Public Insight Network wants to connect with conservative voters

The Public Insight Network, a reporting tool from American Public Media that invites audience members to volunteer as sources, wants to increase the number of conservative voices in its database of some 100,000 names. So Michael Caputo, a Minnesota Public Radio analyst with PIN, wrote to the right-leaning Powerline blog for help surveying its readers. “We recognize the need to have more Republican and/or conservative citizens in this network, especially with the GOP nomination up for grabs,” Caputo writes. “So we are making a specific plea for you to become part of this network and help inform what the media sees as news. We need conservatives from around the U.S., since our news organizations come from all parts of the country.

Up to 10 staffers laid off at WKAR in East Lansing, Mich.

The local City Pulse in Lansing, Mich., is reporting that sources say as many as 10 staffers have been laid off from WKAR at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Kirsten Khire, communications manager for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, told the paper that MSU Broadcasting Services, which includes WKAR-TV and WKAR Radio, issued layoff notices Monday (Aug. 15) but declined to say how many. Khire cited “sizable budgetary challenges” at the station as the reason for the terminations. She said the cuts took place “across the organization of Broadcasting Services.”

KET announces move to street-side studio facilities in downtown Louisville

KET in Louisville is consolidating its facilities into one downtown production center, it announced today (Aug. 18). The new space on Main Street will combine its outreach office (right) and production facility, which since 1997 has been in the basement and first floor of a building owned by the county school district. Improvements will include a high-speed fiber-optic line connecting the Louisville facility to KET’s Network Center in Lexington.The move gives KET the second street-side public television studio in the country, along with the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City.“With Main Street as a backdrop, this studio space will become a part of the community itself,” said Executive Director Shae Hopkins. “However, our larger vision remains creating a state-of-the-art studio, production and media center for Louisville in which we could host and produce community forums, concerts and events, as well as provide media training and instructional resources as part of a digital education campus.

PRX plots expansion for its crowd-funding pilot

Story Exchange, a crowd-funding experiment piloted by Public Radio Exchange and Louisville Public Media, has garnered full funding for two long-form reporting projects: Erica Peterson’s three-part series on disposal of coal ash produced by electrical power plants, and in-depth coverage of the environmental effects of the Ohio River Bridge project, a reporting assignment that’s now in the works. PRX received a 2010 Knight News Challenge grant to pilot the project with LPM and PRX’s John Barth recently reported for MediaShift on the progress so far, and tentative plans to expand Story Exchange to additional public radio markets and indie producers.

Storyteller Kevin Kling begins three-year residency at MPR; could APHC be next?

Humorist, author and playwright Kevin Kling has signed on for a three-year residency with Minnesota Public Radio, the network announced Wednesday (Aug. 17), prompting speculation that Kling could be waiting in the wings to step into hosting duties for A Prairie Home Companion following Garrison Keillor’s retirement next spring. MPR says Kling will present original works exclusively on the Fitzgerald Theater stage (gee … that’s home base for APHC … ), conduct storytelling workshops and provide radio commentaries.He is the author of books The Dog Says How, Holiday Inn and Big Little Brother.

Memorial service planned for Shirley Gillette, formerly of WNET

Shirley Gillette, who worked for more than two decades at New York’s WNET, died July 26 at her home atop Schooley’s Mountain in New Jersey, after an illness. “In her own strong and forthright way,” said a tribute Tuesday (Aug. 16) on the local Long Valley Patch website, Gillette “blazed a trail for women by earning her master’s degree at a time when only a small circle of women attended institutions of higher learning, and worked as one of the early pioneers in public television.”She spent 23 years as director of educational programming at the station.She was born in Pontiac, Ill., to Ralph and Lavica Bradshaw. She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois in 1956, where she was a member of Phi Delta Psi and Alpha Omega Pi. She spent 10 years as a high school speech and drama teacher in Manhasset, N.Y.Gillette was a former campaign coordinator for the New York State Young Republicans, was on the campaign staff for Richard Nixon’s presidential bid in 1960, and in 1965 was the New York State co-chair on the Republican Senatorial Campaign.

Rhode Island Public Radio hoping to finalize lease swap by October

Rhode Island Public Radio is working on a three-way lease swap. WRNI currently broadcasts on 1290 AM in Providence and 102.7 FM in Southern Rhode Island. The 10-year lease would allow its news-talk WRNI AM to broadcast on Wheeler High School’s WELH 88.1 FM, and the NPR member station would lease its 1290 AM signal to Latino Public Radio, which currently leases 5 a.m. to noon on WELH. Joe O’Connor, RIPR g.m., says he hopes the switch, which will allow the station to reach tens of thousands of new listeners, can be made by Oct. 1.

Knight religion reporting grants go to several public broadcasters

Public broadcasters are among journalists receiving grants from the Knight Foundation as part of its Reporting on Religion and American Public Life initiative. The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism announced the recipients of the awards, between $5,000 and $20,000, on Monday (Aug. 15). Included are reporter/producer Matt Ozug, known for his StoryCorps work on NPR, who will co-produce “The Sacred in the City,” a website on religious communities of immigrants; Christopher Johnson, whose reporting has run on NPR, will produce radio stories on Ifa, an ancient Nigeria-based religion now practiced in America; and Monique Parsons, another NPR contributor, will examine a new generation of mosque builders in the United States.

Outlook now sunny for outspoken pubradio weatherman in Puget Sound

Cliff Mass, the colorful local weather guy whose non-weather opinions got him booted off Seattle’s news channel KUOW in May, soon will have a regular spot on jazz station KPLU in Tacoma, according to the Seattle Times. Mass, a University of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences, was featured weekly on KUOW’s morning show, Weekday, to discuss weather. But sometimes he would veer off onto other subjects, including a controversy over which textbooks to use in local schools. Station management asked him to stop; he refused. And so Steve Scher, host and executive producer of Weekday, removed Mass from the unpaid spot.

Taking his cues from those bushy brows

Fred Newman, who does all those cool sound effects for A Prairie Home Companion, is pretty in sync with host Garrison Keillor, he tells the Hampton Roads news site. “I can anticipate what he’s going to do from watching his eyebrows,” Newman says.Newman, 59, was raised near LaGrange, Ga. “His grandfather’s farm, right across the street from Newman’s house,” the story notes, “was home to whinnying horses, boc-boc-bocking chickens and mooooing cows.”

Upcoming symposium to continue examination of local news flow

Loris Ann Taylor, executive director of Native Public Media, appears in one of a dozen videos on the Information Stories website, which features short narratives about what happens when local news and related information doesn’t flow to all members of a community equally well. The project was created by Ohio State University law professor Peter Shane and Columbus, Ohio-based filmmaker Liv Gjestvang, who recruited participants nationwide to share their experiences during a digital storytelling workshop last summer. Taylor discusses how her dedication to bringing broadband to Indian country is rooted in her childhood experience of media impoverishment.Shane and I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, an academic journal he helped to found at Ohio State, are hosting a symposium next March, “The Future of Online Journalism: News, Community and Democracy in the Digital Age,” to further explore the capacity of new media to serve the information needs of a democracy. Keynote speakers include Paul Steiger, president of nonprofit investigative news unit ProPublica, and Steven Waldman, lead author of the Federal Communication Commission’s “Information Needs of Communities” report.

KQED now sharing content with local print outlets and Huffington Post

KQED is embarking on two new collaborations, with Networked Journalism and the Huffington Post.It’s the first pubcasting organization to join the Networked Journalism program, which connects broadcast and print news outlets with local online news sites. KQED will collaborate with San Francisco-area news outlets Berkeleyside, Oakland Local, NeighborWebSJ and the San Francisco Public Press to cover community news. Jo Anne Wallace, vice president and general manager of KQED Public Radio, said in a statement that the initiative gives the station an opportunity to offer “a more diverse, more in-depth news service for our respective online news readers and radio listeners.” Networked Journalism is a national effort founded by J Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism of American University’s School of Communication; that school is also home to Current.For the Huffington Post partnership, KQED provides stories from its popular food blog, Bay Area Bites, to HuffPo’s enhanced San Francisco coverage. “If it is something that they want to take, they will then look at their percentage and determine if they owe us a link or if they can take it for a post,” Ian Hill, KQED’s online community engagement specialist, told Nieman Journalism Lab. “The links, from our perspective, are really the things that drive traffic.

Man who threatened ATC hosts gets 46 months in prison

John Crosby, who plead guilty in April to sending violent threats to two NPR hosts through the network’s website, was sentenced on Aug. 12 in Portland, Maine, to 46 months in a prison facility that offers mental health treatment. In January, Crosby sent more than 20 messages containing anti-Semitic and misogynistic terms targeting All Things Considered hosts Melissa Block and Guy Raz. In court last Friday, Crosby described being unemployed, worried about his newborn twins and sleeping in his car. He said he felt NPR was not doing a good job covering the economic situation.

Norman Lear Award goes to Latino Public Broadcasting

Latino Public Broadcasting was honored with the prestigious Norman Lear Award at the 26th Annual Imagen Awards gala on Aug 12 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The honor is presented annually to a Latino writer or entity that has “excelled creatively to dispel negative stereotypes and perceptions of the Latino community,” LPB said in a statement. Latino Public Broadcasting Executive Director Sandie Viquez Pedlow and LPB founder and Chairman of the Board Edward James Olmos accepted the award. A complete list of Imagen Award winners is here.

Dyson’s popularity triggers discussion among African-American TV news journalists

Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University professor and ordained minister with his own pubradio show from WEAA in Baltimore, scored high ratings last week when he took over hosting duties on MSNBC’s The Ed Schultz Show, according to the Daily Beast. Dyson has been a regular guest on MSNBC and other networks for years, it notes, and, like the Rev. Al Sharpton, “was automatically considered the perfect guest host for primetime duties while Schultz was on assignment.” Now some observers are wondering if Dyson and Sharpton “may just be the new African-American faces of primetime news.”“Dyson dominates the pulpit, the classroom, and really, every arena he’s in, so of course audiences are drawn to him,” says James Peterson, director of Africana studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.But the ascent of Sharpton and Dyson within the TV news industry also is raising concerns among African-American journalists, who have struggled for years to get onto major networks during primetime only to now encounter more celebrity-hosted shows. “There is tons of black talent out there that could be used in those positions, but the networks won’t look to those journalists,” said Roland Martin, former secretary of the National Association of Black Journalists and CNN political contributor. “They don’t want young journalists they can train and put in that spot.”The Michael Eric Dyson Show launched around the same time as another public radio offering, Upfront with Tony Cox, hosted by a veteran news broadcaster.

Public broadcasting in Canada facing challenges at age 75

The public Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is approaching its 75th anniversary. “The old dilemma — how to create original Canadian shows when it is much cheaper to pick up popular American ones — now has a new urgency,” reports the Globe and Mail. As commercial and international choices proliferate, it notes, a public broadcaster of Canadian programming becomes more distinctive and more relevant, not less. “It is going to be increasingly difficult to create content within the confines of national boundaries and national models,” media consultant Jerry Brown, an associate partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, told the paper. “[Yet] it’s vitally important each culture and each country tell its own story.”The paper notes that whether the CBC will become “painfully isolated or gloriously distinctive, though, depends on how successfully it positions itself as the first source of Canadian choices in a digital age, and whether its government and its audience help it embrace that role.”There’s also a sidebar on how the CBC compares with other pubcasters worldwide, including PBS.

Documents submitted to FCC reveal KUSF sale details

Reporter Jennifer Waits continues her deep dive via Radio Survivor into the Federal Communication Commission’s look at the controversial sale of student station KUSF to the Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN).Waits found several interesting details in the reams of paperwork submitted for the FCC’s inquiry. As the acquisition process got under way, the broker and Public Radio Capital, 10 percent owner of CPRN, “predicted protests and recommended that KUSF be taken off the air when the sale announcement was made,” Waits writes. “Not only were they afraid of on-air comments about the sale, but they also wanted the appearance of ‘finality’ surrounding it.” The FCC also is looking at the public service operating agreement between the two entities.

Pubmedia “too focused on a narrow demographic,” Ikeda says

Ken Ikeda, co-managing director of Public Media Company (PMC), says he is “deeply, deeply concerned” that public media is not connecting with more diverse audiences. In a short video on ITVS’s Beyond the Box blog, Ikeda says that public media currently is “too focused on a narrow demographic,” and with few exceptions, very few people have taken risks to try to diversify the primary audience. It’s not a lost cause yet, he says, but demands more attention.

Lickteig taking helm at Weekend All Things Considered

Steve Lickteig is returning to NPR after executive producing The Bob Edwards Show on Sirius XM, according to NPR. Lickteig takes over as e.p. of Weekend All Things Considered on Aug. 31. Previously, Lickteig had been an NPR producer from 1998 to 2006 working on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. He was with Edwards’ show for five years, four of those as e.p.

KIXE’s Smith resigns after one year as general manager

Philip Smith, g.m. of KIXE in Redding, Calif., has resigned after a year in the job. Board member Marlene Grant confirmed to the local Record Searchlight newspaper that Smith’s last day was Aug. 4. Smith told the paper that his mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s disease and her physical health had recently taken a critical downturn. Board member Mike Quinn, who owns Redding station KLXR AM 1230, is taking on the g.m. post temporarily.