Penn State Public Broadcasting is producing and broadcasting a live Town Hall Forum at 6 p.m. Eastern tonight (Nov. 30) for students and university administration to discuss the ramifications of the sexual abuse allegations surrounding former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The Town Hall will air on WPSU’s World multichannel with additional feeds provided by WPSU to the Pennsylvania Cable Network and the Campus Cable Network as well as online.
PBS President Paula Kerger spent an hour on KQED’s Forum program Wednesday (Nov. 30), taking listener questions on public broadcasting and its future. She revealed that to raise revenues, PBS is considering a “subscription model” that would enable paying subscribers to have access to “a larger library” of archived material, reports Adam Powell of the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. Kerger said some new PBS programs might be available “for a fee,” which she compared to PBS selling DVDs of shows. Listen to the audio here.
Dick Meyer, executive news editor at NPR, has accepted a new position as executive producer for BBC News, America. His last day at NPR is Dec. 9. A memo from Kinsey Wilson, NPR’s senior v.p. and g.m. of digital media. and Margaret Low Smith, its acting senior v.p. for news, said Meyer was “instrumental in establishing NPR.org as a serious force in digital journalism.”
Four public broadcasting stations will participate in a Mobile Emergency Alert System (M-EAS) pilot project funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and LG Electronics to assess the potential of sharing crisis information via Mobile Digital TV services. WGBH in Boston, Vegas PBS and two Alabama Public Television stations (WBIQ in Birmingham and WAIQ in Montgomery) will serve as test markets. “By using terrestrial over-the-air TV broadcasting, rather than cellular network connectivity, M-EAS is expected to meet critical needs for emergency alerts,” a PBS announcement said. The goal is to prove the viability of M-EAS using existing standards, and to create a template for use by all broadcasters, public or commercial.“With the Mobile EAS service,” said John McCoskey, PBS’s chief technology officer, “we’ll be able to send everything from AMBER alert photos to detailed maps with escape routes, live video, and extensive information that viewers will find invaluable in a disaster. This goes way beyond just a text message on a congested cell phone network.
Veteran pubcasting exec Mark Vogelzang has been appointed president and c.e.o. of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, operator of statewide public television and radio networks with a budget of about $10 million. He succeeds Jim Dowe, MPBN president since 2006, who is retiring next month. The appointment, announced Nov. 29, comes as Vogelzang completes an interim appointment as g.m. of WBFO-FM, the university-owned NPR News station in Buffalo that’s being sold to WNED, a community-licensed pubcasting operation that serves radio and TV audiences in Buffalo and Canada. The proposed $4 million sale has gained approval from New York state policy makers — including Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — and is now pending before the FCC.
WPSU-FM and WPSU-TV at Penn State University have been tangentially drawn into the ongoing child sex abuse case against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Last week, Pennsylvania court administrators who assigned Senior Judge John M. Cleland to handle the charges announced that Cleland had no known connections to the university — but his wife served for 15 years on the Penn State Public Broadcasting Board of Representatives, a volunteer panel advising the university on the operation of the stations, reports The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Julie Cleland was on the board from 1995 through 2009, including as chairman and vice-chairman. The newspaper said Judge Cleland was unaware of the wording of the Nov. 22 announcement and disclosed his wife’s involvement to state officials the next day.
Phyllis Campbell, known to public radio listeners in southwestern Ohio as “Mama Jazz,” has died at the age of 89, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. She hosted jazz programming on WMUB in Miami from 1979 to 2006 and became one of the station’s most popular and distinctive personalities during 27 years on the air. “She was feisty as all get-out, passionately devoted to jazz, and unabashedly loyal to her legions of fans,” Cleve Callison, former WMUB g.m., told the Enquirer.
Arizona Public Media is launching a local version of the Create multicast lifestyle channel, to be called Ready TV, starting Dec. 1, reports the Green Valley News & Sun. “Ready TV is very similar to Create but it is programmed locally to accommodate the local Southern Arizona time zone,” said Sue DeBenedette, marketing manager for AZPM. “With Create, it was programmed and scheduled on the East Coast, so that primetime shows did not air in primetime here in Southern Arizona. Scheduling it locally gives AZPM the freedom to program those shows that resonate strongly here in this market rather than being dictated to by a national feed.”