Feature Story News helps stations fill gap left by Free Speech Radio News

Pacifica is replacing its recently canceled half-hour news program Free Speech Radio News with a news show produced by Feature Story News, an independent broadcast news service that operates nine bureaus in the U.S. and abroad. Free Speech Radio News was carried by more than 100 public radio stations before delivering its last program Sept. 27. The grassroots-oriented news operation behind the progressive news show was forced to shut down as it ran out of cash. The Pacifica Foundation, which is struggling to keep two of its own stations afloat, was unable to meet its financial obligations to the program, accumulating nearly $200,000 in unpaid bills.

Online resource PBS LearningMedia registers more than 1 million users

PBS LearningMedia, a digital classroom resource for K–12 educators, topped more than 1 million registered users this month. Operated through a partnership of PBS and the WGBH Educational Foundation, the website offers more than 30,000 pieces of content to its users. The site is also rolling out a new premium tier with enhanced features; that service is now distributed statewide in Kentucky, New York and South Carolina. As part of its ongoing effort to promote classroom use of digital technology and build its user base, PBS LearningMedia launched “Get Your Tech On,” offering free access to its webinars and how-to guides through Nov. 1.

Alabama Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit stemming from 2012 APT dismissals

The Alabama Supreme Court on Sept. 27 threw out a lawsuit filed following the 2012 dismissal of two top executives from Alabama Public Television, reports the Birmingham News, ruling that the pair did not have standing to sue under the state’s Open Meetings Act. Former APT Executive Director Allan Pizzato and Pauline Howland, former deputy director, claimed the Alabama Educational Television Commission violated the open meetings law when they were dismissed. Pizzato and Howland were fired at the commission’s June 12, 2012, meeting after commissioners went into executive session to discuss Pizzato’s “general reputation, character, and job performance.” This lawsuit was filed the next month.

Expansion of classical radio belies format’s many challenges

ATLANTA — Representatives of classical radio stations resolved last week to work toward creating a new organization to represent their format within public radio, a tactic to fight shrinking audiences and build a stronger case for classical radio. During sessions held Sept. 18 and 19 at the Public Radio Program Directors Association conference in Atlanta, station representatives examined research demonstrating that, while more public licensees are broadcasting classical music, listeners are also turning to digital platforms for classical. Arbitron’s most recent Public Radio Today study identified 188 noncommercial FM, AM, HD and streaming stations devoted to classical music, an increase from 178 in 2011. An additional 218 stations programmed classical for least 30 percent of their broadcast schedules in 2012.

New PRI.org highlights network’s focus on global news

Public Radio International has revamped its website to absorb the web presence of PRI’s The World, reflecting the network’s aim to develop a higher profile in international news. The new site gives greater prominence to international news from The World and other PRI programs. The World “is increasingly, for us, a journalism brand,” said Michael Skoler, PRI’s v.p. of interactive media. Previously, The World had its own website at TheWorld.org. It now redirects to PRI.org. PRI has combined the previously separate staff and resources for the two sites.

KCRW brings live Morning Becomes Eclectic performances to YouTube

Select musical performances from KCRW-FM’s signature show Morning Becomes Eclectic are now streaming live on YouTube. The Los Angeles station kicked off the new feature Sept. 17 with a six-minute song from the U.K. buzz band King Krule; until this month, KCRW posted only prerecorded performances on its channel. Created in September 2006, KCRW’s YouTube page has 44,000 subscribers and has received more than 35 million views worldwide — including four from within Vatican City. The most popular single video, Gotye’s live version of “Somebody That I Used to Know,” has about 16 million views.

Viewers get early peek at new Doc Martin from subscription streamer Acorn TV

Acorn TV, the subscription-based British TV streaming service for U.S. viewers, begins offering new episodes of Doc Martin exclusively on Oct. 7 — months before their February 2014 premiere on public TV stations. Episodes from the sixth season of the quirky ITV series starring Martin Clunes will be added each Monday through the season finale on Nov. 25. For those fans of British TV who just can’t get enough of Doc Martin, all episodes of previous seasons will also be available for streaming.