A localized version of Curious City, the Localore-backed participatory journalism initiative that assigns reporters to research questions submitted by listeners, launched at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, last month. WYSO Curious is the first version of the multimedia project to launch beyond its home station, Chicago’s WBEZ. In its new incarnation, listeners submit questions online, and WYSO produces stories each month about the answers. Curious City and its project manager, Jennifer Brandel, began developing an open-source platform that could be replicated at other stations with the help of a June 2013 prototype grant from the Knight Foundation. Lewis Wallace, a reporter at WYSO, interviewed Brandel and Curious City editor Shawn Allee at the launch of WYSO Curious in December.
A second member of the Vermont Public Television board has resigned. VPT remains under investigation by the CPB Inspector General’s office after an anonymous complaint that the board broke CPB’s open-meetings rules. The board accepted Jim Wyant’s resignation after a Jan. 8 meeting. Wyant continues as chair of the Montreal-based Public Television Association of Quebec, a Canadian nonprofit that supports VPT.
Having faced the disruptive threats posed by cassette tapes, CDs, satellite radio and even the iPod, public radio strategists are increasingly looking for a beachhead into the emerging “connected car” and its Internet-powered suite of entertainment options. Gains in auto technology were a highlight of last week’s 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: Carmakers, including General Motors, Jaguar, Tesla and Audi, unveiled new or beefed-up versions of dashboards that use broadband Internet to power apps offering news, music, weather and other services to motorists. Both NPR and American Public Media announced new partnerships that will get their content into these “connected cars.”
“This is huge, and it’s essential for radio broadcasters to be players in this space,” said Fred Jacobs, longtime radio researcher and analyst who’s now in the business of developing apps for the digital dashboard. He has followed the development of connected car technologies and documented its growth through his research projects, including the Public Radio Technology Survey. For decades, radio operators could throw up a tower and launch a broadcast service confident that listeners would be tuning in from their cars.
Former KPCC host Madeleine Brand’s new show on competitor KCRW in Los Angeles now has a name and launch date, according to the blog LA Observed. The blog reported that Brand’s new show, Press Play, will debut Jan. 27. It will air from noon to 1 p.m., which means that it will not air opposite Take Two, the successor to Brand’s former KPCC show. Brand left KPCC in September 2012 and started developing her new KCRW show in September 2013.
Television broadcasters, commercial and noncommercial, succeeded in securing a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court in their bid to strike down Aereo, the startup service that allows subscribers to view and record television broadcast programs via the Internet. The court will hear the case later this year after granting a writ of certiorari Friday in the case of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al., v. Aereo, Inc. To date, broadcasters have been unable to secure an injunction against the company that uses banks of dime-sized antennas to capture broadcast signals and convert them into streaming video distributed over the Internet. Subscribers “rent” the antennas and have the option to watch TV programs live or on demand via a device similar to a digital video recorder. Broadcasters appealed to the Supreme Court after the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request in July 2013 to revisit its earlier decision not to impose an injunction on Aereo. In April 2013, the 2nd Circuit upheld a lower court’s July 2012 decision to allow Aereo to continue operating despite the pending litigation.
The Metropolitan Opera agreed to tone down indecent language in its Jan. 11 broadcast after radio station leaders warned that they would not risk airing a performance that would violate FCC standards. Met staffers informed stations in a Jan. 7 email that Saturday’s broadcast of Die Fledermaus would contain profanity. An off-stage tenor, singing in his jail cell, would prompt a jailer to answer, “No opera!
The CPB Inspector General’s office is investigating an anonymous complaint that Vermont Public Television violated CPB’s open-meeting requirements, reports WPTZ, the local NBC affiliate. VPT’s board will conduct an internal audit of the allegation, said board member Tom Pelletier. The governing body discussed the situation at a meeting Wednesday night. Following the meeting “and without an explanation,” WPTZ reported, James Wyant, a 12-year veteran of the board and a major VPT donor, resigned his post. “As a public institution, we’re committed to openness,” said VPT President John King in a statement online.
The much-anticipated fourth season premiere of Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Classic drew a massive 10.2 million viewers on Sunday, good enough to make the two-hour episode the highest rated drama premiere in PBS history, according to PBS.
General Motors announced Monday that the NPR News app will be featured in the inaugural suite of in-car apps the automaker has slated for select 2015 Chevrolet models.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show, which kicks off tomorrow in Las Vegas. GM is including OnStar 4G LTE connections in 2015 models of the Chevy Corvette, Impala, Malibu and Volt. An LTE connection makes a vehicle a WiFi hotspot and allows drivers to download apps to the dashboard including NPR, The Weather Channel, Priceline.com and Slacker Radio. According to NPR, the new app will use GPS to find a local NPR station and designate it as a “primary favorite.” The app will announce the station and play hourly news and the station’s live stream. Users can add other stations to the app as well and find member stations using a search function. Upwards of 30 programs will be available on-demand, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. NPR said the app will also allow drivers to create automated playlists focused on topics such as politics and technology.
Mario Vazquez, president and c.e.o. of KLRN in San Antonio, resigned his position effective Dec. 31. Vazquez told the Alamo Public Telecommunications Council board at its Dec. 19 meeting that he needed to leave his post to tend to several ill family members. The board announced his decision in a Dec.
As the Public Media Platform prepares for its phased rollout across the system in January, Executive Director Kristen Calhoun is seeking opportunities and partners willing to experiment with its still-unknown potential.