PubTV, radio rake in Peabody Awards

Pubcasters won 18 of the 39 George Foster Peabody Awards announced this morning by the University of Georgia. PBS led the field of 2010 Peabody winners with ten awards — two of which were presented to American Masters, the documentary series produced by New York’s WNET.Four Peabodys awarded to NPR honor international and investigative reporting, including a collaboration with Youth Radio and the Huffington Post. Three additional winners for pubradio were RadioLab, The Promised Land, and The Moth Radio Hour.Two docs produced by or in collaboration with local stations — “Lucia’s Letter” from WGCU-FM in Fort Myers, Fla., and “The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today,” by Jay Rosenstein Productions and WILL-TV in Urbana, Ill. — also earned Peabody distinction.The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication presents the annual Peabody Awards, one of the oldest and most prestigious prizes in electronic media.

Layoffs, program cutbacks loom at South Dakota Public Broadcasting

South Dakota Public Broadcasting will reduce local programming and educational services and lay off seven of 57 employees as a result of budget cuts exceeding $750,000, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Decisions are still being made, and details cannot be released until staff members are told about layoffs, SDPB Executive Director Julie Andersen said Wednesday (March 30). In the fiscal year beginning July 1, SDPB faces losses of more than $537,000 in state funds and $220,000 in other support, mostly money it has received from the Education Department to run overnight educational programs.

KCET reportedly in talks to sell studio property to Church of Scientology

KCET is in negotiations to sell its Sunset Boulevard studios to the Church of Scientology, the Los Angeles Times is reporting. Real estate brokers tell the newspaper that the station plans to move to a smaller location, and officials have been touring potential sites. The historic 4.5 acre site has been assessed at $14.1 million. Both KCET and Scientology officials declined comment to the paper.KCET’s lot is at 4401 W. Sunset Blvd.; the Church of Scientology Los Angeles is four blocks away, at 4810. Meanwhile, LA Weekly’s Media blog quotes a KCET insider as saying that its top execs are “going to leave the station burning and destroyed and walk away with money falling out of their pockets …

South Dakota Public Broadcasting shoots (video) and scores!

A South Dakota Public Broadcasting video has gone viral with more than half a million views, thanks to a spectacular heave-ho, half-court basketball shot during a fifth-place playoff game between Pierre and Sturgis high schools last week. Yahoo! Sports proclaims that it deserves consideration for “basket of the year” honors.

Latino Public Broadcasting hires Sandie Viquez Pedlow as new director

Sandie Viquez Pedlow takes over as executive director of Latino Public Broadcasting on July 6, according to an announcement today (March 30). In February, Patricia Boero, who led the group for three years, announced she needed to return home to Uruguay this month.Pedlow has been director of station relations for PBS Education since 2004, leading the training of pubTV station staff in the promotion and marketing of PBS online and digital media products and services. She also worked at CPB for 10 years, as director of programming strategies; associate director of cultural, drama and arts programming; and senior program officer. Pedlow was a member of the CPB team that managed the founding of LPB in the 1990s.She’ll direct operations of public media’s largest Latino-focused content developer and funder, providing programming to public television stations, multicast channels and other media platforms. One major project: She’ll be LPB’s executive producer for the upcoming six-hour series “The Latino Americans,” with WETA.Luis Ortiz, LPB’s managing director, will oversee LPB during the transition period. He will continue to manage the day-to-day operations in Los Angeles and maintain the West Coast presence for group.

Economist editorial: NPR may be better off without federal funding

The debate over federal funding to public radio isn’t really about how the money is distributed, and how much local stations depend on it, as so many of public radio’s own reporters have recently explained, according to this unsigned editorial by the Economist. It’s a targeted partisan attack that capitalizes on conservatives’ long running campaign to discredit mainstream media.

Red Green rolls on

How’d pubcasting fave Red Green come up with that name, anyway? “I was making fun of a guy who had a TV show in Canada, Red Fisher,” Green’s creator Steve Smith tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Green seemed like the dumbest last name to go with Red. Now they tell me I’m a genius because every stoplight’s a promo.” Green is still selling out stops on his latest tour, promoting his book, How to Do Everything.

WQXR’s Limor Tomer departing for post at Metropolitan Museum of Art

Limor Tomer, executive producer for music at New York Public Radio’s classical station WQXR, is leaving to head up the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Concerts & Lectures series, the Met announced Tuesday (March 29). In addition to her work at WQXR, Tomer also serves as adjunct curator for performing arts at the Whitney Museum. She takes up her new duties on May 1.During her time at the public radio station, she oversaw the transition to fully digital music broadcasting and the launch of Q2, an all-digital radio stream devoted to the music of living composers. She also served on the transition team during the acquisition of WQXR by WNYC (now operated jointly as New York Public Radio). Tomer also is a classically trained pianist, with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School.

MacNeil returns to NewsHour for special reports on autism

Robert MacNeil, co-founder of PBS NewsHour, is returning to the show to present Autism Today, a six-part series on the disorder that affects 1 in 110 children. MacNeil’s 6-year-old grandson, Nick, has been diagnosed with autism. “I’ve been a reporter on and off for 50 years, but I’ve never brought my family into a story — until Nick, because he moves me deeply,” MacNeil said in a statement today (March 29). MacNeil and producer Caren Zucker, who has a 16-year-old son with the disorder, introduce the series on April 18. In the first episode, MacNeil brings viewers to meet his daughter and grandson in Cambridge, Mass., to see how autism involves the whole family, including Nick’s 10-year-old sister, Neely.

Got videos?

OK, so your station has some cool videos online. Now what? Get ideas for using them to pull in more eyeballs during a National Center for Media Engagement webinar at 1 p.m. Eastern Wednesday (March 30). Your electronic hosts will be Kevin Dando, PBS’s head of digital and education communications and YouTube channel guru, and Greg Jarboe, president of SEO-PR, an expert in search engine optimization. Register online here.

NPR halts search for news exec to focus on top post

NPR is suspending its search for a senior vice president for news until it hires a permanent c.e.o., according to an email obtained by The Hill newspaper Monday (March 28). In the memo, NPR interim chief exec Joyce Slocum told staff that the decision was made to stop the search for Ellen Weiss’s replacement after consulting with members of the search advisory committee. Weiss was forced to resign in January over her role in the firing of senior correspondent Juan Williams (Current, March 9). NPR President Vivian Schiller resigned after conservative activist James O’Keefe’s undercover video sting of network fundraiser Ron Schiller (Current, March 21).Slocum said several candidates for the senior news position have indicated interest in the top position. “It’s only fair that the c.e.o. have a key role in selecting the [senior vice president] News and that the [senior vice president] News know who his or her long-term boss will be when coming into the position,” she said.”I know that we all want to fill these roles as quickly as possible with permanent leadership.

NPR runs Frontline reporting segment on WikiLeak soldier

Frontline today (March 29) provided NPR’s Morning Edition portions of its reporting on the private life of Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, the soldier who stands accused of leaking the largest cache of classified documents in U.S. history to the WikiLeaks website. It’s part of the newsmag’s ongoing collaborative efforts to provide breaking news to a wider audience through pubmedia partners.Portions of Frontline correspondent Martin Smith’s exclusive interview with Manning’s father that ran on PBS NewsHour on March 10 sparked national headlines, when the elder Manning alleged his son was being mistreated in detention.“That strategic public media partnership allowed both Frontline and PBS NewsHour to benefit from the immediate release of breaking news,” Frontline senior series producer Raney Aronson-Rath told Current in a statement. Linda Winslow, NewsHour e.p., said such collaborations “strengthen public media’s presence in the news and public affairs landscape more than ever.” In today’s report on Morning Edition, Manning’s father recalled past pivotal incidents, including pushing his reluctant son to join the Army.

Ken Burns, Lynn Novick working on major Vietnam series for PBS

PBS today (March 28) announced that documentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick will produce and direct a 10- to 12-hour series about the Vietnam War, to be aired on PBS in 2016. Burns said the series “will shed light both on the history of the war, and on our inability to find common ground about it.” The project will also include a website, a  multi-platform educational initiative, community engagement grants for station outreach and a companion book to be published by Alfred A. Knopf. In an interview with Current in October 2009, when Burns was just beginning research on the project, he termed it “a major, major history” of the conflict in Southeast Asia.

South Carolina ETV educating all-new pubcasting commission

New South Carolina ETV President Linda O’Bryon (formerly of KQED and Nightly Business Report) tells the Anderson Independent Mail that she’s simultaneously working to develop ETV’s revenue base and content initiatives as well as educate the state’s entirely new public broadcasting commission on the value of the network.South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley recently announced the replacement of every member of the ETV Commission. The move came after her State of the State speech, during which she also urged lawmakers to cut all funding to the network, about $9.6 million.The paper notes that the network has earned $10 million for the state from a 30-year, $142 million spectrum lease to two national companies inked in 2009.

KPCC trying techniques “rarely employed” in pubradio to double audience

Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that Southern California Public Radio executives are using business tactics “rarely employed in the tame world of local public radio to create a megastation they hope will one day beam its signal from Santa Barbara to San Diego.” SCPR’s stations currently reach 14 million listeners, but its board hopes to nearly double that to 25 million. “If we can buy a station, we will,” says Gordon Crawford, chairman of SCPR’s board of directors. “Where we can’t, we’ll build translators to boost our signal. This is a new business model for public radio.”

Vivian Schiller says she’ll stay in journalism; “I’m not done yet”

The International Women’s Media Foundation has posted its exclusive interview with former NPR President Vivian Schiller, reportedly her first in-depth public discussion of her recent resignation (Current, March 9, 2011). As for her career, “I’m not done,” she said. “I certainly plan to stay in journalism. I feel passionate about it.” She added: “I will be back in some position at some point in the not too distant future.”

OPB announcer dies in head-on collision on interstate

Heidi Tauber Esping, 52, an Oregon Public Broadcasting announcer, died in a head-on collision on Wednesday (March 23) night on Interstate 405, according to the Oregonian. Lynne Clendenin, OPB’s v.p. of radio programming, told the paper she hired Esping in 2009 because of her warm tone and news savvy. “The two combined made for a very nice OPB announcer, and I thought she was wonderful on the air,” Clendenin said. “She was welcoming always in her manner. You could hear her smiling.”

Democratic unity in the House on NPR bill sends strong signal, analyst says

Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, has good news for NPR in Wednesday’s (March 23) The Hill. The fact that all 185 voting Democrats last week rejected H.R. 1076, which would have banned federal funding to NPR, sends “a very powerful signal to the Senate and the White House,” he says. “Anything that brings together Heath Shuler and Maxine Waters,” Baker says, will gain notice from other Democratic leaders. Baker is referring to the centrist North Carolinian and liberal from California, respectively. The Hill said Republicans may take another stab at defunding pubcasting in an amendment to other measures, and similar language is included in a bill the House passed that would fund the government through September — a proposal Republican leaders want reconsidered when Congress returns next week, the paper noted.

Annenberg’s Neon Tommy reflects “new reality” for journalists, LA Times says

“A generation ago,” notes Los Angeles Times media columnist James Rainey, “journalists wrote their stories and moved on to the next thing, with someone else worrying about delivery of the end product. In today’s digital world, journalists must not only create the stories but make sure they get to readers.” The Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism’s Neon Tommy is a laboratory for those practices. Its reports by USC student journos focus on everything from the Egyptian revolution to a standing feature on food called Neon Tummy. Reporters collaborate with other news entities, and each makes sure that content is electronically disseminated as widely as possible.