WNET to share content with city’s NYC Media

WNET in New York City is collaborating with NYC Media, part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, to share content “highlighting different aspects of the city,” the two said in a press release. The partnership “allows us to mine our incredible archives for new platforms,” said Neal Shapiro, WNET president. First up, the NYC life channel will broadcast episodes of WNET’s Treasures of New York and MetroFocus,  and WNET and WLIW will run NYC life’s special about city parks.

Birmingham News calls on Alabama governor to investigate upheaval at APT

In an editorial today, the Birmingham News is asking Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders to “get to the root cause” of the “continuing upheaval” at Alabama Public Television. “APT and its educational and informative programming are too important to the state not to warrant an investigation into what is going on with the commission that oversees it,” the editorial board wrote Monday. The sudden termination on June 12 of APT Executive Director Allan Pizzato and his deputy, Pauline Howland, by the Alabama Educational Television Commission threw the state network into chaos. Within days, nine members of two fundraising boards resigned in protest; the station’s longtime chief operating officer, Charles Grantham, also just resigned, effective Aug. 31.

Health coaches in Pledge Pipeline

Pledge Pipeline 2012-13

Current’s Pledge Pipeline previews 17 shows heading to public TV on-air membership drives in December 2012 and March 2013.

CPB grants NPR $1.5 million for diversity initiative

CPB is providing a $1.5 million grant to NPR to increase the diversity of its journalism ranks. The announcement of the two-year grant came on Aug. 2 the UNITY 2012 Convention in Las Vegas, an annual gathering of media professionals. The funding will help NPR create a diverse team of reporters and editors guided by a senior online journalist overseeing the creation and curation of original, multiplatform content daily. The team will provide coverage of local communities nationwide, the issues that affect them and the people of many backgrounds and opinions who make those communities unique.

FCC denies petition challenging license renewal of WCQS-FM

The FCC has dismissed a challenge to license renewal for WCQS-FM in Asheville, N.C., reports the local Citizen-Times. The petition was brought late last year by a group headed by retired pubradio exec and producer Fred Flaxman. He said that he had volunteered to serve on the station’s community advisory board but learned that it didn’t have one, a violation of the Public Broadcasting Act. Once station management did establish a board, it was “tightly controlled to make sure that no critics of the station or its policies are allowed to serve,” Flaxman contended. He also complained in the petition that WCQS didn’t carry programs by local independent producers, including himself.

Minnesota public-access TV studio for five communities closing soon

A Minnesota public-access TV studio serving five cities will shut down this month, “an example of accessible, hyper-local television being forced to refocus in an era of instant, free video uploads to YouTube and Facebook,” reports the Star Tribune.  Comcast no longer wants to run the studio, and the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission says  equipment needs updating and the facility produces too few programs for Edina, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Richfield. “You need a studio that provides gravitas for the cancer survivor, the politician, the minority group,” Jeff Strate, who has produced a show at the studio, told the newspaper. “This is a very inexpensive way for community groups to come in and get stuff out there.” Technology, changing media habits and cost concerns have forced cities to reevaluate their public-access channels, the Star Tribune noted; many are repurposing public-access service into broader community media resources.

Center for Investigative Reporting launches “I Files” YouTube channel

The Berkeley, Calif.-based Center for Investigative Reporting unveiled its new YouTube channel, The I Files, today. The channel, funded by the Knight Foundation, will be curated by CIR and will repost investigative-reporting videos from a wide assortment of content partners. Among the partners is the Investigative News Network, a consortium of 60 nonprofit news organizations that includes American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Among CIR’s for-profit partners: The BBC, ABC News, The New York Times and Al Jazeera. The channel will include videos from freelance journalists as well.

ProPublica partners with The News Outlet to educate journalism students in northeast Ohio

Nonprofit investigative-journalism organization ProPublica announced Tuesday a new partnership with The News Outlet, an community-journalism nonprofit based in northeast Ohio. The initiative, which The News Outlet detailed on its website, is an investigative-reporting workshop for journalism students at Youngstown State University, which founded The News Outlet and operates the website from its campus. The partnership, billed as a pilot project, adds a component to an advanced reporting course in YSU’s journalism school. Students will report and produce investigative stories under the guidance of ProPublica managing editor Stephen Engelberg. Engelberg will visit the campus for the first week of the class, then join the class weekly via Skype.

A letter from the editors

We’ve been preparing for months to bring you a new, improved web service, one that highlights more of our news coverage and analysis of the evolving world of public media.

Exclusive interview: Alabama Public Television COO Grantham resigns

Charles Grantham, chief operating officer of Alabama Public Television, has resigned, effective Aug. 31. Grantham told Current that the “additional stress and frustrations” at the station in the wake of the controversial terminations in June of Executive Director Allan Pizzato and his deputy, Pauline Howland, have taken a toll on him. Since the firings by the Alabama Educational Television Commission, Grantham had been publicly voicing his concerns about the future of the station. “I’m glad I’ve been able to be a spokesman and make some of the staff feelings known to the commission and others during all this turmoil,” he said.

Alabama ETV commission hires law firm for defense against Pizzato complaint

In a special meeting Tuesday, the Alabama Educational Television Commission voted to hire a Birmingham law firm to defend it against a complaint filed by the former head of Alabama Public Television, Allan Pizzato, whom they fired in June. Commissioners, meeting in a conference room at APT headquarters in Birmingham, entered into executive session to discuss the issue, filing past portraits of nine lay leaders from APT’s fundraising organizations that still hang on the walls despite their resignations in protest of Pizzato’s termination. The Commission returned to vote 6-0 vote to retain the Birmingham law firm of Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt, then promptly adjourned. After the meeting, Chair Ferris Stephens said the commission feels that Pizzato’s lawsuit is “without merit.” In the complaint, Pizzato’s attorneys allege that because he is a state employee, commissioners violated the state’s Open Meetings Act by discussing his job performance in a closed executive session. The civil suit also seeks to remove Stephens, and void all decisions by the commission since his arrival in 2010, because, it alleges, he is ineligible to serve in that capacity as an employee of the Alabama Attorney General’s office.

Former associates announce first Tim Emmons scholarship

Applications are now being accepted for the first Tim Emmons Memorial Mentoring Scholarship. Emmons, former program director and general manager of Northern Public Radio, died in February after a long battle with cancer. The scholarship was announced today by Peter Dominowski and Scott Williams, longtime friends of Emmons and business associates with him in Strategic Programming Partners. The recipient, a current or aspiring public radio program director, will work directly with Williams and Dominowski for one year. Mentoring will include major aspects of successful programming, such as program scheduling, effective promotion, understanding audience data and air checking.