Mystery and mysticism loom large in the oeuvre of Tom Lopez.
Mystery and mysticism loom large in the oeuvre of Tom Lopez.
In launching her own media company, Maria Hinojosa sought to bring a “consistent presence” of a Latina journalist to PBS and take over production of NPR’s Latino USA.
Transom.org has awarded small radio production grants from its Donor Fund. The online watering hole and how-to site for radio producers provided grants of $1,000 each to six producers who will debut work on the site next year with help from Transom editors:
The Core, a series of podcasts launched by a group of teenagers working with Open Orchard Productions;
William Dahlberg, who will produce a story about an unsolved murder in his hometown of Newbury, Vt.;
Erin Davis, who will create a multimedia project about “adventure playgrounds”;
Andrew Forsthoefel, who will produce an hourlong documentary about his cross-country trip that began in October 2011;
Mary Helen Miller, who will complete a radio documentary about a mixed-race group of Tennesseans; and
Lauren Ober, who is working on a story about “a quest to find meaning in life after your life has been saved at the cost of someone else’s,” according to Transom. The Donor Fund is a pool of money created in 2011 from individual contributions of Transom readers. Grants of $500 to $1,000 were awarded to five producers last year, and their programs have been featured on Transom throughout 2012, according to Jay Allison, independent producer and Transom founder. This year’s grant recipients were selected from a pool of 40 applicants. This article was first published in Current, Dec.
Halfway through its three-year transition from one of PBS’ leading outlets to an independent public TV station in the world capital of film and television production, the new KCET is still very much a work in progress.
Paul Bartishevich, head of Finger Lakes Productions International, died June 1  at his home in Trumansburg, N.Y., of an apparent heart attack. He was 53. FLPI, founded in 1987, produced and distributed daily radio programming to NPR affiliates nationwide as well as more than 120 countries and territories via the Voice of America and American Forces Radio. Popular titles, which reflected Bartishevich’s interest in science, nature and technology, included Bird Watch, Nature Watch, Animal Instincts, Ocean Report, Our Ocean World, EnvironMinute and Microbeworld. In 1998, FLPI launched the Radio Voyager Network (RVN), which became the first English-language commercial radio network to broadcast throughout Europe.
Independent Lens and POV, the PBS series at the center of a dispute about public TV’s commitment to independent film, are moving to Monday nights, PBS’s highest-rated evening.
These bylaws were approved, Nov. 15, 1988, when AIR was incorporated as a nonprofit in New York. ARTICLE ONE: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Membership
A.I.R. shall be a membership organization. There shall be three categories of membership:
a. Organizational Membership – shall be open to organizations providing radio/audio programs and services (including but not limited to, production, presentation, research, distribution, exhibition, or education).
PBS has agreed to consider “alternative scheduling options” for the independent production showcases Independent Lens and POV, which lost carriage and audience after the network moved their shared time slot from Tuesday to Thursday nights. By late last week, several hundred producers had signed an online petition started by Chicago-based Kartemquin Films after Current reported March 15  on negotiations over scheduling of the series. The petition concludes: “We are deeply concerned that PBS’ poorly considered decision could jeopardize both the meeting of public broadcasting’s mission and . . .
Independent producer Kartemquin Films posted this petition online to arrange more favorable scheduling than Thursday nights for the indie showcases POV and Independent Lens. See also <Current coverage. Taking Action: PBS Needs Independents
March 15, 2012
The following is an open letter to PBS. We encourage all independent filmmakers and fans of public media to join us as signatories by commenting below, or emailing us at PBSNeedsIndies@kartemquin.com, or tweet #PBSNeedsIndies to us on Twitter. Kartemquin has a long history of supporting public broadcasting, and we feel we must again rise to the challenge in raising our concern, and hopefully awareness and action, over the issues below. As independent filmmakers, as participants in the evolution of public broadcasting, as viewers and as citizens, we protest PBS’ decision to move the two premier strands of independent documentaries, Independent Lens and POV, from their established home on Tuesday nights to Thursday, a night on which local stations program locally-selected material.
The shift of Independent Lens from Tuesdays to Thursdays this season has created ratings and carriage woes for the indie-doc showcase.
The projects will help reimagine how local public broadcasters serve and engage their communities.
Independent journalists in public media are having an increasingly tough time earning a living as producers for public TV and radio, according to a survey commissioned by the Association of Independents in Radio and the Independent Television Service. Over the past three years, 66 percent of radio indies who responded to the survey reported worsening financial problems.
The survey by Market Trends Research, backed by CPB, drew responses from 206 indies who have created content for public TV, radio or affiliated websites in the past two years. The income outlook among radio indies, who made up 75 percent of survey respondents, is somewhat brighter than for those working in television, film and web production. Forty-one percent of TV and film indies said they expect to work with nonprofits and foundations as a source of future income, and nearly one-third see opportunities in education. Radio indies participating in the survey expressed optimism about their ties to local stations.
Usually the only speakers in the “public comment” period after an NPR Board meeting are several regional reps of stations, but they were joined Feb. 25 by Sue Schardt, executive director of the Association of Independents in Radio. Schardt spoke extemporaneously to the board and NPR execs about how public radio could address criticism that has undercut its case for continued federal aid. This is an edited transcript. I speak as someone who has 23 years of experience in the industry.
The host of Latino USA for all of its 17 years, Maria Hinojosa, is now its proprietor, too, along with producer Sean Collins, her partner in a new media company in the digital cloud. Futuro Media Group, announced this month, starts off highly virtual and will get moreso. Hinojosa records her reports in a soundproofed closet in Harlem. Collins, her e.p. for five years and a former producer of All Things Considered, works in his hometown of St. Louis.
Loni Ding, 78, a filmmaker who brought issues of Asian American identity to the surface, and to PBS, and helped win legislation backing independent producers, died Feb. 20 in a hospital in Oakland, Calif.
These projects were the spawn of Makers Quest 2.0, a CPB-funded, $500,000 initiative, organized by the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), to support multimedia works with radio components.
Few docs as substantial as The Principal Story, which airs on P.O.V. Sept. 15, are funded in full by a single angel, but this one was. The Wallace Foundation didn’t choose to cover the whole cost to make independent producers’ lives easier, though the grant did that.
Woodward A. (Woody) Wickham, 66, a strong supporter of independent documentary films and public media producers, died of cancer Jan. 18  at his home in Chicago. In more than a dozen years at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 1990 to 2003, Wickham helped support such projects as Kartemquin Films’ documentary Hoop Dreams, the Creative Commons alternative to copyrights, and Dave Isay’s StoryCorps, for which Wickham was the founding board chair. With MacArthur’s money, Wickham was a consistent supporter of P.O.V. and Frontline, local media arts centers and Kartemquin, says Alyce Myatt, who worked with him at the foundation. Wickham also supported the foundation’s work in human rights, aiding the International Criminal Court, and media reform groups such as the Media Access Project.
The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, a 30-year-old group that coordinated activism and provided networking and training for independent filmmakers, shuttered its offices and shut down operations in late June. The Manhattan-based association told members in March that it faced a financial crisis, but an emergency fundraising appeal didn’t generate enough contributions to maintain operations. The AIVF Board is looking for another group to take over publication of The Independent, AIVF’s monthly magazine. Although the board considered a scenario of eventually resuming operations, it’s unlikely that the association will revive, said Bart Weiss, organizer of the Dallas Video Festival and board president. “I wish it could, but I don’t see how it could happen,” he said.
Public radio is hitting home runs, but it can do better. Producer and StoryCorps founder Dave Isay says public radio is entering its golden age.