KNPB in northern Nevada loses signal in fire

Weekend snow and ice storms contributed to the cause of a fire that knocked out several channels from KNPB in northern Nevada. Viewers still can’t access 5.1 HD, the standard digital channel, Create on 5.2 or V-me on 5.3. The blaze, which destroyed a filter system in the transmitter, was discovered at 9 p.m. local time Sunday, during the premiere of Stewards of the Rangeland, a new KNPB production focusing on livestock management strategies. “KNPB engineering staff are working with the transmitter manufacturer to replace damaged parts, returning the signal as soon as possible,” a Monday (Feb. 28) release from the station said.

Director of “Helvetica,” “Objectified” docs now crowdfunding “Urbanized”

Gary Hustwit, director of “Helvetica” and “Objectified” on Independent Lens, is crowdfunding his latest project, “Urbanized.” He’s launched the funding drive on Kickstarter with a goal of $85,000 by March 23; as of Feb. 28, he has about $42,000. Hustwit and a his team are now editing, with post-production this summer on the documentary examining urban design. Donors can fork over from $10 to $5,000 for nifty perks: At the $2,000 level, it’s two VIP tickets to the world premiere, dinner that evening with Hustwit and members of the cast and crew, a “special thanks” in the film’s credits, 10 DVDs, two DVD box sets, two T-shirts and a set of the limited-edition prints.

Vote on Continuing Resolution probably put off until at least mid-March

The threat of a government shutdown apparently has been avoided until at least March 18, reports the Washington Post. Senate Democrats on Friday (Feb. 25) tentatively accepted a Republican plan to cut $4 billion in federal spending that President Obama has already targeted for elimination. CPB funding was zeroed out in the Continuing Resolution the House passed along to the Senate earlier this month (Current, Feb. 22).

Announcement coming soon on Alaska pubcasting merger

Alaska public broadcasting stations could merge as soon as next month, according to today’s (Feb. 28) Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The stations, including KUAC in Fairbanks, KTOO in Juneau, KYUK in Bethel and Alaska Public Telecommunications in Anchorage, have been in talks for two years. Those discussions were sparked by mounting financial problems that prompted layoffs and reductions in local programming starting in 2009. A committee has been hearing input from residents in communities that would be affected.

Susanna Capelouto heading to CNN

Susanna Capelouto, Georgia Public Broadcasting’s news director, has left to join CNN. She’s been with GPB a total of 19 years, the first two part-time. She’ll be a producer for CNN Radio working with another GPB alum, John Supulvedo, producing long-form audio stories. Capelouto said last week she now plans to become “a loyal GPB volunteer,” network spokesperson Nancy Zintak told Current. Also last week, she was honored at the Georgia State Capitol by lawmakers with a House Resolution for her years of service to GPB; guests nibbled on a cake featuring her likeness on the icing.

“Motown Sound” fills White House for PBS show

The White House “reverberated like a long-ago basement sound studio in Detroit” on Thursday (Feb. 24), reports the Associated Press. The occasion: a PBS In Performance at the White House, “The Motown Sound.” Performers included Smokey Robinson, John Legend, Seal and Stevie Wonder — first lady Michelle Obama confessed he’s her favorite, “yes indeed.” And Motown founder Berry Gordy was in the audience. See a clip here.

PBMA leaving NETA, will focus on pubcasting leadership training

The Public Broadcasting Management Association is departing its 30-year home at the National Educational Telecommunications Association.It’s time, said PBMA Vice Chairman Tom Livingston, president of Livingston Associates in Baltimore. “We’re grown now.” Coulter Nonprofit Management in McLean, Va., will work with PBMA.Livingston told Current that the group’s aspiration “is to become more significant in the leadership development area.” The system is facing “unbelievable challenges,” he said. If pubcasting is to have a viable future, “it’s going to take some great leadership. Basically there’s been no coordinated leadership development work in public media for 15 or 16 years. And I believe we can see the results of that in the state of our leadership today.”Livingston added that the group is grateful for NETA’s longtime support.

Pubradio tech survey charts growth in smartphone usage, streaming audio tune-ins

Results of the third annual Public Radio Technology Survey measured dramatic growth in smartphone adoption among public radio listeners and their clear preference for Apple’s iPhone among mobile hand-held devices. More than a third of respondents now own a smartphone, a 29 percent gain since last year’s survey; within this subgroup of survey participants, 63 percent use the iPhone. The survey of 21,000 public radio listeners, conducted through a partnership of Jacobs Media and Public Radio Program Directors, also shows impressive gains in the number of respondents who listen to public radio via Internet streams. An infographic from Jacobs media sums up the 2010 survey findings; PRPD details top-line results here. For the last survey, released in Sept. 2009, researchers found dramatic growth in the number of respondents who frequented social networking sites such as Facebook.

Pubcasting foe Sen. Jim DeMint on Communications subcommittee

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) have named the members of their subcommittees, including the Communications and Internet Subcommittee that has the most direct oversight of communications issues and the FCC, reports Broadcasting & Cable today (Feb. 25). John Kerry (D-Mass.) returns as subcommitte chair; GOP ranking member is John Ensign (Nev.). “The Republican membership includes two of the 10 most conservative Senators according to National Journal’s just-released ratings,” B&C points out — such as Jim DeMint (S.C.), author of several bills to defund public broadcasting.