Frontline website returns; e.p. Fanning calls hack “disappointing and irresponsible”

Frontline’s website is back up after being hit by hackers over the weekend. The group Lulz Boat claimed responsibility on its Twitter account Sunday night (May 29), mentioning retaliation for Frontline’s recent documentary, “WikiSecrets.” Frontline Executive Producer David Fanning said in a statement on the attack, “We see it as a disappointing and irresponsible act. We have been very open to publishing criticism of the film, and the film itself included multiple points of view. Rather than engaging in that spirit, this is an attempt to chill independent journalism.”

Illinois Public Media continues search for station manager, hires development director

Kate Dobrovolny, former station manager at WILL-AM-FM-TV in Champaign, Ill., who retired in April after 31 years at the station, is spending her summer right where she wants to be: In her garden. Meanwhile, the local News-Gazette reports, Illinois Public Media is conducting a national search for her successor. It’s also hired Debbie Hamlett as director of development to replace George Hauenstein, who left last fall. Hamlett was previously development and programming director at South Carolina ETV. Hamlett starts today (May 31).UPDATE: Current just heard from Hauenstein, who points out he did not retire, as the News-Gazette report states, but instead departed to become chief development officer at Vermont Public Television.

WFUV’s Alternate Side gains drive-time slot on city-owned WNYE

The Alternate Side, an HD Radio channel and online stream programmed by New York contemporary music station WFUV-FM, is expanding its broadcast footprint into morning drive-time. A six-hour music show, co-hosted by Russ Borris and Alisa Ali, will air on WNYE 91.5 FM, beginning June 1 from 6 a.m. to noon.The new programming deal supplants WNYE’s three-year relationship with KEXP in Seattle, which brought simulcasts of KEXP’s John in the Morning to New York’s airwaves in 2008. WNYE is part of NYC Media, owned and operated by the New York City government.The partnership with WFUV “provides the opportunity to improve our radio content and further workforce development in media at the same time,” said Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which oversees the NYC Media group. It also “comes at no cost to the taxpayer,” according to a WFUV’s May 31 announcement.WFUV created and launched The Alternate Side in 2008 as a channel showcasing indie music and new artists. It airs on WFUV’s primary channel as a late-night show — on weeknights from 10 p.m. to midnight.”The Alternate Side is all about finding and supporting new artists,” said Chuck Singleton, WFUV p.d., who led start-up of the service.

Kerger: Aging is all about “testing the boundaries”

PBS President Paula Kerger, 53, is one of several women (including a 74-year-old bodybuilder!) featured in the Washington Post Magazine’s May 29 cover story on women and aging. “So many people believe that when they get to a certain point in their lives, it’s too late to do something new,” she tells the mag. “I believe that testing the boundaries of what you’re capable of is what aging is about.” Training for and competing in triathalons is one way she’s constantly challenging herself “to do something terrifying,” she says.

Chart showing planned rearrangement of the PBS primetime hour

Flow plan would push spots deeper into PBS hours

The traditional pledge-drive mantra brags about a piece of public television’s ancestral DNA: “PBS — your home for quality, uninterrupted programming.”

So the public reacted fairly predictably when PBS announced at this month’s annual meeting in Orlando that it’s considering internal promotional spots as part of its primetime revamp. As one blogger quipped, “Even though it wouldn’t involve actual commercials, I honestly think that Fred Rogers wouldn’t be happy with this idea.”

But some public TV programmers have responded more with curiosity than with outrage. They realize that the PBS schedule loses hundreds of thousands of viewers between shows and has for years. And by clustering compatible programs, as PBS plans to do for the fall, stations can retain more viewers through the station break. The audience isn’t keen on sitting through the present hodgepodge of video snippets between shows: some eight minutes of national and local underwriting spots, promos, program credits, network and station branding and teases.

Ibargüen on PBS break proposal: “It’s too bad”

Reaction continues regarding PBS’s upcoming experiment to interrupt programming four times an hour for underwriting or promotional spots. In a New York Times story Monday (May 31), feedback came from sources including Alberto Ibargüen, a former PBS board chairman and president and chief executive of the Knight Foundation, which finances pubcasting initiatives. “My first reaction is that in any kind of marketing opportunity, if you give up something that is desirable and differentiates you from your competition, it’s too bad, and that’s what this is,” Ibargüen said. However, he noted, “the people of PBS would not do this lightly.” And Jon Abbott, president of producing powerhouse WGBH in Boston, said that “we have a lot of people who care about the work and care about our way of presenting work; that trust, the values that people place in public media are things that we are very attentive to and respectful of.”

PBS web pages hacked; group claims attack in response to “Frontline” on Wikileaks

Hackers attacked the PBS website late Sunday (May 29), posting a story on the PBS NewsHour page that dead rapper Tupac Shakur was “alive and well” and exposing username and password information for various PBS staff and stations, all reportedly in retaliation for a Frontline report on Wikileaks. Online mischief makers Lulz Boat claimed responsibility on its Twitter page around 11 p.m. Sunday. It said in a Tweet that the attack was in response to the Frontline documentary “WikiSecrets,” about the leaking of U.S. government secrets to WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange and the alleged leaker, former army intelligence officer Bradley Manning.Teresa Gorman, a NewsHour social media and online production assistant, posted a series of Tweets in response early Monday morning. “Thanks for your concern guys — we are aware there is more than the Tupac story being hacked right now,” she wrote. She also declined further comment to CNN.PBS issued a statement Monday morning: “Last night there was an intrusion to PBS’s servers.

Management of New Jersey TV Network going to WNET/Thirteen in deal this week

New Jersey officials are finalizing a deal to allow WNET/Thirteen in New York City to run the New Jersey Network’s television operation, the Star-Ledger is reporting today (May 29). State treasury officials are expected to announce the agreement this week. Sources tell the paper that WNET will incorporate a new nonprofit in New Jersey to manage the operation, and will work with several programmers, including Caucus Educational Corp., the nonprofit New Jersey production company run by Steve Adubato Jr., to provide local content. WNET will pay nothing to the state for the right to run the station. The state network also is auctioning off rights to purchase and/or run the radio operation.

Massachusetts town one of many forming nonprofits to run cable access channels

Franklin, Mass., is creating a nonprofit to run the town’s public access channels, reports the local Milford Daily News today (May 29). The town’s Cable Advisory Board hopes to increase public involvement, separate the channel from government entanglements and move it to a larger studio. Comcast stopped running the studio as part of the most recent license agreement the town signed last year. The town has since hired two part-time workers. In the past 10 years, Comcast has stopped running many cable access stations it inherited when it purchased AT&T Broadband, leaving towns to figure out how to keep providing those services, the paper notes.