PBS scores with Democrats in latest “brand health” ranking

PBS ranks No. 7 of 10 popular brands among Democrats in this year’s “Red, Blue and Independent Rankings,”  the annual aggregate indicator of “brand health” from YouGov’s BrandIndex, “a daily measure of brand perception among the public, tracking many brands across multiple sectors simultaneously.” Google, PBS and Dove appear only on the list for Democrats, not Republicans or Independents. More than 1,100 consumer brands are tallied for the index, which combines scores for quality, value, general impression, satisfaction, reputation and willingness to recommend. Results from respondents age 18 and older are filtered for their political party affiliation.

Muppets help First Lady announce Sesame Street healthy-food partnership

“Elmo Compliments First Lady’s Arms, Tells Her Pizza Isn’t Healthy.” There’s a headline you don’t see every day. The Sesame Street Muppet donned a tie for the Wednesday White House appearance, with his pal Rosita tagging along.  “And I wore my pearls, my mom’s pearls,” Rosita told Michelle Obama, according to U.S. News & World Report. They were there to announce that Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association are joining the Partnership for a Healthier America in a two-year program to promote fresh fruits and veggies for kids. As part of the agreement, Sesame will allow the association to use Muppet stickers on healthy foods and grocery displays.

AIR, PRNDI partner on guidelines for radio freelancers

The Association of Independents in Radio and Public Radio News Directors Inc. are collaborating on a set of guidelines for local pubradio stations to consult when setting freelancer rates. To lead the initiative, AIR recruited Susanna Capelouto, former news director at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Over the next month, Capelouto will survey news directors and station managers across the country to inform the guidelines, which she hopes to publish by Dec. 1. AIR will draw from a pay guide that it developed for NPR in 2002 and updated last year and from a guide that it created for American Public Media’s Marketplace in 2012.

WCNY’s new $20 million headquarters “spectacular,” PBS’s Kerger says

At the grand opening Wednesday of WCNY’s new $20 million Broadcast and Education Center in Syracuse, N.Y., PBS President Paula Kerger declared the facility “spectacular.” At 56,000 square feet over two buildings, it includes two TV and two radio studios, seven technical editing suites, a production control room, public cafe and courtyard. The educational centerpiece is Enterprise America, a mock town for students to apply Common Core curriculum to real-life situations and learn career, leadership and entrepreneurial skills, the local Post-Standard reports. The facility is also home to the Centralcast master-control hub, which handles programming streams for all nine pubTV stations in New York state plus New Jersey’s four-station network. Kerger admitted that she had her doubts when WCNY President Robert Daino announced in 2007 that the station would end pledge drives.

WBAI interim p.d. quits over fundraising programming

Andrew Phillips resigned last month as interim p.d. of Pacifica’s WBAI in New York, a post he accepted less than three months ago in an effort to rebuild the audience of the financially troubled station. Phillips cited a disagreement over fundraising programs airing on the station, including shows featuring products pitched by alternative-medicine promoter Gary Null, as the reason for his decision. “It’s a model destined to failure, and I don’t want to be a part of it,” Phillips said. Pacifica assigned Phillips to WBAI in August after imposing a workforce reduction intended to sharply reduce the station’s operating costs. To attract more listeners, Phillips introduced news and public affairs shows from Pacifica’s KPFA in Berkeley, where he had previously overseen programming, and Los Angeles station KPFK.

Senate confirms former PBS Board member Wheeler as FCC chair

The Senate confirmed former PBS Board member Tom Wheeler Tuesday night to head the FCC, reports The Hill. “Tom Wheeler will be a strong advocate for consumers and the public interest at a time when the FCC is facing decisions that will shape the future of our nation’s telephone network and the wireless, broadband, and video industries,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller. The West Virginia Democrat and others initially expressed concern about Wheeler’s role as a former industry lobbyist. Wheeler was president of the National Cable Television Association from 1979-84 and later led the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association. He is a managing director at Core Capital, a firm that invests in tech start-ups.

Elaine Rivera, former WNYC reporter, dies at 54

Elaine Rivera, a reporter for New York’s WNYC from 2006–09, died Oct. 26. She was 54. The cause of death has not been released, but Rivera had previously battled liver disease. Raised in Cleveland, Rivera came to radio from print journalism, having previously worked for the Washington Post, Time and Newsday.

Bill Moyers ending Moyers & Company in January

Bill Moyers announced today to his colleagues in public TV that the last broadcast of his Moyers & Company public-affairs show will air Jan. 3, 2014, when current funding commitments end. He also said that his production company is “exploring the possibility of continuing to serve that audience through BillMoyers.com with the goal of engaging them in the renewal of democracy.” The show has more than 315,000 Facebook likes, Moyers said, and that number “grows every day by the hundreds. They — like so many of our viewers — take their citizenship seriously.”