Blumenthal leaving New Jersey Network

The interim director of the New Jersey Network is departing as of Sept. 17, reports the Bergen (N.J.) Record. State lawmakers are considering the state’s relationship with the network and its nonprofit foundation (Current, July 6, 2010). Hearings are set for Sept. 14, 16 and 23.

Here’s a first: Berenstain Bears in the Lakota language

Twenty episodes of Berenstain Bears cartoons will soon air on South Dakota Public Television — in the Lakota language. The Associated Press is reporting today (Aug. 30) that the shows begin running this fall. The AP says it’s the first time in the United States that a cartoon series has been translated to a Native language and widely distributed, according to Wilhelm Meya, executive director of Lakota Language Consortium, a nonprofit that partnered with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to co-produce the Lakota version of the series. (Click here to hear numbers spoken in the Lakota language.)

KMBH in Texas declines to run Frontline Katrina report

The Brownsville Herald is reporting that Harlingen, Texas, PBS affiliate KMBH did not run Frontline’s “Law & Disorder” last week (Aug. 25), which focused on questionable police shootings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The paper cited “offensive language” as the problem. Diane Buxton, Frontline spokesperson, told Current the show provided an early feed to accommodate stations that wished to make the two minor language edits. John Ross, KMBH interim general manager, did not return a call from Current.

Static from classical listeners in KTRU deal

Indie rock college students aren’t the only Houston music lovers objecting to Rice University’s decision to sell KTRU, the Houston Chronicle reports. The 50,000-watt underground music station on 91.7 FM, operated by Rice students for four decades, will adopt an all-classical format once the University of Houston’s KUHF completes the purchase, but the station’s signal fades in Houston’s southern and western suburbs. “It seems odd that they would degrade their (classical music) signal and alienate a lot of their listeners,” a KUHF listener tells the Chronicle. Like many pubcasters undergoing signal expansion, KUHF also plans to simulcast its all-classical service as an HD Radio channel of its more powerful, legacy signal on 88.7 FM. Rice students are to continue programming as an Internet radio station.

NH candidate wants end to CPB funding

It’s election season (it’s it always?) and one New Hampshire candidate is taking on public broadcasting. Republican Congressional hopeful Frank Guinta is calling for the end CPB federal funding. “Quality programs like Sesame Street and Antiques Road Show [sic] don’t need taxpayer funds to stay on the air,” Guinta said on his website. “Let’s end taxpayer funding for PBS and NPR, and allow them to compete freely for viewers and listeners on the open market.” The New Hampshire Democratic Party issued a statement on his statement. Guinta and other Republican candidates’ “irresponsible pandering is reaching new lows,” said Press Secretary Harrell Kirstein.

PBS hires director for online giving

Keith Brengle, former director of online personals for AOL, is the new director of online giving for PBS, Senior V.P. for Development Director Brian Reddington said in a posting on a development chat group. A note on the former AOL Personals site said that as of Aug. 31, 2010, “we no longer offer online dating services.” Brengle will join PBS Oct. 12.

Innovators-in-Residence to work at PRI headquarters

Public Radio International (PRI) this week (Aug. 23) announced its new “Innovator-in-Residence” program, inviting technology and social media start-ups with a public service mission to share PRI’s headquarters for three months or longer. The PRI Innovation Fellows will receive advice and business counsel from PRI executives, introductions to media and business leaders, and access to PRI facilities and expertise. In return, fellows will provide PRI with access to their ideas, software and content. The first Innovator-in-Residence is Instant Automatic, based in San Francisco and Minneapolis.

Wit, wisdom and more than $1 million

Red Green (aka actor Steve Smith) continues to barnstorm across America, and has helped raise $560,000 for PBS stations so far, he tells the Lethbridge Herald in Alberta, Canada, where he played in a celebrity golf tourney this week (Aug. 26). Smith said by the time his Wit and Wisdom Tour is over later this fall, “we’ll be well over a million, probably $1.5 million or more.” Fans have been driving for miles and standing in line for hours to meet the duct tape-loving handyman.