Herbert Allison, ProPublica director, dies at 69

Herbert Allison, Jr., a financial executive who served on the Board of Directors of nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica, died July 14 at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 69. Family members said he died of a possible heart attack.

Pubcasters capture 21 national Edward R. Murrow Awards

WLRN in Miami won large-market radio Murrows for feature reporting and use of sound. Chicago’s WBEZ also won for news documentary and hard-news reporting. The award for investigative reporting went to KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting, both based in San Francisco, for “Broken Shield: Exposing Abuses at California Developmental Centers.”

Zimmerman verdict protesters damage windows at Youth Radio in Oakland, Calif.

Youth Radio, the Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit that trains young people in media production, sustained shattered windows during local unrest on Monday following the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict on July 13, it reported in a blog post. At least six people were arrested during protests in Oakland, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Youth Radio has a 20-year history of carving out a safe space — and a creative outlet — for young people like Trayvon” Martin, the teenager that Zimmerman was charged with shooting, the post noted. The organization also created a video that captured frightening footage of the sidewalk-to-ceiling windows being smashed, and shows youngsters involved with the media project reflecting on the incident. “I guess I felt kind of betrayed a little bit,” said one, “because what we do at Youth Radio is so in line with what people were protesting against and for, which is making young people of color feel that their lives have value and that their voices matter.”

Arbitron reports new benchmark for pubradio news/talk audience

Audiences for news and talk stations delivered more than half of public radio’s listening in 2012, according to Arbitron’s annual study on public radio audience trends. The average quarter-hour (AQH) share, an Arbitron term describing the percentage of public radio listeners who tune to a specific format, hit 51.7 percent for pubradio news and talk stations last year, an 2.7 percent increase from 2011 and a precedent for the growth of public radio’s most powerful format, according to Arbitron’s “Public Radio Today 2013.” The study, which looked at audience trends across all stations and formats in 2012, found that public radio’s total audience remained at 32 million, or 12 percent, of all radio listeners. The number of weekly listeners grew by 7.5 percent, or 1.2 million, to a total of 18 million. Triple-A stations contributed to the gains by boosting the format’s weekly cume to 3.4 million listeners, an increase of 8.7 percent.

PBS to mark anniversary of historic civil rights March on Washington

PBS is planning a weeklong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The special lineup of shows planned for broadcast in late August includes a new documentary, The March, co-executive produced by Robert Redford. It debuts Aug. 27, the eve of the anniversary. The next day, the PBS Black Culture Connection website will host an online screening of the documentary and interactive chats with participants of the historic event.

Court rejects broadcasters’ appeal to block Aereo

Aereo, the startup service that allows subscribers to view and record television broadcast programs via the Internet, won another legal victory on Tuesday from a federal appellate court. In a 10-2 decision, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from a consortium of broadcasters to revisit its earlier decision not to impose an injunction on Aereo. In April the 2nd Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision to allow Aereo to continue operating despite the pending litigation. PBS and WNET are among the TV broadcasters that have filed lawsuits in New York federal courts attempting to block Aereo’s expansion, with little effect. Last July, Judge Alison J. Nathan of the federal court for New York’s Southern District refused to grant an injunction against Aereo, an action that likely would have shut down the service.  The television networks appealed to the U.S. 2nd Circuit, but it upheld the lower court’s decision in April.

CPB will fund new Local Journalism Centers

CPB plans to fund two additional Local Journalism Centers, according to a Nieman Lab article reviewing lessons that journalists have learned from running the centers. The funder initially put up $8.1 million in 2010 and 2011 to start seven LJCs around the country. Some have fared well, while others have struggled with a lack of additional funding and difficulties in working out collaborative relationships among station partners. CPB expects to phase out funding for the existing LJCs even as it backs new ones. Most participants don’t know whether they will be able to sustain the partnerships after CPB funding dries up, according to Nieman.

KIXE-TV worker admits to using donor credit-card numbers for purchases

A woman who was training to become membership coordinator of KIXE-TV in Redding, Calif., has admitted to credit card fraud, according to local law enforcement. The Redding Police Department received a complaint in March from a KIXE donor who noticed a fraudulent charge on her credit card account after contributing to the public TV station. During their investigation, officers discovered items that had been purchased with the donor’s credit card in the Redding apartment of Stephanie Winchester. Winchester, 29, admitted that she had used multiple credit-card numbers that she had taken during her work at the station “to purchase goods and services for herself,” according to a police department press release. Winchester is also alleged to have “shipped KIXE property to her home address,” according to police.

Maine pubcaster ponders future of classical music after host’s departure

Maine Public Broadcasting is rethinking its approach to classical music, with the upcoming departure of a radio host and a strategic plan that calls for more news and information programming, according to the Morning Sentinel in Skowhegan. Morning Classical host Suzanne Nance recently announced her plan to move to WFMT in Chicago later this summer. “Listeners immediately expressed concern for the future of classical music on MPBN,” the newspaper said, which in April announced layoffs due to reductions in state and federal funding. “We can offer more news and information, more programming and more choice,” Vogelzang told the newspaper. “But with all of that, we need the financial support to get there.”

Study evaluates strength of public radio’s “halo” for sponsors

ATLANTA — The positive associations that public radio listeners have with corporate sponsors and underwriters are as strong as ever, according to a report unveiled July 11 during the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference. Results of the 2013 NPR Underwriting Research project, presented by radio analyst Paul Jacobs, showed that the so-called “halo effect” that companies gain from public media sponsorships is unchanged since 2010, the last time researchers looked into it. A 2003 NPR study first identified the power of public radio sponsorships to influence listeners’ perceptions of the quality of the companies who pay for them. “We’re seeing absolutely no decline in how your listeners feel about you,” Jacobs said. “Despite the fact we live in a time of media fragmentation, one of the constants you have is that your audience loves you.”

“You have something that money can’t buy — your listeners trust in you so much that that trust transfers to the companies that sponsor you,” Jacobs told the audience at the PMDMC Thursday.

FCC rejects AFA complaint over criteria for noncommercial FM applications

The FCC has affirmed its criteria for awarding broadcast licenses to noncommercial applicants, rejecting a complaint by a religious broadcaster that the rules unfairly favor secular broadcasters. In a July 11 decision, the FCC denied the complaint by the Tupelo, Miss.–based American Family Association over competitive applications to establish new stations in Perry, Iowa, and Spokane, Wash. Iowa State University had sought the Perry station, while Spokane Public Radio pursued the Washington signal. The FCC will award construction permits to the two applicants. AFA argued that the FCC should change the way it assesses what are called “attributable” broadcast interests.

KPBS soliciting pitches for local TV shows

KPBS in San Diego is again inviting viewers to recommend ideas for its expanding lineup of local programs, after backing two shows from last year’s crop of suggestions. Through its Explore Local Content Initiative, KPBS supported development of two of the 52 shows that viewers suggested in 2012 for seed funding: Savor San Diego, a cooking show; and A Growing Passion, about eco-friendly local agriculture and horticulture. Both premiered last month as part of the station’s “Explore San Diego” block from 8 t0 10 p.m. Thursdays. “It’s our goal to increase the amount of local programming on KPBS-TV, and this seemed like a great way to discover new community producers,” said Nancy Worlie, station spokesperson. KPBS is looking for programs that are in or near production.