PBS North to premiere mental-health series tonight

An ambitious 18-part series of call-in shows on mental health premieres tonight (Sept. 30), produced by WDSE/WRPT PBS North, serving northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. The 30-minute Speak Your Mind, airing Thursday nights, aims to openly discuss mental health topics, increase public awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness. It’s hosted by psychologist Dr. Caroline Phelps and former local news anchor Pat Kelly. Topics include depression, managing stress, family issues, learning and behavioral problems in children, anxiety and eating disorders.For 28 years the station has done Doctors on Call “to give the community the language they need to communicate with their doctors,” Juli Kellner, WDSE director of production and programming, told Current.

STEM Collaborative joins four pubTV stations in middle-school work

Four pubTV stations are joining in a STEM Collaborative to help middle-schoolers in science, technology, engineering and math, the stations announced today (Sept. 30). But this is no dry and dull initiative. Students will use geometry, algebra and proportional reasoning to build a skateboard ramp, measure a roller coaster, whip up recipes and plan a rock n’ roll tour. Maryland Public Television, Alabama Public Television, Arkansas Educational Television Network and Kentucky Educational Television will develop the digital-media projects.

Still no decisions for New Jersey Network

New Jersey Network staffers, state officials, professors from Princeton and Rutgers, civic and union leaders and viewers and listeners spoke Wednesday (Sept. 29) in Trenton at yet another hearing on the future of NJN, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. The paper quipped that the 11-plus hours of testimony “were as static and repetitive as the network’s nightly programming.” After the hearing, the 10-member task force seemed no closer to deciding how to wean the network from its state subsidy (Current, July 6). They’re facing a Dec.

PBS, other broadcasters suing TV programming provider ivi

Several major broadcasters, including PBS, and other content providers filed a lawsuit in New York federal district court against ivi TV on Tuesday (Sept. 28), alleging copyright infringement, reports Broadcasting & Cable. ivi sells an app that allows subscribers to watch programming as broadcast from various stations for $4.99 a month. It says it can do so because it is an online cable provider but does not fall under the definition of a cable system as far as the need to negotiate retransmission consent from individual stations. The signals from WNET/Thirteen in New York City and KCTS in Seattle are being broadcast by ivi, which uses a teaser on its website that says, “Watch the Berenstain Bears on PBS!”

Knight-sponsored courtroom project considers transparency vs. privacy

WBUR’s Order in the Court 2.0, winner of a $250,000 Knight News Challenge grant, is working to set best practices for effective ways to cover courts using digital technology. It’s moving ahead to create an area in the Quincy (Mass.) District Court for live blogging and live-streaming of the court’s proceedings, along with a website for its daily docket. But all this raises issues of privacy vs. public interest. Project creator John Davidow, also exec director of WBUR.org, writes on MediaShift that he and his team met last week with Judge Andre Gelinas, a retired justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court who is now special adviser to the chief justice for administration and management for information technology.

PBS viewers continue cleavage debate

The Great Sesame Street Katy Perry Cleavage Kerfuffle continues, with Team Perry taking the lead. PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler said that after an initial spate of disapproving letters, “mail to me is running heavily in favor of Katy and her dress.” That would be the golden bustier-topped frock that sparked all this in the first place. (Check it out on YouTube, where her perky dance with Elmo is up to 4.3 million views.) One letter to Getler summed up the vibe: “Get a grip, prudes.”And speaking of cleavage, did you see Perry’s now-notorious Elmo shirt sketch on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live? That video’s up to 2 million hits.

Pacific Islanders’ “One Voice” takes to the skies

A 15-minute segment of One Voice, the latest doc from Minority Consortia group Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), is soaring high over the Pacific this month on Hawaiian Airlines. It’s featured on the airline’s “Hawaiian Skies” in-flight programming. The movie tells the story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest through its student directors. Every year, around 2,000 high schoolers compete in the competition, where teen leaders direct groups in Hawaiian four-part harmonies. The movie’s local Facebook followers who correctly answer weekly trivia questions on the song contest win prizes and are eligible for a two-night stay at the Waikiki Beach Hotel for the Hawaii International Film Festival screening of One Voice on Oct.

After three extensions, Peconic meets deadline with cash to buy WLIU’s independence

With the help of $300,000 from two major donors and a bank loan of up to $337,000, WLIU-FM management is now prepared to buy the station’s independence from longtime licensee Long Island University. The new nonprofit licensee, Peconic Public Broadcasting, said today it assembled the remaining $637,000 of the purchase price. Earlier this year, Peconic came up with a $213,000 down payment. Six supporters guaranteed the $300,000 loan from Bridgehampton National Bank. Peconic plans to pay down the loan with its ongoing capital campaign.

State broadcasting group takes precautions for Vegas PBS live campaign debate

Vegas PBS will produce the only live televised debate in the extremely contentious race between U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and GOP challenger Sharron Angle. And the Nevada Broadcasters Association is already ramping up security for the Oct. 14 event, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During the last campaign event Faith Lutheran High School, a fistfight broke out in the audience. Bob Fisher, president of the state association, said it is limiting each candidate to 12 accompanying persons instead of 40 to accommodate security as well as local, national and international media requests to cover the debate.