Berenstain Bears to premiere in Lakota language in September

The Lakota version of The Berenstain Bears, Matȟó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe — The Compassionate Bear Family, will debut at 9 a.m. Sept. 11 on South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Prairie Public Television in North Dakota. The idea came more than a year ago from the Lakota Language Consortium (LLC), a group dedicated to restoring the Native language. LLC board member and Rosebud Sioux Tribe member Ben Black Bear is the voice of Papa Bear. The new show will get a special preview screening Sept.

KQED extends offer for pledge-free listening

San Francisco’s KQED Radio will re-launch its pledge-free stream for donors seeking respite from on-air pitches during its fall fundraising drive. Listeners and members who contribute $45 to the station before Sept. 8 will gain access to a web-based alternative channel of regularly scheduled KQED Radio programming delivered to their computers or mobile devices. When KQED first offered its pledge-free alternative channel during its spring drive, it was a big hit with donors. In a survey of contributors, 98 percent of those who used the stream asked KQED to bring it back, according to the station.

ITVS, NCME partnering to bolster Community Cinema engagement

The Independent Television Service and the National Center for Media Engagement are partnering up this fall on ITVS’s tremendously successful Community Cinema engagement work. In six years, Community Cinema has expanded to more than 100 communities nationwide, with more than 150,000 participants so far attending some 2,500 screenings and discussions. ITVS’s commitment to bringing communities and local organizations together through documentary film “aligns perfectly with NCME’s CPB-funded mission to support public media in working collaboratively with their communities to discover, understand, and address community concerns,” NCME Executive Director Charles Meyer said in announcing the collaboration.NCME will focus on “developing and delivering impact strategies and collaborating with stations to capture and convey stories that demonstrate the program’s overall performance and impact in communities,” Meyer said. Jennifer MacArthur, NCME’s director of television and digital media engagement, will host monthly webinars and coach stations on leveraging films for local impact.”By integrating Community Cinema into other station-led engagement work, we can help stations grow the pie bigger locally — and that’s a win-win-win for stronger stations, stronger stories, and stronger communities,” Meyer noted.

Board of Education backs governor’s veto of pubcasting money in Florida

The Florida Board of Education, which has purview over public broadcasting, has made it official: For the first time in 35 years, the state will not provide funding for the 26 stations, “throwing the future of state-funded public broadcasting into question,” according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel. The board approved a budget list in line with Gov. Rick Scott’s veto in May of $4.8 million the Legislature had previously provided to public broadcasting.The Florida Public Broadcasting Service said in a statement to Current: “Florida’s public broadcasting stations make important contributions to education. Our children’s programs are standards-based and have proven value in getting kids ready for school. We train Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) providers and others who work in early childhood. And we provide PBS education resources to classrooms across the state.

A crazy news cycle, captured in Carvin’s tweets and storified by MediaShift

Andy Carvin’s epic weekend of tweeting the Libyan revolution inspired MediaShift to storify a day in the life of NPR’s star Tweeter. The chosen day, Aug. 23, turned out to be an extraordinary news cycle. Carvin was following Libyan rebels’ takeover of Moammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli and the plight of western journalists being held in the nearby Rixos Hotel, then reacted with shock as a 5.9 magnitude earthquake rocked his home outside Washington, D.C.

News collaborations enable “many voices” in pubcasting, Kerger says

The second speaker in ITVS’s short-video series on the future of public media is PBS President Paula Kerger, who calls this a “profoundly interesting” time for pubmedia, especially with all the collaborations taking place. “Being able to leverage journalism from multiple places is really, I think, an exciting development for public media,” she says, “because it enables many voices and many stories to be told but also the talents of a diverse range of reporters than can bring stories forward.”

MPR’s Eichten announces retirement

Longtime Minnesota Public Radio news host Gary Eichten will retire in January 2012, he announced at the end of his Midday program Monday (Aug. 22). Eichten has spent more than 40 years with MPR, in roles from station manager to news director and now host of Midday. Eichten began his career at MPR as a student announcer at Collegeville’s KSJR, the network’s first station. He has received numerous honors, including induction in 2007 into the local Pavek Museum of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame.

Larry Heileman dies; worked in fundraising at WGBH, WHYY, PBS

Larry Heileman, a longtime public broadcasting fundraiser, died Aug. 18 at Queen Anne Nursing Home in Hingham, Mass., from complications of a brain tumor. He was 66.“Larry made a substantial impact on public broadcasting through his work with WGBH, WHYY in Philadelphia, and PBS Development,” said Berta MacCarthy, WGBH’s former executive director of contributor development and marketing, in a statement. “His effectiveness in launching successful fundraising strategies and raising millions of dollars made him a valuable resource for the WGBH community and the entire PBS system. Larry never hesitated to test and evaluate new methods and enjoyed dropping by to chat about a new idea or calling colleagues to share innovative techniques.

Channel swapping in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s WRNI is negotiating a channel-swap deal that would bring its NPR News to the FM dial on 88.1 MHz in Providence, a frequency that had been shared by Latino Public Radio, students at Brown University, and students of Wheeler, a private K-12 school adjacent to the Brown campus that owns the license. Brown Student Radio lost use of the channel early this month when Wheeler terminated its 14-year lease agreement, the Brown Daily Herald reported. Under the proposed channel swap, which is being negotiated as three-way lease agreement, WRNI will take over 88.1 FM as its flagship channel for northern Rhode Island, and Latino Public Radio will expand into a full-time broadcast service on 1290 AM, which is now broadcasting WRNI’s NPR News service. Wheeler will continue its radio and broadcast curriculum for students, but their programming will be distributed as a web stream. WRNI broadcasts to southern Rhode Island on two FM channels, 102.7 MHz in Narragansett Pier and 91.5 MHz in Coventry, according to the FCC’s database and an Aug.

Moyers outspoken as always in wide-ranging interview

“When representative government has been bought and paid for by the predator class, there’s no easy way to get it back,” says newsman Bill Moyers in a candid interview on George Mason University’s History News Network website. “The conservatives have been brilliant at this. They took over the Republican Party, remade it in their image, and employ it as their Trojan horse for the protection of the rich: GOP — Guardians of Privilege. As for Democrats: their everyday working people — as well as their practicing progressives and liberals — only have a party when the lobbyists aren’t using it.”Moyers also discusses myriad subjects including President Barack Obama (he “seems obsessed with wanting to lead the country in what he sees as a post-partisan era while his opponents are so partisan they have only one goal in mind — to destroy him even if they have to burn down the house to do it”), Moyers’ first pubcasting appearances (“My first season was awful; I wore horn-rimmed glasses, dark suits, was too stiff, took myself too seriously”) and his memories from aboard Air Force One on Nov. 22, 1963, as it carried President John F. Kennedy’s slain body back to Washington (“Enormous sorrow all around.

PubCamp goes west to California

The first-ever PubCampWest — an informal gathering of media makers, community organizers, and web developers sharing ideas for collaboration in media innovation — convened in Pasadena, Calif., last weekend. In a two-hour video of the “unconference” wrap-up session, participants talk up the importance of producing compelling online content for audiences who primarily rely on web-based media for news and information, and a proposal for collaborating on 2012 election coverage, among other ideas. A PubCamp Tumbler site aggregating Storify summaries and other social media reactions to unconference sessions, is here. Pubcasters KPCC in Pasadena, PBS SoCal in Orange County, and KQED in San Francisco collaborated in organizing the conference.

Filmmaker Werner Bundschuh dies in fall; worked at WGBH-TV

Werner Bundschuh, a WGBH alum and documentary filmmaker who co-founded Blackside Inc., which produced the critically acclaimed Eyes on the Prize series, died Friday (Aug. 19) after falling from a ladder at his home in Royalston, Mass., according to a report on the WGBH Alumni website. He was 70 years old.Werner began his career in film and television at WGBH-TV, where he wrote and produced many programs, a number of them broadcast nationally on PBS, including The Totalitarian Temptation, and The Bomb That Fizzled for the series In Search of the Real America. He also directed The Ancient Mariners for the series Out of the Past.He was a founding partner with Henry Hampton of BlackSide, which produced Eyes on the Prize, an epic six-part presentation of the historic black struggle for human and civil rights.A celebration of Werner’s life will be from 2 to 4 p.m. today (Aug. 23), at The Maples, 17 On the Common, Royalston.

Moyers returning to public television in January with weekly show

Starting in January, veteran newsman Bill Moyers will provide a fully funded, hourlong weekly program — Moyers & Company — to public television stations.”There will be a diversity of voices,” Moyers told stations in a letter today (Aug. 22), “one-on-one interviews with lively minds rich in experience and insight, as well as an exchange of views among people who may disagree on politics, governance, faith, religion and the state of democracy, but who nonetheless agree on the importance of a civil dialogue about their differences.”The aim, he said, is to offer viewers “some different news, some new voices and fresh thinking, and an occasional cultural grace note.” American Public Television will distribute the series and New York’s WNET, Moyers’ longtime home base, will be the presenting station.Content will be distributed across platforms to better reach new audiences. Stations also will receive customized promos, tools for local underwriting, and streaming content for websites.Moyers was in talks in April with PBS for distribution of a series, which PBS ultimately declined. Network President Paula Kerger told Current in May, “He needed us to guarantee that we could give him another common carriage position on Friday night, and we can’t quite do that yet.”

Genachowski won’t release spectrum model until Congress okays auction

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski says the agency will not release its Allotment Optimization Model (AOM) detailing how it will reconfigure broadcast spectrum after an incentive auction until after it gets that auction authority from Congress, reports Broadcasting & Cable. The statement came in response to a request from Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) that reflects the growing call in the broadcast industry to release the model to the public. Dingell called Genachowski’s response “deeply troubling.” He also said he would oppose any legislation that did not explicitly protect broadcasters.

The “Life on Earth” guy gets a life award for his work

Sir David Attenborough, the 85-year-old naturalist and BBC star who created Life on Earth, The Life of Birds and other nature docs on PBS and other channels will receive the International Honour of Excellence at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) Sept. 11. Sir David’s latest production — Flying Monsters 3D, a 3D IMAX film about flying dinosaurs — won a British Academy Award in May and is playing in IMAX theaters in Europe and at the Science Spectrum Museum, Lubbock, Texas. This year’s IBC will be held Sept. 8-13 in Amsterdam.

Civil discourse essential to democracy, documentarian Ken Burns says

PBS filmmaker Ken Burns will call for a nationwide discourse on civility at a National Press Club Speakers Series luncheon on Oct. 3. “This year as we think about the 150th anniversary of the start of our Civil War, we must remember that the lack of civility in our political language threatens the very basis of American society,” Burns said in a press release. “I believe civility is essential to our ability as a nation to confront together difficult issues even when we may disagree.” Burns wants to use his upcoming documentary, Prohibition, as a starting point for discussion, as he sees it as “one of America’s most notorious civic failures” that serves as “an object lesson in the challenge of legislating human behavior,” with relevance to today’s political discourse.

Iowa City’s PEG channel joins nationwide fight to keep public access funding

Iowa City’s public access channel, PATV Channel 18, has joined the Alliance for Community Media to gain support of Iowa lawmakers for the Community Access Preservation Act, which would restore funding to local stations and prevent operators from discriminating against the channels, PATV executive director Josh Goding tells the Iowa City Press-Citizen. “The history of public, educational and government channels is vague to many people, but these channels are critical because they produce more original local media than all the big networks combined,” Goding said. “The funding structure that grew up around PEGs in the 1980s is now being undermined by profit motive. Big telecoms are dumping millions into state legislatures to buy their way out of their obligations to our cities and our community channels.”Goding said stations nationwide are at risk of losing funding. “The hundreds of PEG stations struggling to stay viable across the country since 1978 have always been the true sources of free speech, diverse local programs (and) citizen journalism,” Goding said.

Former employee sues Lidia’s Italy host

Lidia Bastianich, whose latest public television series, Lidia’s Italy in America, premieres Sept. 10, is being sued by an Italian cook who alleges that Bastianich made her a “virtual slave,” reports the New York Daily News. Maria Carmela Farina is asking for $5 million in the suit, filed Thursday (Aug. 18) in Manhattan. Farina says in the suit that she came to America in 2006 thinking she would oversee Bastianich’s kitchens and prepare recipes for her shows.

Keno brothers depart Antiques Roadshow for their own program on Fox

Twin brothers Leigh and Leslie Keno, known for their appraisal work since 1997 on the pubcasting hit Antiques Roadshow, premiere their own program, Buried Treasure, Aug. 24 on Fox. The two go on location, and “sleuth for worthy finds from basement to attic for people who are often down on their luck, facing money problems or illness,” according to ArtFix Daily, an online arts news site.Leigh Keno reports: “We have found treasures from all over the world, valuable and rare objects ranging from 1000 B.C., a Minoan bronze bowl with inscriptions that was buried under a pile of magazines … and a rare Egyptian tomb figure with the figure of Osiris, polychrome painted, that was just sitting in a dresser.”Roadshow spokesperson Judy Matthews said the brothers didn’t participate in this summer’s production tour. “We wish them well,” she added, saying they’re always welcome to return.

Former pubcaster is winging it with new barbecue franchise

Bob Friedman, a Nightly Business Report correspondent back in the 1980s, left pubcasting for a life in … barbecue. And it turns out he’s still enamored of it. As Friedman tells the News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, N.C., “I still have pig fat in my blood.”While reporting for NBR, a conversation on foreign trade with then-U.S. Rep. Don Sundquist of Memphis led to a discussion of barbecue and an idea for a restaurant, Red Hot & Blue. It eventually grew to 35 outlets when Friedman and his partners sold it three years ago.