WKGC dropping NPR affiliation, picking up BBC, APM shows

WKGC in Panama City, Fla., will replace NPR’s newsmagazines with BBC news programs distributed by American Public Media. The station, which is also dropping its NPR membership, cited duplication of NPR programs in the market as the reason for the schedule change, which takes effect Oct. 1, reports the local News Herald. During morning and afternoon drive times, BBC World News and NewsHour will air on the WKGC instead of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. WKGC is licensed to Gulf Coast State Community College and shares its service area with WFSU in Tallahassee, operated by Florida State University.

PBS taps BBC’s Midwife to boost Sunday viewership

PBS’s yearlong effort to build more audience flow in its primetime schedule moves into new territory with the Sept. 30 U.S. broadcast premiere of Call the Midwife, a limited-run BBC drama that will attempt to draw in Masterpiece fans and keep them watching an hour longer on Sunday nights.

APM displaces PRI as BBC World Service distributor

American Public Media will begin distributing the BBC World Service to U.S. pubradio stations July 1 [2012], ending the British network’s 26-year distribution relationship with Public Radio International. A five-year BBC-PRI contract is expiring, but the two networks will still collaborate on their co-productions such as The World and The Takeaway. Portions of the World Service air on 521 stations in the U.S.

“BBC World Service radio has been enjoying record audiences in the U.S., and we are delighted to be working with American Public Media to ensure that more U.S. listeners have access to the BBC’s impartial international journalism and programming across public radio,” said Richard Porter, controller, English, for the BBC, in a statement to Current. APM declined comment.  

Al Rose

Al Rose, 70

Albert E. Rose, former program director of New Jersey Network and later the program distributor who brought nightly British news programs to U.S. public TV, died of lung cancer June 16, 2010, at a hospice in Newtown, Pa.

Alistair Cooke, 95

Just five weeks after filing his last Letter from America for the BBC, Alistair Cooke died March 30 [2004] at his home in Manhattan. He was 95 and had heart disease. Cooke had delivered the Letter for 58 years, far exceeding his 26 years as a U.S. correspondent for Britain’s Guardian newspaper or the mere 22 years he hosted Masterpiece Theatre.

An Age of Kings: an import becomes public TV’s first hit

It was public TV’s first unqualified national success, a smash hit. Before Masterpiece Theatre, American Playhouse or Hollywood Television Theatre, there was An Age of Kings, Shakespeare’s history plays in 15 parts, a chronicle of Britain’s monarchs from Richard II (1399) to Richard III (1484).