The massive American Graduate project is all about potential — the potential of students who stay in school to graduate, as well as the potential of public broadcasting stations to serve as community conveners.
Roy Clem, a 36-year broadcasting executive and former g.m. of the ABC affiliate in Birmingham, Ala., will join Alabama Public Television as its executive director, replacing longtime pubcaster Allan Pizzato, who was fired in June. The Alabama Educational Television Commission made the announcement at its meeting Saturday (Aug. 18). Clem most recently served as director of commercial broadcasting and g.m. for broadcast operations for the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Services. His responsibilities included the university’s Center for Public Television and Radio, which produces series, specials and corporate videos on topics including history, sports, arts and culture, health and business.
Loris Taylor, president of Native Public Media, leads off a story in The Atlantic on how radio is being used to resurrect dead and dying languages. The mag reports that Taylor has lobbied the FCC and supported projects to get “increasingly rare tongues like Hopi” onto the airwaves. And it’s happening worldwide: Radio producers from Peru, Mexico, Canada, El Salvador and other countries met in Washington, D.C., earlier this month for the “Our Voices on the Air” conference for indigenous speakers. “Following centuries of oppression that have marginalized minority languages,” The Atlantic notes, “radio represents a modest but surprisingly promising way to reinvigorate the traditions keeping those languages alive.”
GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has once again mentioned that if elected, he would eliminate funding for PBS. In an interview with Fortune, the former Massachusetts governor said: “There are three major areas I have focused on for reduction in spending. These are in many cases reductions which become larger and larger over time. So first there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs — the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities.
NPR has hired Monique Hanson, senior v.p. and chief development officer for YMCA of the USA, as its chief development officer. Hanson joined the YMCA in 2004 and has since served as chief fundraising strategist for the $5 billion organization. In her position at NPR, Hanson will oversee NPR’s fundraising programs and work with stations and the Trustees of the NPR Foundation, Inc., a private nonprofit. “Monique has the experience needed to take NPR to new heights in fundraising. She brings vision and a collaborative spirit that will help us forge innovative partnerships with NPR member stations across the country,” said NPR President Gary Knell in a press release.
The nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is partnering with Spanish-language Univision News, which reaches 96 percent of U.S. Hispanic households, to produce investigative stories for Spanish-speaking viewers in the United States and Latin America, the two announced today. CIR will provide Univision access to CIR stories and documentaries focusing mainly on the West Coast and Latin America for all broadcast platforms, including Univision’s newscast Noticiero Univision, and its weekly magazine Aqui y Ahora. Univision News will also have access to CIR print reports for translation. Univision News’ investigative and documentary unit, Documentales Univision, focuses on subjects of interest to the Hispanic community including immigration, health, education and politics. CIR’s journalists produce stories “that enable audiences to demand accountability from government, corporations and others in power,” the statement said.
Jim Lehrer, executive editor of PBS NewsHour, will moderate the first national presidential debate on Oct. 3, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced today. The 90-minute event from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern will focus on domestic policy. In a statement accepting the invitation, Lehrer said he was particularly interested in the new format: six segments of about 15 minutes each on topics chosen by the moderator and announced several weeks before the event. “I believe an invitation from the Commission on Presidential Debates is similar to a draft notice — a civic responsibility,” Lehrer said.
The Washington Post Magazine has published an in-depth article on Daniel Amen, the psychiatrist whose pledge programs have raised some $40 million for PBS stations. It focuses on Amen’s use of SPECT, or single photon emission computed tomography, a nuclear imaging test measuring blood flow in organs, and the controversy that his claims of success have sparked in the field of psychiatry. In the story, Amen says his latest PBS pledge program, “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age,” has aired 2,300 times on member stations so far this year. Maryland Public Television says 252 presentations have netted about $400,000 in donations; WETA in suburban D.C. ran it six times in June, raising $68,000.
Claressa Shields, the 17-year-old who yesterday slugged her way to the first ever middleweight gold medal in Olympic women’s boxing, participated in two prominent public media projects, one of which recently began airing on public radio stations through Public Radio Exchange (PRX) distribution. Shields, who hails from Flint, Mich., was the principal subject in “Go For It: Life Lessons From Girl Boxers,” a radio special produced by New York’s WNYC. Hosted by actor Rosie Perez and producer Marianne McCune, the radio documentary follows Shields and other women fighters as they train to qualify for the Olympics. Producers are updating the program to include material about her Olympic victory. Shields is the sole focus of the Kickstarter film documentary project, “T-REX,” which surpassed its $52,500 funding goal six days ago. Producers raised $64,507 from 652 backers at time of publication.
New Hampshire Public Television and WGBH in Boston announced today a collaboration in both programming and back-office tasks. The two said in a statement that each will remain independently owned and operated stations. They have posted a website to explain the upcoming changes to viewers in both states. NHPTV will contract for services in broadcast technologies, membership services and financial administration, which will allow for financial savings that may be redirected to programming, the announcement said. “The collaboration will provide operational economies, which are key to NHPTV’s continued success following the loss of its state funding and its transition from an entity of the University System of New Hampshire to an independent, community-licensed public media organization,” it said.
WGBH’s acquisition of Public Radio International, announced July 26, positions the station and network to step up their longtime collaboration as co-producers.. PRI will remain operationally independent … and be responsible for raising its own revenue…
Leaders of the Pacifica Foundation will seek a new executive director and are asking stations for financial information before ordering across-the-board cuts pushed by current Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt.
Detroit Public TV has received a $250,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for a national program increasing public understanding of the Arab-American community. The project builds on the station’s 13-part series, Arab-American Stories. For the initiative, “Arab-American Stories — A National Dialogue,” Detroit PTV will partner with PBS member stations, libraries and community centers to host forums. The station worked with the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C., to identify library systems in the top Arab-American populated communities nationwide, which include Boston, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami. The station also plans a website and curriculum for middle- and high-school students. The project kicks off in September.
One of public radio’s biggest split-format stations, Austin’s KUT, is pursuing a signal expansion that follows a familiar playbook for strengthening audience service: buying a new channel to air music while dedicating its flagship signal to news programming. But for this station serving a city that makes weirdness a point of civic pride, there’s a distinct difference to its ambitions to become a dual-station operator. It will put rock and alternative music, not classical, on its new signal; 90.7 MHz, the FM channel that has served KUT’s news and music audiences for decades, will go all-news. That’s if and when the University of Texas Board of Regents, the governing board of KUT’s licensee, approves the proposed $6 million purchase of 98.9 MHz, a commercial frequency that’s now broadcasting classic rock hits under the call letters KXBT. The regents took only five minutes to discuss the purchase during their July 11 meeting, then postponed a vote that would have cleared the way for KUT to seal the deal.