KCETLink lays off 22 in reorganization, shifts priority to transmedia content

KCETLink, the independent pubmedia organization created through merger six months ago between pubcaster KCET in Los Angeles and national satellite programmer Link TV, today announced 22 layoffs as a result of a reorganization. Spokesperson Ariel Carpenter told Current that the organization is not disclosing any additional information beyond the release and confirming the number of full-time job eliminations. Five vacant positions also are not being filled. The announcement also said that KCETLink would increasingly focus on “transmedia programming opportunities” for viewing on web and mobile devices. “These are challenging and transformational times that require us to make difficult financial and operational decisions for the continued health of the organization in order to create a public media organization that can grow in the 21st century,” Al Jerome, KCETLink’s c.e.o., said in the statement.

Novel set in community radio station, Kilowatt, now out in paperback

Kilowatt, a 2007 novel set in community radio station KVMR in Nevada City, Calif., is now available in paperback. The story revolves around two KVMR journalists investigating an energy company with a revolutionary process for generating clean, affordable electricity, reports the Union newspaper in Grass Valley, Calif. “The book Kilowatt itself — with some characters loosely based on KVMR personalities from the ’90s era — becomes a suspenseful page-turner as the two KVMR reporters go to Texas to track down possible corporate corruption and end up getting involved with ruthless Russian mobsters, Texas oil men and dedicated reformers,” according to the newspaper. Author Joe McHugh is a past member of the station’s board of directors, and producer/creator of a series of family stories, “The Telling Takes Us Home.” He’s appeared on Morning Edition and is “a longtime advocate of live radio theater in the old-time tradition,” the newspaper notes.

Content co-op puts arts center stage

Public television stations are ramping up production of local arts and culture programming through an initiative launched last September by WNET in New York and the Major Market Group, an affinity organization for stations serving the largest television markets.

After one Clash accuser drops lawsuit, four cases remain

One of the five men who filed a civil complaint against Kevin Clash has withdrawn his lawsuit alleging sexual impropriety by the former Sesame Street puppeteer. On April 13, a plaintiff identified in court records as “D.O.” agreed to drop his lawsuit against Clash. Jeff Herman, one of the attorneys representing D.O. and four additional plaintiffs, said the decision was not the result of an out-of-court settlement. “My client decided to dismiss his lawsuit so that he can focus on his career,” Herman said in a statement. “[D.O.] originally filed to support the other victims and to stand up for himself.

Facing tight deadline, Pacifica leaders disagree over relocation plans for WPFW

WPFW-FM, the Pacifica station in Washington, D.C., faces a deadline to vacate its studios at the end of month and still has no clear plan for relocating, reports the Washington City Paper. Programmers and listeners have opposed a plan to move to studios in Silver Spring, Md., that would be leased from a subsidiary of Clear Channel. Even Pacifica Interim Executive Director Summer Reese opposes the move — she’s asked WPFW’s Local Station Board to determine whether the station can back out of the sublease agreement. The building’s landlord also is questioning the lease, reportedly because Pacifica briefly lost its corporate charter earlier this year. Pacifica’s poor finances, as well as WPFW’s, have thwarted the station’s efforts to negotiate for other locations.

KCRW’s Shearer learned of show’s cancellation after last appearance on air

In a post on his website, actor Harry Shearer describes how he learned about the cancellation of his long-running show on KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif. On Monday, KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro told Shearer that “Le Show was being cancelled from the airwaves.” Shearer had suspected that Ferro was preparing to end the weekly program’s run on KCRW, but he was surprised by the timing, which was “‘effective immediately,’” he wrote, quoting Ferro. “Thus does public radio, in one more small way, come to resemble ever more closely commercial radio’s way of doing business,” Shearer commented. The station announced the cancellation April 15 as part of an overhaul of its weekend schedule.

WGBH’s Greater Boston goes nationwide on World Channel with bombing coverage

Tonight’s special edition of Greater Boston from WGBH, focused on the shocking bomb blasts at Monday’s Boston Marathon, will be distributed nationally on the World Channel, the public TV multicast service produced by WGBH and distributed by American Public Television. WGBH spokesman Michael Raia told Current the 30-minute show will extend to an hour and begin airing at 9 p.m. Eastern time on World. In Boston, the show will be broadcast on WGBH’s primary TV station at 7 p.m., its regular timeslot. Planned guests include terrorism expert Jim Walsh, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program; Jarrett Barrios of the Red Cross, who took part in the race; and Haider Javed Warraich, a resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who wrote an op-ed in today’s New York Times about his experience growing up amid explosions in Pakistan. WGBH staffers producing segments for the Greater Boston special include host and executive editor Emily Rooney, who lives three blocks from the explosion site and will provide a first-hand perspective on the still-unfolding story; Jared Bowen, who is covering the law enforcement investigation; and Adam Reilly, reporting from Logan Airport with reactions from runners.

Jane Henson, puppeteer and philanthropist

Jane Nebel Henson, a puppeteer and philanthropist who was the widow of Jim Henson and founder of The Jim Henson Legacy, died in her Connecticut home April 2 after a long battle with cancer. She was 79.

Iowa Public Radio in negotiations with terminated C.E.O. Herrington

Attorneys for Iowa Public Radio are negotiating a settlement with fired C.E.O. Mary Grace Herrington, the Des Moines Register reports. Herrington was terminated in February by the station’s board in a closed meeting. IPR is at risk of being sued because the board publicly discussed personnel matters after it voted to terminate Herrington’s employment, board Chairwoman Kay Runge said.

Kathleen Megargee, pubTV journalist

Kathleen Megargee, a freelance television journalist who hosted programs on Pittsburgh’s WQED and the former New Jersey Network, died March 23 from natural causes at her home in Bensalem, Penn. She was 58.