Cincinnati and Dayton pubTV stations to merge

Cincinnati’s and Dayton’s public TV stations announced today that they will merge but keep their local identities and facilities. David Fogarty, head of Dayton’s ThinkTV for 15 years, will serve as president of the merged nonprofit, the Dayton Daily News reported today; Susan Howarth of Cincinnati’s CET, described in the news release as an “enthusiastic proponent” of the merger, will leave. Fogarty was a producer and executive at Twin Cities PTV, a Peace Corps worker in Colombia and an ABC News producer before coming to Dayton.

CPB moves to begin planning American Archive

CPB advertised Monday to hire a person or organization to scope out the proposed American Archive of pubcasting content. Proposals for management of the one-year, $3 million pilot program are due by Nov. 14. The manager, which must have experience in big-project management and digitization, will use an RFP to select a group of pilot radio and TV stations and assist the coding and digitization of their program archives. The project will also create a “substantial” sample online archive and prototype demo by the ides of March 2009; do research on costs, storage and restorage techniques and criteria for selection of materials to be archived; and develop best practices and training materials.

Frontline’s latest: “nothing but bad news”

“For abject gloominess, it would be hard to top “The War Briefing,” Frontline’s deeply reported look at the war in Afghanistan and the insurgency targeting Pakistan,” writes Tony Perry in a Los Angeles Times review. The doc “finds nothing but bad news for the U.S. and NATO effort — not enough Western troops, weak central governments in Kabul and Islamabad, and an enemy funded by heroin profits and increasing in size and lethality. … The major thesis is not new — that the U.S. didn’t follow through after the quick knockdown of the Taliban following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Religion & Ethics survey: U.S. has moral obligation abroad

A survey of 1,400 adults by the PBS program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and the United Nations Foundation about religion and America’s role in the world found that “the vast majority of Americans believes the U.S. has a moral obligation to be engaged on the global stage in a variety of ways,” reported Bob Abernethy on the program’s Oct. 24 edition (transcript here). “At the same time, Americans are divided about equally on whether the U.S. has a positive or negative impact on the world.” The survey found that 61 percent of Americans believe that God has “uniquely blessed” the U.S. 

Rhode Island declares independence (again)

The four-year struggle to establish WRNI in Providence, R.I., as an independent public radio service for the state crossed a long-awaited threshold last month, when its aspiring licensee announced the station’s independence from Boston’s WBUR, the NPR News powerhouse that partnered with local pubradio supporters to establish WRNI a decade ago. Rhode Island Public Radio, the station’s licensee-to-be, began operating WRNI-AM Sept. 1 under a management contract with Boston University’s WBUR Group. The agreement anticipates state approval of the $2 million sale under loan terms covered by WBUR and its university licensee. “We don’t anticipate difficulty in getting a favorable ruling,” said RIPR Chairman Jim Marsh.

Was ethanol industry’s rebuke of “Frontline” warranted?

The ethanol industry’s overreaction to “Heat,” a Frontline doc about climate change that aired this week, says “a great deal about the nervous state” of the industry, writes a Chicago Tribune columnist. The Renewable Fuels Association, a pro-ethanol group, attacked the doc as one-sided (PDF). But “nothing in the broadcast was new to anyone who has paid attention to the ethanol debate over the last couple years,” writes David Griesing.

Future of soirees uncertain at Nevada station

Don’t count on schmoozing with a glass of wine in hand if you drop in at a Vegas PBS event. Members of the school board that holds the station’s license are unsure whether adults should be allowed to drink liquor at the station, which will share a campus with a new high school, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. One board member suggested that the station “stick to alternatives such as ‘smoothies.’” The station hopes to stage wine-and-cheese receptions.

‘Contenders’ looks at ground-breaking presidential candidates from the past

In Contenders, a five-part series concluding on today’s All Things Considered, producers Joe Richman and Samara Freeman profile some of the most unconventional, and interesting, presidential candidates in American history. Tonight’s installment recalls the 1972 campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to seek the Democratic party nomination. Links to pieces that aired earlier this week, as well as other Radio Diaries documentaries for NPR, are here.