The National Endowment of the Arts announced $4.68 million in funding to 76 media-arts projects April 23, including new grantees such as the Online Video Engagement Experience (OVEE) developed with CPB funding, a new initiative from the Association of Independents in Radio called Spectrum America and Sonic Trace, a multimedia production at KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., that was created through AIR’s recently concluded Localore project. For a second year, the NEA will continue to support projects that use digital technologies to go beyond traditional broadcasting platforms. In its announcement, the endowment highlighted a $100,000 grant to OVEE, a digital platform that allows web users to interact while watching PBS and local station content. The Independent Television Service developed the technology with support from CPB. AIR also received $100,000 for Spectrum America, a project that will pair media artists with public stations as they experiment with “new approaches to storytelling.”
Sonic Trace, a co-production at KCRW initiated through AIR’s 2012–2013 Localore initiative, received a direct NEA grant of $75,000 to continue exploring the experience of Latino immigrants. NEA also backed digital media projects at NPR, providing $100,000 for music programming and multimedia content.
Public radio will be well-represented at the musical portion of the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, March 13–16. The NPR Music showcase March 13 will feature the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performing new songs from their forthcoming album Mosquito, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mexican rockers Café Tacvba and others. Audio of the live set at 8 p.m. Eastern will be offered for station broadcast and distributed online; NPR Music will also offer a live video stream through its website and mobile apps. Café Tacvba will put in double duty and appear in a March 14 showcase arranged by NPR Music’s Alt.Latino channel, along with Molotov, also from Mexico. Rounding out the lineup is Bajofondo, a band led by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who has scored films including Brokeback Mountain and The Motorcycle Diaries.
If you’re a public radio station without a plan for how to take advantage of the remarkably flexible and creative platform of podcasting — a platform that leverages your existing skills better than anything else in new media — you need to think again.
KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., has struck the opening chords for The Organist, a monthly arts-and-culture podcast from McSweeney’s. The program is the latest collaboration between the station and the irreverent San Francisco–based publishing house, founded in 1998 by acclaimed author and screenwriter Dave Eggers. Produced by the editors of the McSweeney’s-published culture magazine The Believer, The Organist will produce 10 hourlong episodes per year covering a wide gamut of pop culture, with the help of some famous voices. The inaugural episode launched Feb. 1.
KPCC’s Susan Valot and KCRW’s Kim Masters were recognized among best journalists in Los Angeles. Valot, a reporter who covers Orange County for Pasadena’s KPCC, was lauded by Press Club judges for producing “well-rounded reports with an authoritative, informed tone” and making great use of sound. Masters, a former NPR correspondent who now covers Hollywood for KCRW in Santa Monica, was named top entertainment journalist. Judges cited her voicing and thorough, substantive reporting on L.A.’s entertainment business. KPCC’s newsroom won top recognition in four categories of the radio division: for feature reporting by Madeleine Brand and Kristen Muller; entertainment reporting/criticism by Larry Mantle; use of sound by Kevin Ferguson; and the talk/public affairs program Airtalk with Larry Mantle.
. . . And the way she couples spur-of-the-moment decision-making and openness to change with highly principled management has prompted some to call her the “Lady of the Iron Whim,” one of her many nicknames. She is not afraid to make enemies, or even fire longtime volunteers, if it helps keep the schedule fresh. . . .