority of current listeners,” said Cleve Callison, WMUB g.m., in a statement. “This change thus orients us toward future growth in audience and local fundraising capacity.”

Food and beverage marketers seek kids online

“The nation’s largest food and beverage companies spent about $1.6 billion in 2006 marketing their products to children [ages 2-17], according to a Federal Trade Commission report released Tuesday,” reports the Washington Post. About 200 million of that went to cross-promotional campaigns using films, TV shows, video games. “The Internet–though far less costly than television–has become a major marketing tool of food companies that target children and adolescents, with more than two-thirds of the 44 companies reporting online, youth-directed activities,” the report said. The FTC recommended that media companies license their characters to healthier food and drinks and that food and beverage marketers expand their efforts to educate kids about healthy choices. Lawmakers sought the study because of concerns about growing childhood obesity rates.

Sen. Ted Stevens indicted

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the longest serving GOP senator in U.S. history and a longtime pubcasting advocate, was indicted on federal corruption charges tied to his relationship with an Alaska oil exec. According to Senate Republican rules, Stevens will have to give up his position as vice chairman of the influential Commerce Committee, among other leadership positions, the New York Times reports.

Backlash against Garfield’s take on online commenters

Bob Garfield tells On the Media listeners what he really thinks about the “frustrating, maddening and extremely discouraging” online feedback he often receives from anonymous commenters and gets an earful from Ira Glass. Then, the social media consultant and blogger Derek Powazek weighs in: “Comments online are just like conversations in newsrooms – sloppy and stupid and often wrong. But they’re the raw stuff that great journalism starts from.”

Network builder Jack McBride dies

One of public broadcasting’s master builders, Nebraska’s Jack McBride, died Monday from complications of lung surgery, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. He was 82. McBride was the first employee of the University of Nebraska’s TV department in 1953, put KUON on-air in 1954, won funding for a nine-station NET network in 1963, and added radio, a national school-video distributor, an intensive experiment with interactive videodiscs and many other ventures, serving until retirement until 1996. In 1990, NET was the first state net to lease a satellite channel to serve schools; today it has 303 downlinks across the state, according to the network. “There wasn’t anyone better at looking into the future,” said longtime program chief Ron Hull.

No such thing as “race transcendence,” says Smiley

“There is no such thing in America as race transcendence, and Obama’s going to find that out real soon,” says Tavis Smiley in an AP story about how he and other journalists are addressing issues of race in the presidential campaign. Smiley started a blogosphere firestorm when he criticized Obama on The Tom Joyner Morning Show for not appearing on Smiley’s State of the Black Union cablecast on C-SPAN in February. “Just because Barack Obama is black, doesn’t mean he gets a pass on being held accountable on issues that matter to black people,” Smiley says in the article. “We have an awkward history about how to talk about race in the nation and in newsrooms,” says NewsHour and Washington Week’s Gwen Ifill, whose book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama will be published early next year. “I don’t see any hesitancy about addressing it,” she says.

Satradio merger okayed without pubradio provisions

The compromise package of fines and consumer protections imposed by the FCC in exchange for approving the merger of the Sirius and XM satellite radio companies July 25 did not include key provisions sought by public radio advocates. Pubcasters lobbied members of Congress and commissioners to triple from 8 to 25 percent the spectrum capacity that the merged company would have to set aside for public interest and minority programming. They also asked the commission to require the inclusion of HD Radio receiving chips in satellite radio receivers, allowing subscribers to receive free digital signals from terrestrial stations. Neither provision was in the final agreement approved in a 3-2 party-line vote on Friday. Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who backed the provisions, ended up voting against the merger.