NJTV will air new six-part American Songbook series this fall

New Jersey Television and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) of Newark are partnering on a new six-part cabaret music television series, American Songbook at NJPAC, to debut on NJTV and WNET this fall. The series will be produced from two live performance sessions at the center to be taped in June. Performers include Tom Wopat, Valerie Simpson, Rebecca Luker and Maude Maggart, and the duos Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap and Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. Each will perform 40-minute sets and sit for a Q&A session. NJPAC will donate proceeds of ticket sales to the Actors Fund, which assists professionals in performing arts and entertainment.

Pubradio contenders dominate radio division of Sigma Delta Chi Awards

Public radio reporters took all nine awards for radio reporting in this year’s Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize outstanding reporting on radio, TV and the Web by national and local news organizations. NPR’s Ina Jaffe, Quinn O’Toole and Steven Drummond won for breaking news reporting (network syndication) for “Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals.” For investigative reporting, John Ryan and Jim Gates of KUOW in Seattle were cited among stations in markets 1–100 for “Shell’s Arctic Oil-Spill Gear ‘Crushed Like a Beer Can,’” while Sandy Hausman of WVTF and Radio IQ in Roanoke, Va., won in the 101+ market category for “Naming the Fralin,” about naming the University of Virginia Art Museum. In the feature categories, Linda Lutton, Cate Cahan and Sally Eisele of Chicago’s WBEZ won for “The weight of the city’s violence, on one school principal,” and Lance Orozco of KCLU in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for “My Cancer.”

NPR’s State of the Re:Union, co-distributed by Public Radio Exchange, won the syndicated documentary award for “As Black as We Wish to Be,” which explored an Appalachian foothills town in Ohio where residents who look white identify as African-American; it was reported and produced by Lu Olkowski, Laura Spero, Taki Telonidis and Al Letson. Alabama Public Radio’s “Winds of Change,” coverage by Pat Duggins, Ryan Vasquez, Maggie Martin and Stan Ingold of a Tuscaloosa tornado, won for smaller-market documentary. The public service in radio journalism winners were “If it’s legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” by the staff of Seattle’s KPLU (markets 1–100); Charles Lane and Naomi Starobin of WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., for “State struggled at fire prevention ahead of Manorville blaze.”

In the television categories, San Francisco’s KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting won for large-market (1–50) documentary for “Heat and Harvest,” a report on the effect of climate change on California agriculture by Mark Schapiro, Serene Fang, Gabriela Quiros and Craig Miller.

YPPubmedia young professionals’ group welcomes first advisory board

YPPubmedia, a nonprofit group affiliated with DEI dedicated to “connecting young professionals in pubmedia to supportive national networks,” today announced members of its first advisory board. Serving are Chris Bay, interactive web producer, KDHX, St. Louis; Vanessa Harris, marketing director, Chicago Public Media; Chelan Lippincott, membership director, KBCS, Bellevue, Wash.; Andi McDaniel, interactive producer, Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, Minn.; Liz Mozzocco, music director, WAPS-FM, Akron, Ohio; Wynde Priddy, membership systems administrator, Colorado Public Radio; and Claire Radomski, membership manager, WFYI, Indianapolis, Ind. The organization currently has some 275 members in 149 public media stations and organizations nationwide.

Sesame Workshop partnering with educational publisher Teaching Strategies

Proclaiming that “it’s time for the positive impact of Sesame’s educational content to be felt in schools as well,” Sesame Workshop on Tuesday announced a multi-year partnership between Sesame Street and Teaching Strategies, a Bethesda, Md.-based educational publishing company. Teaching Strategies focuses on early childhood education with curriculum, assessment, professional development and family resources. Its Creative Curriculum used in more than 100,000 classrooms nationwide, and nearly 1.1 million children are assessed annually with its Teaching Strategies GOLD. Sesame Workshop and Teaching Strategies will be “working closely together on the development of new resources for the early childhood classroom and for involving families in children’s early learning experiences,” they said in a joint announcement.

FCC to allow waivers for pubcasters to raise funds for tornado damage relief

The FCC announced on Tuesday procedures for noncommercial television and radio stations to raise money on the air to assist victims coping with tornado damage in Oklahoma. The commission has already received and granted one waiver request related to relief efforts, it said in the announcement. Third-party on-air fundraising on noncoms is generally prohibited. But the FCC grants waivers in cases of disaster relief. Last year the FCC proposed allowing pubTV and radio stations to spend up to 88 hours annually raising funds for third parties on the air without a waiver.

PBS Digital captures multiple Webbys and People’s Voice Awards

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences presents two honors in a variety of categories — the Webby Award and the Webby People’s Voice Award. IADAS members select nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the winners of Webby Awards, while members of “the online community” vote for winners of People’s Voice awards. PBS Digital Properties shined in both contests: its productions took four Webbys and three Webby People’s Voice Awards. “Mister Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind,” the first in a series of remixes of iconic PBS personalities created by PBS Digital Studios, won the Webby for video remixes/mashups. PBS Kids received both a Webby and Webby People’s Voice Award for best youth website.

WBAI fails to meet payroll, pay rent

Money shortfalls at New York’s WBAI, one of two Pacifica Foundation stations that must relocate their studios later this month, continue to worsen.

At the end of April, WBAI lacked funds to pay staff or rent on its antenna, according to an email by the treasurer of the station’s board. WBAI owed about $119,000 and had $4,000 in the bank as of April 29, Local Station Board Treasurer R. Paul Martin wrote in an email that was sent to an LSB Yahoo! group. The station is mandated by law to pay its staff, and missing the rent on WBAI’s antenna on the Empire State Building could result in “very bad consequences” if not paid by Monday, May 6. As of that date, the station still lacked the money, according to a later email by Martin.

David Sedaris is guest-hosting Selected Shorts all month

Public radio favorite David Sedaris, a frequent contributor to This American Life and other programs, is hosting weekly episodes of Selected Shorts this month. The first show of the series, released for broadcast April 28, paid tribute to the late David Rakoff, a writer and This American Life contributor who died of cancer last year. Another episode includes readings of three Dorothy Parker stories, including one by actress Parker Posey. Sedaris himself read a story by Frank Gannon on the May 12 program. Selected Shorts is produced by WNYC and New York’s Symphony Space, and is distributed by Public Radio International.

Roth retires after 45 years, Leonard takes helm at NET, and more . . .

KUOW President Wayne Roth, a former NPR Board chair and past recipient of CPB’s Murrow Award honoring outstanding contributions to public radio, will retire in September. During his 45-year career in public broadcasting, Roth provided strategic leadership to public radio on both the local and national levels.

Lacy coaxes creative talents to share stories of their lives

The whole idea behind American Masters, the biographical series produced at New York’s WNET, was to build a library of America’s cultural history. To meet that goal, Executive Producer Susan Lacy had to mount high-quality productions in sufficient quantity to make an impression on TV viewers and potential subjects.

Pubcasters win total of 173 regional Murrow Awards

NPR stations won 82 large-market regional Murrow Awards, while small-market pubcasters captured 91. Among all stations, WLRN in Miami topped public radio’s regional winners by taking 11 awards in 13 Murrow categories: overall excellence, breaking news, continuing coverage, feature reporting, investigative reporting, news documentary, new series, hard-news reporting, use of sound, writing and website. “We feel thrilled and humbled by the honor,” said Dan Grech, news director. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team.”

Four additional large-market pubcasters each won six Murrows: KQED in San Francisco, WBEZ in Chicago, KUT in Austin and WBUR in Boston. And four large-market stations each won four Murrows: KUOW in Seattle; St.