NJ lawmakers criticize NJTV over Hurricane Irene coverage

NJTV’s lack of live coverage of Hurricane Irene whipped at least one state lawmaker into a froth, according to the Star-Ledger. Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), who opposed to the state’s decision to allow WNET to take over the former NJN, said NJTV officials should be embarrassed. “Its absence was glaring and unacceptable during a time of great crisis,” Burzichelli said in a statement Tuesday (Aug. 30). “NJTV promised to focus solely on New Jersey, but residents got nothing from them during the hurricane.”WNET President Neal Shapiro issued in a statement in response: “As we said in June, our video gathering capability and distribution wouldn’t be ready until after Labor Day.

Loan that saved Salt Lake’s KCPW for pubradio news comes due

Three years after its sale to a new community licensee, KCPW-FM in Salt Lake City is under the gun to raise $265,000 by Sept. 30. Wasatch Public Media financed most of its $2.2 million purchase of the NPR News station with a short-term loan from National Cooperative Bank; now the lender wants to get out of the business of public radio financing, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Donors who backed the 2008 purchase reneged on their pledges during the recession, KCPW President Ed Sweeney tells the Tribune. “The challenge we have is how often can you ask your donors for help,” he says.

PBS Hawaii gets $5 million donation toward new facility

 PBS Hawaii has received a $5 million grant from the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation to build a new facility in Honolulu. The station said it has an “urgent need” for the space as it is losing its lease at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, its home for the past 40 years. The commitment brings PBS Hawaii past the midway point in its $30 million capital campaign.In traditional island style, PBS Hawaii rolled out the announcement with a visual story. A Moanalua High School student, part of the station’s innovative Hiki No journalism program, introduced “A Tree Grows on Nimitz Highway,” a short video about the life of the late Clarence T.C. Ching and his contributions to the state. PBS Hawaii will renovate and expand an existing one-story building into the Clarence T.C. Ching Campus, above, and relocate operations in 2014.

Looking to missions and origins to refocus pubcasting

From time to time, “the definition of public broadcasting and public service media should be reviewed,” writes Adam Powell, of the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. “The opportunity is immense.” In his post today (Aug. 31), Powell returns to the original 1967 report of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television to examine how the system is living up to its responsibilities. One point: “Over the air, the mission of experimentation has largely atrophied,” Powell writes.

PBS ombudsman hears from viewers on diversity and Moyers

PBS viewers writing to ombudsman Michael Getler want more diversity (“I am tired of giving money to a station that simply refuses to represent any race except for the white race”) and Bill Moyers (“How interesting that you have room for endless showings of Antique Roadshow … but no time slot for Bill Moyers!”) on the air.

WXPR to move to downtown studios next year

WXPR-FM in Rhinelander, Wisc., is moving into a new building next year, it announced Monday (Aug. 29), joining a growing trend of pubcasting stations shifting to downtown locations. A capital campaign, “Hear the Future,” raised more than $400,000, and two local businessmen are donating 75 percent of the building cost. There’ll be space for four studios — a longtime station goal — and a new community features editor. The building has a news history: It used to house the Rhinelander Daily News.

CCTV from China coming to D.C. area via MHz Networks

MHz Networks is adding two English-language channels from China to its lineup in the Washington, D.C., metro area starting Oct. 1. CCTV News carries headlines, business, money and travel; CCTV Documentary runs cultural, historical, nature docs and more. “The addition of CCTV programming in D.C. opens a full-time window into China for all the residents of the region through free over-the-air and cable TV distribution,” said Fred Thomas, MHz c.e.o, in a press release.

WBUR finds ROI for stores in underwriting

Looking to expand the pool of companies that place underwriting spots on public radio stations, Boston’s WBUR unveiled results from its first-ever study demonstrating that sponsorship credits deliver a return on investment for corporate underwriters. Online surveys by Lightspeed Research, conducted in two waves since October, measured substantial gains for both new and continuing sponsors across 12 different product categories — including banks, supermarkets, health care and auto services. WBUR Station Manager Corey Lewis, who initiated the research, said the results demonstrate that public radio underwriting can compete with and even outperform advertising campaigns on three metrics: influencing customers’ purchasing frequency, perceptions of quality and consideration of a company for future purchases. NPR’s influential research on the “halo effect” of public radio sponsorship — identified in 2003 and confirmed by further survey research last fall — showed strong links between listeners’ perceptions of quality and purchase consideration for companies that underwrite public radio programs, according to Lewis and other research and underwriting specialists. To measure the underwriters’ return on investment, the WBUR study added questions about purchasing frequency.

Hurricane Irene disables two WUNC radio transmitters in N.C.

WUNC radio in Chapel Hill, N.C., is coping with signal loss at two transmitter sites due to Hurricane Irene: WBUX in Buxton, N.C., is located on the Outer Banks, just off Cape Hatteras; and WURI is at Manteo, N.C., on Roanoke Island, between the mainland and barrier islands. “We cannot even call the transmitters because the phones are out” as of Monday (Aug. 29) morning, Nandini Sen, WUNC director of technologies and engineering, told Current. “We’re just waiting. In the meantime we’re in touch with emergency personnel to figure out when can come in.”