KCTS President Moss Bresnahan resigns, citing family issues

Moss Bresnahan, president of KCTS Television in Seattle, resigned Thursday. “My reasons for making this very difficult decision are deeply personal — to attend to family-related issues that have arisen,” Bresnahan said in a note to public television managers. “I’m so proud of our many accomplishments to date, and I know that KCTS is poised for even greater things in the coming year,” he told the execs. Prior to his arrival in Seattle in November 2008, Bresnahan served as president of South Carolina ETV and WVPT in Harrisonburg, Va. He also spent six years as a board member of the International Public Television Screening Conference (INPUT) .

Wits introduces social club in advance of fourth-season launch

American Public Media’s Wits is introducing a “Social Club” for fans as producers prepare to launch the show’s fall season. For $35, fans become members for the fall 2013 and spring 2014 seasons and gain early access to tickets for live performances of the variety show, hosted by John Moe and recorded in St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater. They also receive a 10-percent discount on up to four tickets per show and other perks. “Social media has been embedded into Wits’s DNA, so a social club seemed like a natural fit,” APM spokesperson Tara Schlosser told Current.

Co-founder Shapiro announces departure from Third Coast

Julie Shapiro, artistic director and co-founder of the Chicago-based Third Coast International Audio Festival, will leave the multiplatform curator of audio storytelling in November. “I thought long and hard (and then longer, and harder) about this,” Shapiro wrote in today’s announcement, “but ultimately realized it’s time to move on and try something different with the next phase of my life.” Shapiro and Johanna Zorn, e.d., founded Third Coast in 2000; its biennial “filmless festival” draws thousands of audiophiles. Shapiro came up with the concept for Third Coast’s popular ShortDocs Challenge, which asks participants to make mini-documentaries while following quirky rules such as using a color in the documentary’s title or including three seconds of “narrative silence.” The organization also hosts a conference for audio producers in the festival’s off-years and produces a weekly podcast and radio program.

Upcoming season brings more Downton Abbey merchandise

The fourth season of Downton Abbey, launching in January on Masterpiece, will bring an influx of related merchandise. Soon fans will be able to create a quilt with Downton fabric, drape themselves in Downton jewelry, deck their halls with Downton Christmas ornaments and toast their favorite program with Downton wine as products roll out in anticipation of the premiere. “Our licensing program includes a two-pronged approach,” said Carole Postal, a co-president of Knockout Licensing in New York City, which is managing Downton product licensing in the U.S. and Canada. “Aspirational products are for those who love the elegant period look and feel of the show, and fan-based products are for those who want to show and share their enthusiasm for the characters, the writing and everything else about the series.”

Carnival Films, part of NBCUniversal, owns the intellectual-property rights to the Edwardian costume drama, which has been a huge ratings and critical hit for PBS. Executive Producer Gareth Neame told The Associated Press that Downton merchandise has been rolling out slowly.

Tardif of WGCU to chair Radio Television Digital News Association

Amy Tardif, news director of dual licensee WGCU in Fort Myers, Fla., is the first woman in pubradio to chair the Radio Television Digital News Association, reports the local News-Press. The RTDNA named Tardif  chair-elect Monday at its annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif. She’ll lead next year’s conference in Nashville, Tenn. The association represents journalists in broadcasting, cable and digital media in more than 30 countries. Tardif previously served as an RTDNA regional director.

NFL concussion documentary to air in one two-hour presentation

PBS is shifting the scheduling of Frontline’s upcoming League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis to a one-evening presentation. The documentary, which has been in the news since ESPN dropped out of its reporting partnership with Frontline last week, will now air from 9 to 11 p.m. Oct. 8. It had originally been set to run as two one-hour episodes on Oct. 8 and 15.

NPR’s Shapiro will report from London

NPR’s Ari Shapiro will end his stint covering the White House and head abroad in January to report from London, the network announced today. In London, Shapiro will replace Philip Reeves, who will become NPR’s Islamabad correspondent. Shapiro has covered the White House for NPR since 2010. He joined the network in 2003 and reported from Miami, Boston and Atlanta, then went on to cover national security and counterterrorism. In 2012 he followed Mitt Romney on the campaign trail.

Nine international broadcasters pick up Cold Case JFK doc from Nova

Cold Case JFK, a Nova forensic investigation documentary on President Kennedy’s assassination, has been purchased by nine broadcasters worldwide, reports C21 Media, a London-based global media news site. The doc, airing on PBS in November as part of a week of programming to mark the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s murder in Dallas, was picked up by  RTS in Denmark; NRK, Norway; TVI, Portugal; SBS, Australia; Canal Once, Mexico; SRC-RDI and CBC Newsworld, Canada; and EBS and MBN, South Korea. The film is distributed worldwide by PBS International, jointly owned by PBS and WGBH in Boston.

The Story to end production in Nov. with departure of Dick Gordon

Dick Gordon, host of public radio’s The Story, announced Monday that he will leave the long-form interview show Nov. 22. With Gordon’s departure, the show will come to a close. The program is produced by WUNC/North Carolina Public Radio and distributed by American Public Media. It airs on 115 stations, according to APM.

KUSC broadcasting classical show from Santa Monica beach

KUSC host Rich Capparela has taken his Friday show to the beach. Starting Aug. 23, the Los Angeles classical station personality Rich Capparela began hosting the Friday edition of his weekday show from his home studio in Santa Monica, with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Airing 4–7 p.m., KUSC at the Beach takes listeners into the weekend with music and information about concerts and events in the region. “The afternoon show with Rich has always been a great way to wind down after a busy day,” said Bill Lueth, USC radio v.p. “A classical show with that beach frame of mind sounded especially relaxing.”

Capparela has had a studio in his condo since 1991.

Frontline reporting partner ESPN pulls out of NFL brain-injury investigation

This item has been updated and reposted with additional information. ESPN on Thursday unexpectedly withdrew from a reporting collaboration with Frontline investigating brain injuries in National Football League players, the New York Times reports. “League of Denial,” a two-part special premiering in October, was Frontline’s first editorial partnership with the cable sports network, which pays the NFL more than $1 billion a year to broadcast Monday Night Football. The Times, citing unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the situation, said ESPN’s role “came under intense pressure by the league . .

Tri States Public Radio to operate student-run WVKC

Illinois-based Tri States Public Radio has negotiated an agreement to operate Knox College’s student-run WVKC-FM as a full-time NPR station. Broadcasting at 1000 watts from the college’s campus in Galesburg, Ill., WVKC already carries NPR’s Morning Edition under a programming agreement with Tri States, which is licensed to Western Illinois University in Macomb, about 50 miles southwest of the small college town. When the deal takes effect in mid-September, TSPR’s mixed-format NPR news and music programming will be broadcast on WVKC’s 90.7 FM around the clock. Under the 20-year management contract announced this month, Knox College retains its license to WVKC. Student programming will be distributed as an Internet-only stream and HD Radio channel.