BBC to announce several cutbacks, Times of London reports

An upcoming BBC strategic proposal signals “an end to the era of expansion” for the British broadcaster, reports the Times of London. The review, scheduled for public release next month, will announce closures of two radio stations, the shuttering of half its website and a 25 percent cut in funding for American program imports. The Times story said that Mark Thompson, the Beeb’s director general, will reveal in the report that the moves are due in part to the corporation becoming too large.

LA Public Media mission: to create new multicultural audiences for public radio

Oscar Garza, senior assignment editor for the Los Angeles Public Media Service, is “one of those people who’s been around for a while and his perspective is key to helping understand Los Angeles,” writes KCET blogger and KPCC reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, in this Q&A about the new CPB-backed start-up. Garza is a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times and former editor in chief of the glossy magazine Tu Ciudad. Los Angeles Public Media’s mission is “to create new audiences for public radio,” he tells Guzman-Lopez. “Public radio has a couple of problems. One is that their audience is older and getting older, their average audience. And they’re not very diverse.

Founder of current WPSU-TV dies in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University journalism professor Marlowe Froke, who founded WPSX-TV (now WPSU-TV) in 1964 at the university, died Feb. 23 in State College, Pa. He was 82. Penn State Live, the university’s news site, said he “took the lead in the early days of cable and public TV to establish networks of connections among Pennsylvania stations and cable operations that preceded today’s Public Broadcasting System.” He joined the Penn State faculty in 1959 as an associate professor of journalism and developed the school’s first broadcast journalism curriculum.

FCC chair says he wants to release 500 MHz of spectrum over 10 years

FCC Chair Julius Genachowski has revealed a specific number for the amount of spectrum the agency wants to see freed up: 500 Mhz. Also, he confirmed what many experts have expected, that there will indeed be a spectrum auction for that bandwidth. In a speech today (PDF) to the New America Foundation, a D.C. progressive think tank, Genachowski said the National Broadband Plan to be presented to Congress next month “will work closely” with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration over the next decade to release the spectrum. The plan proposes a “Mobile Future Auction” permitting existing licensees, “such as television broadcasters in spectrum-starved markets,” to relinquish spectrum in exchange for a share of auction proceeds. “Now, I’ve mentioned broadcast spectrum – so let me be clear: the recommendation is for a voluntary program,” he noted.

South Dakota tribe contacts FCC regarding towers on sacred butte

A Native Tribe in Reliance, S.D., has asked the FCC to examine the location of a commercial broadcasting tower on Medicine Butte — where South Dakota Public Broadcasting also has an tower, reports the Daily Republic in Mitchell. Michael Jandreau, chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux, said he sent a letter to the FCC after a storm brought down the tower last month, requesting an opportunity to discuss the the situation because his tribe regards Medicine Butte as a sacred site. Fritz Miller at SDPB said the station does not anticipate moving its tower. He told Current that laws on tribal boundaries were changed last year, giving tribes the opportunity to buy back land. According to SeVern Ashes, SDPB director of engineering, “The butte is part of the tribe’s creation history and is still used today for vision quest and prayers.”

FTC news workshop includes “On the Media’s” Bob Garfield

The second round of two-day workshops convened by the Federal Trade Commission on the future of journalism are scheduled for March 9 and 10, the agency said in an announcement today. Speakers at “How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?” include FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz; and Bob Garfield, co-host of NPR’s On the Media, addressing “The State of Advertising.” Agenda is here (PDF).

New KCRW g.m. discusses future of station

In case you missed it yesterday: You can now download or stream the interview with Jennifer Ferro, new g.m. of KCRW-FM in Los Angeles, from the station’s own The Politics of Culture program. Ferro’s promotion from assistant g.m. to lead the station was announced Saturday.

North Carolina city ventures into spectrum white spaces

Wilmington, N.C., was the first community in America to discontinue analog broadcasting. Now it’s the first to test a municipal WiFi network using white spaces between DTV channels, reports Broadcasting & Cable. So far the city has been using white-space wireless cameras for traffic and surveillance in a park and highway; soon cameras will also check water levels. And there’ll be public WiFi in a park and school. The city is being assisted by Spectrum Bridge, a real-time online marketplace for radio spectrum.

This American Life tops list of best journalism in 2009

Writer Conor Friedersdorf of True/Slant compiled a list of the best journalism he encountered in 2009. This American Life, the only public radio program to appear in on it, turns up 10 times. TAL’s reportage is cited in several categories–exceptional storytelling, investigative journalism, and media criticism, among others, and more often than any other publication. Friedersdorf acknowledges that there’s a lot of great work that he misses every year. “[T]his isn’t an infallible account of journalism’s best, but I aim to make it the best roundup that any one person can offer, one of these years I intend to do better than the committees who pick the Pulitzer Prizes and National Magazine Awards.