FCC will allow low-power FMs in urban markets, accept applications in October 2013

The FCC adopted new rules today regarding low-power FM stations, paving the way to accept a wave of applications for new LPFMs in October 2013. Under the rules, the FCC will allow LPFMs on second-adjacent frequencies to full-power FM stations if the low-power applicant provides evidence that the new station will not cause interference. These second-adjacency waivers will allow for more low-power stations in big cities where the FM band is more crowded. Other provisions of the Report and Order adopted today include:

A modified point system that will give an edge to Native applicants and to LPFMs with a staffed main studio and local programming;
Permission of cross-ownership of an LPFM station and up to two translator stations;
And an allowance for tribal nations to operate more than one LPFM. The Prometheus Radio Project, which advocates for low-power radio, estimates that the number of LPFMs in America could double or triple after the next filing window.

Former Education Department adviser joining WNET as vice president

WNET in New York City has hired Carole Wacey, a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Department of Education, as vice president, education, effective Dec. 17. Wacey spent the past decade as executive director of MOUSE, a national nonprofit that uses educational technology to help empower underserved youth, and she will continue to serve on its board of directors. Prior to MOUSE, Wacey was director of the Interactive Media for Children program at the Markle Foundation in New York City, and before that was deputy director of the Office of Education Technology and senior policy adviser at the Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, consulting on development and implementation of national educational technology policy.

California’s Gold producer Huell Howser retiring

Huell Howser, the California pubcaster whose popular destination shows ran on stations throughout the state for two decades, is no longer producing new programs, reports the Los Angeles Times. Because there’s been no formal announcement, rumors have been swirling that Howser may be ill. “Huell is retiring from filming new shows or making appearances (or interviews) but the show will continue to air in reruns for awhile,” Howser’s assistant Ryan Morris told the newspaper. “We have been gradually winding down all year but Huell has decided to stop, come Dec. 31.”

Wendell Garrett dies at 83; Roadshow appraiser since 1997

This item has been updated and reposted with additional information. Wendell Garrett, an appraiser on Antiques Roadshowsince 1997, died Nov. 14 at a hospice facility in Williston, Vt. He was 83. “Garrett was an important member of Antiques Roadshow’s appraisal team,” the program said in a statement, “displaying a generosity of spirit and intellect over the years to the Roadshow community and viewers.

Appropriations by Congress to CPB / Curve, 1969-2001

Opponents of aid to public broadcasting created plateaus in CPB spending in early 1980s and again in 1990s. But the general upward swing of this chart doesn’t mean more spending power. After adjusting for inflation, FY2000’s $300 million is worth 5 percent less than the FY90 figure of $229.4 million. Figures are rising again since failure of the zero-it-out movement: $300M for FY2000 and $340M for FY2001. CPB’s first appropriation in FY68 was just $5M, but from there the sum often rose by $10M or $20M a year.

Third Clash accuser surfaces, files lawsuit demanding $75,000

A third accuser is alleging that Kevin Clash, the former puppeteer of Elmo the Muppet, had an improper sexual relationship with him while he was underage. The anonymous accuser, a Florida resident, seeks $75,000 in damages in a lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Clash resigned Nov. 20 from Sesame Street after two men came forward with similar complaints.

WBUR entering Cape Cod market with purchase of WMVY

Boston NPR news station 90.9 WBUR-FM is wading into the Cape Cod resort market and going toe-to-toe with WGBH’s network of stations with its planned purchase of 92.7 WMVY-FM on Martha’s Vineyard. WBUR is buying the Tisbury, Mass.-based station for an undisclosed amount from Housatonic, Mass.-based Aritaur Communications Inc. The sale is expected to close in early 2013 pending FCC approval. Now broadcasting an adult alternative format, WMVY, known as mvyradio, will switch to WBUR’s news format, reaching up to 60,000 listeners with a 3,000-watt signal. The market includes Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and coastal towns including New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth and Westport. “We believe that the islands, Cape Cod and SouthCoast are important parts of the community we cover and serve,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz, in a statement.