Afternoon roundup: Slate snaps up NPR’s Pesca; nonprofits join push to block KMBH sale

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• NPR sports reporter Mike Pesca is leaving the network to host a daily current-events podcast for Slate, Business Insider reports. The show will begin this April. Pesca has co-hosted Slate’s sports podcast, “Hang Up And Listen,” since 2009. He tells BI he will have more license to share personal opinions as a podcast host, something he couldn’t do as an NPR reporter. Slate earns upwards of 10 percent of its total advertising revenue from podcasts and expects to grow that share in coming months, according to BI.

• A network of nonprofit organizations has joined an effort to prevent the sale of public TV station KMBH in Harlingen, Texas, to a commercial entity, reports the Rio Grande Guardian. The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, which comprises 10 social-justice organizations in the region, has created an online petition and Facebook group to drum up support.

“We are the poorest region in the nation,” wrote an Equal Voice representative to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “We are also a region that loves our children — and the thought that they would be deprived of the benefits of a properly run public broadcasting service that would offer much needed educational services is an injustice.”

KMBH is operated by the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, which announced last month that it aims to sell the station and would ask the FCC to convert KMBH to commercial status. The diocese has identified MBTV Texas Valley, LLC, as the tentative buyer.

Don Dunlap, president of public KEDT-TV in Corpus Christi, later expressed interest in helping to keep PBS programming in the Rio Grande Valley. But a diocese spokeswoman told the South Texas newspaper the Monitor Monday that negotiations to sell KMBH are nearing completion.

• After 40 years in its current facility in Harrisonburg, Va., WVPT Public Television, serving the Shenandoah Valley and central and northern Virginia, will move to new headquarters by April, according to a press release. James Madison University purchased WVPT’s current facility in October 2013.

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