The author of a book arguing for the innocence of five convicted Cuban spies found himself disinvited from an appearance on Miami’s WLRN-FM last month, only to be reinvited after the station’s g.m. caught wind of the cancellation. Stephen Kimber, a journalism professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was slated to appear on WLRN’s Topical Currents Sept. 17 to discuss his new book, What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five. The book examines the 2001 Miami trial of the Cuban Five, who were convicted for conspiracy to spy on the U.S. and for failure to register as agents of a foreign government. One of the spies was also convicted for conspiracy to commit murder for his involvement in a 1996 incident in which Cuban jets shot down planes flying between Florida and Cuba, piloted by exiles.
After stints in the cable world as producers and programmers, PBS execs Beth Hoppe and Donald Thoms returned to PBS last August to assist Chief TV Programming Executive John Wilson with primetime scheduling. They’ve also been working closely with producers to craft shows that will help build more audience flow across weeknights. With Hoppe’s expertise in science and nature production, and Thoms’ love of the arts and independent films, the pair brings passion for the programs that cover the breadth of PBS’s variety service, they said during a May 3 interview with Current. Here, the three programmers discuss their progress over the past year and their plans for the coming summer and fall seasons, including:
How strategies for presenting arts programs have evolved since last fall’s nine-week festival;
How granular Nielsen ratings numbers help them make decisions about commissioning, scheduling and promoting primetime programs; and
Why PBS stepped back from its proposal last year to insert promotional breaks into programming. This transcript has been edited.
While the Association of Public Television Stations and its member stations’ activists will be busy enough fighting off the cutback of more than $140 million just proposed by the White House (separate story), the group is working on a slate of new longer-range proposals to take to Congress. ¶ Notably, public TV will seek additional funding for an American Archive project that would preserve and catalog programs and clear rights for long-term public access, APTS President John Lawson said in an interview. ¶ APTS will also ask for changes in copyright law to ease clearance and expand rights for educational uses, he said. ¶ Lawson spoke with Current editors in APTS’ offices in downtown Washington. Current: By Feb.