PBS posts interviews from press tour

PBS has compiled a nifty list of all 30 or more interviews its rep conducted with TV producers, stars and other bigwigs during the recent Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena, Calif. Videos include Paula S. Apsell, senior executive producer of NOVA; actor Jonny Lee Miller of Masterpice Contemporary’s “Endgame” (and Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband) and doc legend Ken Burns. Most popular, with nearly 3,000 hits, is David Tennant, the new Masterpiece Contemporary host and former star of BBC’s Doctor Who.

Rock Hall honors Austin City Limits with landmark designation

Austin City Limits in October will be designated an historic rock and roll landmark site by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Rock Hall President and CEO Terry Stewart and ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona made the announcement today at the KLRU-TV studio, home of the series. “Austin City Limits represents one of the most unique archives of modern American music,” Stewart said. The Rock Hall will unveil a historic marker Oct. 1 to celebrate the premiere of the 35th season of ACL on PBS.

CPB reaches new pact for webcasting royalties

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will pay nearly $2.9 million in webcasting royalties to SoundExchange under an agreement approved yesterday by the CPB board. The payments will cover the royalties for the digital music streams of some 450 public radio stations from 2011-2015. The new agreement was negotiated under a deadline set by the Small Webcasters Settlement Act and alters the reporting requirements that pubcasting stations must meet under the current contract, according to Jeff Luchsinger, CPB director of radio system investment. Census reporting, which syncs audience data with music titles being webcast, will be required of only those stations with the largest web audiences. The agreement also sets a cap on additional fees that CPB would pay if pubcasting’s online audiences grow faster than projected, Luchsinger said.

NPR gets flak for what Liasson said on FOX

When NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson compared the government’s Cash for Clunkers program to a “mini-Katrina,” her poorly chosen words violated NPR’s ethics policy, according to NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard. Liasson was wearing her FOX News punditry hat on Aug. 4 when she made the remarks on live television (video here), but e-mails complaining about the inappropriate comparison poured into Shepard’s office at NPR. “I said something really stupid, which I regret,” a contrite Liasson tells Shepard in her latest column. If Liasson had said something this regrettable on NPR, the network’s journalists would have re-recorded the interview and apologized on-air for the misstatement, says Ellen Weiss, senior v.p. of NPR News.

Ed Walker strolls into the Radio Hall of Fame

Ed Walker, locally famous deejay and now host of WAMU’s Sunday night nostalgic The Big Broadcast, was elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame in online voting. In the national personality category, however, conservative Atlanta broadcast Neal Boortz [his website] appears to have trounced nominee Ira Glass’s This American Life. Walker joins former WAMU stars Susan Stamberg and Bob Edwards, earlier inductees in the Hall of Fame. Walker teamed for many years with Willard Scott (later the Today weatherman) as a drivetime comedy duo. See this rare video from their last day as WRC’s Joy Boys.

Viewers may move to front of the line in PBS funding credits

PBS head Paula Kerger said it’s considering shifting that well-known phrase ” … and viewers like you … ” to the front of underwriting acknowledgments, something Pittsburgh’s WQED has already done. “The truth is the majority of our support comes from individual philanthropy and I do think we need to do a better job of making sure people recognize that,” Kerger told assembled television critics at their tour in Pasadena, Calif., this week. As for WQED, “I know we’ve been talking to them about the implementation.

Pete Seeger connects with web visitors via PBS Engage

As promised, PBS Engage forwarded reader questions to folk legend Pete Seeger, and now presents the 90-year-old’s answers. Here he explains his famous quote that “it’s not always enough to sing”: “I’m increasingly doubtful about marching, but of course communicating can be done with all the arts, including cooking and cleaning, carpentry, humor and sports.”

WNED in Buffalo restructures top management

Big changes at WNED in Buffalo, N.Y., effective immediately. Dick Daly, former senior v.p. of broadcasting, is now senior consultant reporting to President and CEO Donald Boswell. Michael Sutton, former CFO and senior v.p. of Finance and Administration, moves to executive vice president and COO, overseeing the Finance & Administration, Education & Outreach, Engineering & Technology, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Building Services departments. Former Controller Nancy Hammond is taking over Sutton’s former post. Director of Education and Outreach John Craig will head that department due to the departure of Education and Outreach v.p. Pamela Johnson, who is moving to CPB to head up Ready to Learn initiative.

‘Reading Rainbow’ fades this month

PBS comes to the end of the Rainbow Aug. 28 when broadcast rights for one of the system’s longest-running kids’ programs expire and Reading Rainbow leaves the network’s satellite feed. Only Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood have had longer PBS kidvid careers. In 26 years, Reading Rainbow won 24 national Emmys, including 10 for best children’s series. “Its real core support has always been in the education community,” says John Grant, chief content officer of Buffalo’s WNED, co-producing station for the show since its debut in July 1983.

The difference pubcasting makes for a community in crisis

On a personal visit to the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, CPB Ombudsman Ken Bode sat in on a live call-in show produced by WYSO-FM, an NPR News and contemporary music station located on the campus of Antioch College. The station broadcasts to a west-central region of Ohio that has been designated by the Treasury Department as among those critically affected by the mortgage crisis, Bode reports, and has received special assistance from CPB and NPR to ramp up its reporting on housing foreclosures. “This is our Katrina,” Neenah Ellis, a veteran pubradio producer who took over as WYSO manager in February, tells Bode. “The problem is larger in this area than elsewhere and larger than generally perceived, she explained, also difficult for both the public and the people trapped in it to understand.” Bode offers a detailed account of WYSO’s coverage as a microcosm of the work that’s being done at pubcasting stations around the country and concludes: “These are remarkable stories reflecting strong reporting, gripping storytelling and a deep sense of community service.”

Today’s fascinating pubcasting factoid

Did you know that Jerry Carr, now president and CEO of WXEL in Boynton Beach, Fla., years ago broke his elbow falling out of a coffin he had been nailed into, and reinjured it tumbling from an elephant?

Letting NPR raise money is a “no brainer”

This American Life raises money directly from its listeners, so why can’t NPR? Pubradio marketing and research consultant John Sutton says the field is forgoing millions in listener contributions by prohibiting NPR from asking for direct support, and he makes a case for lifting the ban. NPR can play an effective role in soliciting donations from lapsed donors and in making appeals for additional gifts, he writes:”NPR can leverage its brand and economies of scale to conduct direct mail and email acquisition campaigns. What seems cost-prohibitive to many local stations is very affordable on a national level. All that’s needed is a model for making sure that all boats rise together.””And that’s the crux of the matter.

Your overseas pubcasting update

The Evangelische Omroep channel of the Dutch public broadcasting system has canceled plans for a comedy show in which “non-religious comedians were asked to poke fun at Jesus,” according to the NRC Handelsblad website. Some viewers threatened to cancel their membership. The working title: Loopt een Man Over het Water, or Man Walks Over Water — a play on the “A man walks into a bar…” jokes. [Initials of Dutch broadcaster corrected.]

WNED shows off its show at press tour

For the first time, Buffalo’s WNED has premiered a show at the Television Critics Association tour. Actor Donald Faison (Dr. Turk on Scrubs) is hosting Your Life, Your Money, the station’s program aimed at young adults. “No one teaches you how to save your money, ever,” Faison told the Buffalo News. “This show does that — or at least sets you down the right road.” It premieres Sept.

Going Mad for Sesame Street

The upcoming Sesame Street parody of the hit show Mad Men, announced on the Television Critics Association press tour, inspired the Flavorwire site to make a few casting suggestions. Prairie Dawn as Peggy Olson? Brilliant.

The story of an unexpected gift for NPR

There’s heartwarming story that’s circulating in the blogosphere about a homeless man from Phoenix who passed away and left a $4 million estate. His name, Richard Leroy Walters, can be heard on funding credits that began airing on public radio last month: “Support for NPR comes from the estate of Richard Leroy Walters, whose life was enriched by NPR, and whose bequest seeks to encourage others to discover public radio.” All Things Considered host Robert Siegel uncovered the story of Walters’ life and the gifts he bequeathed. You can read or listen to it here.

NPR and PBS plan national PublicMedia Camp

Even though school will have started by then, about 300 public-media folks will get to go to camp on the weekend of Oct. 17-18 [2009] — NPR and PBS’s first national PublicMediaCamp. Plans will be announced this week, says Andy Carvin, NPR senior strategist, social media desk.

WYCC target of federal lawsuit

A new federal lawsuit alleges that WYCC, a PBS member licensed to City Colleges of Chicago, violated terms of its government grant funding and broke federal tax rules for charities, according to an exclusive story on the Chi-Town Daily News website. Under alleged direction of then-Chancellor Wayne Watson, WYCC paid to produce free videos of powerful politicians and friends of the chancellor, says an internal college e-mail obtained by the investigative site. The political programs, produced between 2002 and 2006, prompted a state ethics investigation. When the station’s former manager, Maria Moore, complained about the political projects, she was fired. Although the station produced the shows, the programs never aired.

Prenups: precautions for prudent producers

Too many couples were splitting up before the offspring came along. Or they lived together grumpily, keenly aware they shouldn’t have had that second date. Ellen Schneider and her crew saw it was time for an intervention. Schneider’s San Francisco company, Active Voice, has published a 25-page booklet to turn things around: “The Prenups: What Filmmakers and Funders Should Talk About Before Tying the Knot.”