Greg Collard, news director at WFAE in Charlotte, released a little collard spleen this month about a couple of NPR veterans getting personal with stories: Margot Adler, with her elegy on storm damage to Central Park trees near her apartment in the West 90s, and Larry Abramson, with a piece about parents (like him) outfitting their kids’ dorm rooms. Collard concludes in the station’s blog: “NPR humor. Sometimes it’s hard to defend, especially when it’s so self-indulgent.”
The situation on Mt. Wilson, where six Los Angeles area pubcasting outlets have transmitters, is increasingly dire, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fire fighters were taken off the mountain this morning because it was too dangerous to have them working so close to the tower facilities. “There is a good chance the fire will hit Mt. Wilson today,” said Ray Dombroski, spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service.
PBS was honored with 13 Daytime Creative Arts Emmys, the most of any network, in ceremonies on Saturday night. Included are outstanding children’s animated show (WordWorld), preschool children’s series (Between the Lions) and lifestyle show (This Old House). Three shows not distributed by PBS but running on the network, BizKids, Equitrekking and Diary of a Foodie, also won honors. ABC won 10; Nickelodeon, eight; CBS, five; Food Network, three; and Cartoon Network and NBC, both two. The awards were presented at the the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and hosted by Alex Trebek.
Maria Alvarez Stroud, public TV’s outreach advocate for most of this millennium, is moving to a new position at the University of Wisconsin-Extension. She’s been executive director of the CPB-backed National Center for Media Engagement in Madison since its founding as the National Center for Outreach in 2000. Stroud’s new job is special assistant to the school’s provost and vice chancellor, working on broadband delivery of public media projects. Charles Meyer is serving as interim e.d.
Now on PBS, a WNET production, will be presented at the prestigious MIPCOM International Film and Program Market for Television, Video, Cable and Satellite in October in Cannes, France. It’s one of the world’s biggest entertainment trade events. “This series has been on the air for seven years in the U.S., but this will be the first time that it has ever been introduced to the international market,” said Marielle Zuccarelli, senior veep of international sales for distributor GRB Entertainment. It’s good news for the show, which earlier this year told its staff to take eight weeks of unpaid leave to offset a $1 million budget shortfall (Current, March 30).
Nice tributes out there to Reading Rainbow as sun sets today on the 26-year pubcasting fave (as Current reported earlier this month). Here’s one from NPR’s Morning Edition, in case you missed it. Veronica Harley, a blogger for AOL, takes a sentimental look back; more than a dozen folks left comments on what the show meant to them–including this one: “I am highly upset! I’m 17 yrs old & I still watch Reading Rainbow as soon as I come home faithfully!” But the program won’t die completely, reports Business First in Buffalo.
A few of the videos that sparked a federal lawsuit by a former g.m. of WYCC in Chicago are now posted on a local news website. Chi-Town Daily News, which broke the story last month, reports that the PBS station, owned by City Colleges, produced videos that appeared to benefit politicians and friends of former chancellor Wayne Watson. The programs never aired. Maria Moore, former head of the station, said in her suit that she was fired after she complained to Watson about the productions. Her lawsuit also asserts that the chancellor’s orders to make the videos violated terms of the station’s government grant funding and broke federal tax rules for charities, as CPB funds cannot be used for political purposes.
WLIU-FM 88.3 at Long Island University has secured a reprieve, if only for a two more months, reports The Southampton News. University officials recently announced that it would stop funding the station on its Stony Brook Southampton campus on Oct. 3, the day its lease expired, and put it up for sale. Wally Smith, station manager, said that a negotiated agreement will allow WLIU to continue broadcasting at least until Dec. 3.
Could CPB have avoided the public collision of wills over one of the America at a Crossroads documentaries that tainted its $20 million project in 2007 about the post-9/11 world? Determining that, in effect, was the assignment that Cheryl Halpern, then chair of the CPB Board, gave more than two years ago to the corporation’s semi-autonomous inspector general, Kenneth Konz. Back then 10 members of Congress also had asked CPB and its IG to determine what kept the program, Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center, from airing among the first batch of Crossroads shows on PBS. The lead producer of the film, Frank Gaffney, a defense think-tank president and former Pentagon official, had gone public with his dispute.