Two pubcasting deaths include secretary for Carnegie Commission

Two recent deaths of interest to public broadcasters: Hyman Goldin, the executive secretary for the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television, which led to the creation of CPB; and Jim Adams, a longtime sports director at WKAR in East Lansing, Mich. Goldin died Nov. 21 in a rehabilitation center in Beverly, Mass., of complications from a fall several weeks earlier, reports the Boston Globe. He was 99. “An early advocate for public television,” the Globe obituary said, “Hyman Goldin believed the relentless push for profit in commercial TV compromised the quality of shows that are designed to inform.”

Polly Anderson to lead WUCF TV, new PBS primary station in Orlando

Veteran pubcaster Polly Anderson is leaving the helm of New Mexico PBS to take over leadership of WUCF TV in Orlando, Fla., in early February. Anderson also worked for Alabama Public Television and KWBU community radio and television stations in Waco, Texas, before joining KNME in 2008 as general manager and c.e.o. She is vice-chair of the Association of Public Television Stations and former chair of the National Educational Telecommunications Association. University of Central Florida launched WUCF in July 2011 as the new PBS primary station in Orlando, following WMFE-TV’s departure from PBS and subsequent sale. “Polly is a dynamic leader in the public television industry,” said Grant J. Heston, UCF spokesman, in a statement, “and we’re excited that she is bringing her experience, skills and talent to Central Florida’s start-up PBS station.”

Jesse Thorn’s Bullseye is leaving PRI

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, the Los Angeles-based nationally distributed radio program and podcast, is leaving longtime distributor PRI, host and creator Jesse Thorn announced on his website Dec. 19.

WGBH settles with Justice Department over alleged mishandling of federal grants

This item has been updated and reposted with additional information. WGBH has agreed to pay more than $300,000 in a civil settlement with the U.S Attorney’s Office to resolve allegations that it improperly tracked and accounted for federal grant money, The Associated Press is reporting. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz told AP that from 2005–08 the Boston pubcaster maintained an inadequate accounting system for tracking grant expenditures. The settlement, announced Thursday, is for damages incurred by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. WGBH spokesperson Jeanne Hopkins told Current that the settlement involves a payment equal to the error rate of half a percent to one percent of the total value of the grants, which was $60 million.

KCSM-TV in San Mateo goes back on the market

Trustees of the San Mateo Community College District, who dismissed two finalists in November interested in purchasing its KCSM-TV, have reopened the bidding process. The Request for Proposal presents an opportunity for bidders to either acquire the station’s assets, or agree to subsidize operation of the station by the district and participate “in some capacity” in offering the KCSM-TV spectrum for sale in the FCC’s upcoming reverse auction. “For a sale, the district will independently evaluate whether the bidder will qualify under FCC rules to take assignment of the KCSM-TV license and how long it might take to get FCC approval,” the RFP said. “For a cooperative arrangement looking towards subsidization of operations and the reverse auction, the district will consider the extent and nature of the subsidization, the proposed auction arrangements, and the provision for the contingency that the spectrum is not successfully sold at auction.” The station went on the market in December 2011, due to a projected $800,000 deficit.

NPR’s Carvin stands by Twitter coverage of Newtown shooting

Did NPR’s tweeter extraordinaire Andy Carvin go overboard during the media frenzy surrounding the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn.? Michael Wolff made that argument in a column for the Guardian newspaper, accusing Carvin of becoming “a fevered spreader of misinformation.”

Carvin, who gained widespread recognition for his tweeting during the Arab Spring, sent out more than 300 tweets following minute-by-minute developments in the Newtown shooting. The tweets included “a rather broad range of bollocks,” Wolff wrote, citing in particular a retweet about a purple van that was later abandoned as a lead, and a few other instances. “While the guise is to retweet in order to verify, the effect is to propagate,” wrote Wolff, whose objections went beyond inaccuracy to what he sees as Carvin’s “self-righteousness” and “self-dramatizing.”

In response to a question from Current, Carvin reviewed his tweets and replied as follows:
If I had to do it all again, I would still tweet all of them.

This Christmas, relax with a Sebak special: Revenge of the Omelets

The latest nationwide food travelogue from popular Pittsburgh producer Rick Sebak, Breakfast Special 2: Revenge of the Omelets, premieres on PBS common carriage Christmas night. Sebak is still chuckling over the subtitle, he said in WQED’s announcement. “When I went to see our budget director and told him we were going to do Breakfast Special 2, he immediately said, ‘Oh, Revenge of the Omelets?’” Sebak said. “We don’t really have a story about any particular omelets in the show, but they get mentioned a lot.”

The original Breakfast Special ran in 2010. In this update, a WQED crew visited 10 early-morning spots from Norwalk, Conn., to Papaikou, Hawaii, that serve delicacies such as lobster hash with poached eggs, salmon cakes, Portuguese donuts and a breakfast burrito with chorizo and black beans.

Alabama PTV claims fundraising letters with former director’s signature were mistake

Alabama Public Television is soliciting funds using a form letter signed by its past director Allan Pizzato, who was fired earlier this year, reports The Associated Press. APT spokesperson Mike McKenzie told AP that a direct-mail company sent the letter by mistake. “We’ve done other mailings between then and now — other campaigns — where Allan’s name was replaced,” he said. About 1,000 copies were mailed. “They did it about a month after he was fired and they were told not to do it again,” Mark White, Pizzato’s attorney, told AP.

Crowdfunder Spot.Us has reportedly ‘dwindled’ under APM ownership

The momentum of journalism crowdfunding project Spot.Us has “dwindled” since its acquisition by American Public Media’s Public Insight Network, according to a report on MediaShift. Marianne McCarthy, who just completed a 14-month research project on crowdfunding, writes that Spot.Us under its original founder, David Cohn, supplied more than $120,000 in funding for various news projects last year. This year, under APM, that figure is $7,000, and the rate of projects achieving successful funding fell from 98 percent to 37 percent. Linda Fantin, director of Network Journalism and Innovation at American Public Media, “attributed the lack of activity to tougher vetting procedures and an ‘explosion in the crowdfunding space,'” McCarthy writes. APM is repositioning the site to provide a more financially sustainable model, McCarthy notes.

NPR, Frontline cited for 2013 duPont-Columbia Awards

Public media outlets were cited for six 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, announced today by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. NPR received three awards, with one given to reporters Deborah Amos and Kelly McEvers for their coverage of Syria. “NPR’s series of daily news reports about the conflict in Syria was wide ranging, balanced and in depth,” the announcement said. “Veteran foreign correspondent Deb Amos provided critical context and explanation in her reporting that helped listeners understand the complex sectarian and regional factors at play. Her reporting from inside Syria at the scene of a massacre and the capitol Damascus documented spikes in violence.”

“Correspondent Kelly McEvers brought a focus on individual stories that made the conflict real in human terms,” the citation said.

IPM offers to bridge PTV stations to spectrum auctions

Independent Public Media has unveiled a new program to provide bridge funding to financially troubled pubTV stations. The loans will help them stay on the air through the FCC’s incentive spectrum auction, and require a payout from auction proceeds. IPM designed the loan program to assist noncommercial broadcasters until they can sell off some, but not all, of their spectrum bandwidth through the FCC auction, and assumed that stations will gain big payoffs by participating. Once auction proceeds begin rolling in to a borrower station, IPM will pay off expenses incurred by participating in the auction and then recoup the principal and interest on its loan. The remaining auction revenues would be evenly split between IPM and the station.