Cahill chairs CPB Board, panel of GMs appointed to advise PRSS, Coan exits Houston for San Antonio, and more. . .

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Public radio veteran Patricia Cahill is the new chair of the CPB Board, and Florida educator and pubcasting lay leader Elizabeth Sembler is vice chair.

Cahill, who recently retired as g.m. of KCUR in Kansas City, Mo., is the first radio broadcaster to chair the CPB Board.

The two were elected to lead the board of six directors during a Sept. 11 meeting in Washington, D.C.

Cahill, who recently retired as g.m. of KCUR in Kansas City, Mo., is the first radio broadcaster to serve as CPB chair. She succeeds Los Angeles entertainment attorney Bruce Ramer in the board’s top leadership post.

Prior to her retirement, Cahill worked in public radio for more than 40 years. She’s previously served as CPB vice chair, as a member director on the NPR board and as president of Public Radio in Mid America. Cahill was appointed to the board in 2009 by President Barack Obama.

Sembler, of Seminole, Fla., chaired the board of Tampa’s WEDU from 2001–03 and later joined the board of the Association of Public Television Stations. She is director of engagement at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg and director of Kesher, a Jewish after-school program for students at the Ben Gamla Hebrew Language charter school in Clearwater. She was appointed to the board by President George W. Bush in 2008.

The Public Radio Satellite System appointed 13 station managers and regional representatives to its planning council, initiating the first round of talks about the next major technology upgrade for public radio’s interconnection system.

Council members are Cephas Bowles of WBGO in Newark, N.J.; Georgette Bronfman of Eastern Region Public Media; Glenn Gleixner of WVTF in Roanoke, Va.; John Hess of Idaho’s Boise State Radio; Karen Holp of KGOU in Oklahoma City; Maxie Jackson of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters; Christina Kuzmych of Wyoming Public Media; Frank Lanzone of KCBX in San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Jim Paluzzi of KJZZ in Phoenix; Ellen Rocco of North Country Public Radio in Canton, N.Y.;  Steve Schram of Michigan Public Radio in Ann Arbor; Andrew Todd of Colorado’s Aspen Public Radio; and JoAnn Urofsky of WUSF in Tampa, Fla.

The council, which is advising NPR staff and the board’s Distribution/Interconnection committee, will discuss the framework for a new public radio interconnection system to be planned, built and full operational by 2019 — the services to be provided to local stations, the costs of building and operating the new system, and the technologies to run it.

PRSS will consult with other stakeholders during a multiyear planning process, said Peter Loewenstein, v.p. of distribution, during a Sept. 13 D/I committee meeting at NPR headquarters. The council’s work will be coordinated with CPB’s next-generation interconnection systems in collaboration with public radio and TV, he said.

The council’s first meeting is in New Orleans in November, adjacent to the Super Regional conference and annual NPR Members meeting.

Julie Coan

Julie Coan, an award-winning producer for HoustonPBS, joins KLRN in San Antonio as senior v.p. and c.o.o. next month.

Coan began work in Houston in 1996 as a producer, moving up to managing producer for local productions in 2002. In 2007, she switched roles, taking the job of director of communications. Since 2006 she has also served on the board of directors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Lone Star Chapter.

At KLRN she will oversee programming, production, engineering and communications. The station’s current c.o.o., Charles Vaughn, is retiring at the end of November.

Six new professional directors have been elected to the PBS Board in nationwide member-station voting that concluded at the end of August.

Incoming new members are Tom Karlo, g.m., KPBS in San Diego; Linda O’Bryon, president, South Carolina ETV; and Brian Sickora, president, WSKG, Binghamton, N.Y. Members returning for a second term are Jon Abbott, president, WGBH, Boston; Jack Galmiche, president, Nine Network of Public Media, St. Louis; and Lloyd Wright, president, WFYI, Indianapolis, Ind. Each will serve a three-year term, beginning Oct. 26 at the fall board meeting.

The PBS Board comprises 14 station executives who serve as professional directors, 12 lay leaders who represent the public as general directors, and the PBS president. PBS member stations elect the professional directors, and general directors are elected by the board, which also appoints the PBS president.


Backstage: Stories from My Life in Public Television, the memoir from veteran Nebraska ETV programmer Ron Hull, hits bookstores Oct. 1. An early review in the Joplin (Mo.) Independent says, “Prepare to be surprised by the book’s scope and feeling, far-ranging geography and perspective.” In it, Hull recalls his childhood in small-town South Dakota and shares anecdotes from his decades in public television, including his work with Hollywood stars such as John Wayne and William Shatner. Hull, who directed CPB’s Television Program Fund in the 1980s and championed start-up of PBS’s American Experience, is now an NET senior advisor and professor emeritus of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

WFAE-FM in Charlotte, N.C., has expanded its local news staff by hiring two reporters, both of whom arrive with experience reporting for NPR. Tasnim Shamma, a graduate of Princeton University, recently completed an NPR Kroc Fellowship, during which she worked in many capacities for NPR’s digital news desk, the “Weekends on All Things Considered” podcast and the national desk in Washington, D.C. She previously spent three months at Miami’s WLRN, based in the newsroom that the pubradio station shares with the Miami Herald. Michael Tomsic worked at WFAE as a freelancer and intern as he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also interned on weekend installments of NPR’s All Things Considered, contributing to cover stories and producing interviews. WFAE now has six full-time reporters in addition to program hosts, producers and editors.

Steve James, director of Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters at the Chicago documentary house Kartemquin, will direct a film based on the life of movie critic Roger Ebert. Executive producing will be Steven Zaillian (who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Schindler’s List) and Martin Scorsese.  The film will be based on Ebert’s 2011 best-selling memoir, Life Itself, which details his 40-year, Pulitzer Prize–winning writing career as well as his struggles with alcoholism and thyroid cancer.

Tyler Blue Tarpalechee

Tyler Blue Tarpalechee, a member of the Muskogee Creek nation, has joined the staff of Native American Public Telecommunications in Lincoln, Neb., as a project coordinator. Tarpalechee was the 2012 valedictorian at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he studied creative writing and film. He also won the American Indian Higher Education Consortium video competition in 2011. Last summer he completed a multimedia internship at NAPT, writing, shooting and editing online video content about several tribal communities. In his new role, he will assist in production of Growing Native, by filmmaker Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho). The series, which is in production, is a cross-country exploration of efforts by Native communities to relearn their food traditions and recultivate their relationship with the land. Tarpalechee also will lead NAPT’s efforts to develop PBS Learning Media resources.

Actor and director Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games, The Devil Wears Prada) will host the new season of the PBS documentary showcase Independent Lens. “I’ve been on both sides of the camera, and I can tell you: There’s no easy way to make these films,” Tucci said in a short video produced for the announcement. “Behind every risk-taking exposé and intimate portrait is an independent filmmaker who has spent years building trust, gaining access and getting the story right. In the end, you get a great film told with passion and perspective.” The 11th season of Independent Lens officially begins Oct. 29, following a special Oct. 8 premiere of As Goes Janesville, about the Wisconsin city that is vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s hometown.


Tim Eby, g.m. of St. Louis Public Radio, has joined Strategic Programming Partners, a consultancy that helps public radio stations with programming, promotion, fundraising and strategic decision-making. SPP’s other partners are Scott Williams, p.d. at KBAQ/KJZZ in Phoenix, and Peter Dominowski, president of Market Trends Research in Matheson, Colo.


Matthew Nisbet is the new co-director, with Pat Aufderheide, of the Center for Social Media at American University in Washington, D.C., which showcases and analyzes socially engaged media. Previously Nisbet served as a health policy investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Google science communication fellow and a Shorenstein fellow in press, politics and policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition to his role at the center, Nisbet is an associate professor of communication at American University’s School of Communication, which manages Current as an independent journalism center.


In the wake of losing its digital funding last year, CPB has formed an advisory panel to identify a “long-term home” for its American Archive Content Inventory Project, its initiative to digitize and preserve 40,000 hours of public broadcasting content. Panel members: former WGBH President Henry Becton; PBS documentary filmmaker Ken Burns; John Carlin, a former Kansas governor and United States Archivist; Jeffrey Cole, director of the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future; Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Deanna Marcum, former director of public service and collection management at the Library of Congress; filmmaker John Ptak; entertainment attorney and outgoing CPB Chair Bruce Ramer; Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News and NPR’s Morning Edition; Stephen Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education; former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; Sir Howard Stringer, Sony Corp. chair; and television director Jesús Salvador Treviño.   n

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