Europeana, the continent’s online cultural library, attracted so much attention on its debut Nov. 20 — 10 million hits an hour, 3 million simultaneously — that the website crashed and won’t be back until mid-December, according to a notice on the nonfunctioning site. Technical second-guessers told PCWorld.com that traffic was three times the expected level and planners failed to buy adequate hardware load balancers. The European Commission said 52 percent of the digitized cultural objects were contributed by France, 10 percent each from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands and tiny shares from the other member states. For a preview, click the video starring Descartes, Darwin, Beethoven and Callas and featuring Little Kim.
There have been facetious presentations of dancing on public radio, but none has been as visually compelling — or as facetious — as this performance of the NPR Dancers to the works of B.J. Leiderman and his various Salieris. Thanks to Alaskans Duncan Moon and John Proffitt, who noticed the video, which came out of the creative ferment of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre improv company.
NPR’s next president made one giant leap in the news business two years ago when she moved from long-form documentary production into digital media for the New York Times Co., but it wasn’t the first or the last of Vivian Schiller’s career.In the early 1980s, Schiller was living in the Soviet Union, working as a translator and guide for professional groups touring the country, when she was hired as a “fixer” for the Turner Broadcasting System. The job required her to do everything from translating during negotiations for TV productions to making dinner reservations, and it gave her an entrée into television. “I fell in love with media,” she said. Schiller rose from entry level to executive v.p. of CNN Productions, an award-winning documentary unit. Her predecessor in the job was Pat Mitchell, who left CNN in 2000 to become PBS president.
Patty Wente, the former g.m. of KWMU-FM in St. Louis, reached a settlement Nov. 13 with the station’s licensee, the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Wente will receive $50,000, and her departure from the station will be officially recorded as a resignation, not a firing.
Records turned over to Congressional investigators have revealed that the host of public radio’s The Infinite Mind has accepted payments from drug makers while opining about their products on the show, reports The New York Times. Dr. Fred Goodwin, a psychiatrist, earned $1.3 million between 2000 and 2007 for marketing lectures, the records show. Goodwin told the Times that he had informed Bill Lichtenstein, the show’s producer, of his consulting work, a claim the producer denies. NPR announced it will drop the show from its Sirius Satellite Radio channel. Slate spanked Goodwin and the show earlier this year for similar conflict-of-interest issues related to an episode about Prozac.
Worldfocus and SundayArts, both new to the production slate at WNET.org, as the station’s licensee now calls itself, will be produced starting next spring in a new glass-walled, street-level production and broadcast studio at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center, the New York Times reported today. The studio is being built in cooperation with Lincoln Center at 66th and Broadway. Check out 360-degree photo of the intersection on Google Maps. The 15-year lease marks a return to the Lincoln Center area, where WNET was based for years, and an expansion of studio space, which it had reduced considerably when it moved its offices down to West 33rd Street. SundayArts also is rising in profile: Its co-hosts are cellist and former CNN anchor Paula Zahn and Philippe de Montebello, soon to retire as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
More than a quarter of pubTV stations are having problems with liquidity and almost as many with debt burden, with “some stations in dire straits,” CPB station grants chief Kevin Martin told the CPB Board today. Martin said the financial distress “cuts across large, medium and small, urban and rural stations.” Community licensees are over-represented among those in trouble, but little stations are not. “When you looked at financial strength versus size, there’s no indication that size matters,” says Walter Parsons of BMR Associates in Seattle, Wash., the lead consultant. “Strong stations are large and small, less strong stations are large and small.”
It no longer makes sense for the federal government to fund a corporation for public broadcasting, writes David Sasaki, outreach director of the global citizen media project Rising Voices and contributor to the MediaShift Idea Lab blog on PBS.org. He proposes that President-elect Barack Obama create a National Journalism Foundation, modeled on the National Science Foundation and funded with some sort of tax on internet service providers or the giant telecom companies, to replace CPB. The foundation would fund PBS and NPR in addition to web-only journalism projects such as EveryBlock and FiveThirtyEight.com. “We need a federal body in charge of supporting the nation’s journalism, communication, and information needs,” Sasaki writes. “That is, in charge of supporting quality online content and mash-ups.”