• Detroit’s WDET-FM staged the New York premiere Friday of The Pleasure of Sound, a documentary featuring Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad. In the short film, shot in Detroit in 2013, Abumrad and musician Matthew Dear discuss music and creativity. WDET will launch a crowdfunding campaign to cover distribution costs for the film in May and plans to distribute the documentary free to interested community organizations and pubmedia stations for screenings. The Pleasure of Sound previously screened in Detroit as part of a fall 2013 installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art. • NPR appointed Mark Memmott as its new standards and practices editor Thursday. Memmott is the founder of the Two-Way breaking-news blog and co-author of NPR’s 2012 ethics handbook.
• The U.S. Supreme Court has set a date for ABC TV v. Aereo, a challenge to the startup service that allows subscribers to watch TV programs over the Internet via miniature antennae. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 21. Though ABC brought the lawsuit, filed in New York and Boston, PBS and New York’s WNET are also among the parties claiming Aereo violates copyright law. • Ken Burns participated in his first Reddit Ask Me Anything session Tuesday as part of the promotion for his new app. He laid out the planned release schedule for his next decade of films: The Roosevelts in September, A History of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies and Jackie Robinson in 2015, Vietnam in 2016, Country Music in 2018 and Ernest Hemingway in 2019.
An interview that went awry for Radiolab sparked an outcry from listeners and an unusual apology from a show unaccustomed to accusations of insensitivity. Current spoke with Jad Abumrad, Kao Kalia Yang and WNYC about the controversy.
There’s some heavy-duty soul-searching going on in public radio. The Public Radio Program Directors conference, Sept. 20–23 in Baltimore, sidelined its usual celebrations of pubradio’s audience growth and its journalistic ascendency. Instead, participants grappled with big questions about challenges ahead and wondered aloud about how to move forward after a year of political calamity at NPR. Progress reports about ongoing reforms were freighted with a new urgency: giving exposure to innovative new programs, raising stations’ ambitions for local reporting, opening the field to more diverse voices and listeners.