CPB gives $1 million to build and expand emergency communication services

Five pubcasting stations are receiving a total of $1 million in grants from CPB to expand emergency alert and communications services. CPB announced the grants today to WSKG in Binghamton, N.Y.; Maine Public Broadcasting Network; Vegas PBS in Nevada; WGBH in Boston; and Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn. Each will work with community partners and other pubmedia entities to acquire or develop digital wireless technology to assist first responders, emergency-management agencies and the public during disasters. Using pubmedia digital broadcasting technology, officials can send emergency information through text, audio and video.

Luoma, Cornwell recognized for achievements in local scheduling

In a citation honoring Maine Public TV’s Kelly Luoma as the Charles Impaglia Programmer of the Year, PTPA lauded her “for tirelessly advocating for the audience and the programming community within public television, even when it is not politically correct . . . [and for] the singular achievement of increasing a station’s viewership every year since the digital transition, while the system has shown whole week and primetime declines.”

In another award presented during last month’s PTPA meeting in Miami Beach, Fla., Kentucky Educational Television’s Craig Cornwell was lauded for achievements in local scheduling. TRAC Media Services, which manages PTPA, cited Cornwell “for ensuring that local productions always get prime placement, for understanding a market where Best of the Joy of Painting often equals the Antiques Roadshow repeat on Saturday .

USDA grants back equipment upgrades at 10 rural pubTV stations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $3.2 million in grants to 10 pubTV operators serving rural areas, assisting with equipment upgrades that will replace aging equipment, strengthen broadcast signals, or build capacity for digital production. The USDA grants are earmarked for digital conversion and were awarded as part of a larger package of federal aid to 24  projects improving broadband access, telecommunications infrastructure and public TV’s digital broadcasts. Each of the pubTV operators have already converted their primary transmitters to digital. In some cases, the grants will help pay for upgrades of older, analog equipment, enhance  their master control operations or strengthen their digital  signals. Since the elimination of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which backed technical upgrades of both public TV and radio stations until Congress zeroed it out in 2011, the USDA funds have become increasingly important for rural pubTV stations.

Maine legislators reject proposal to zero out pubcasting aid

A committee of Maine’s legislature unanimously voted April 5 to reject Gov.  Paul LePage’s bid to eliminate funding for the state’s public broadcasting network. The bipartisan 13-member Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs agreed to keep the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s $1.7 million appropriation in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Unless the governor vetoes the budget before April 26, the spending plan will take effect with MPBN’s funding intact. The appropriation is 13 percent less than last year’s state subsidy for MBPN, but President Mark Vogelzang told an MPBN reporter that he was happy with the restoration of funds. The legislative committee also directed Maine’s government to determine how much MPBN spends on emergency broadcasting services and to survey other ways in which the network might be able to provide services to the state.

Blogger gets the hots for NPR’ers, Maine pubcaster appears on Family Feud, and more…

Despite the phrase “a face made for radio,” a blogger has started appraising crush-worthy folks in public radio. Babes Of NPR features public radio hosts, reporters and producers whose photos inspire a swoon or a snarky comment from the site’s North Carolina proprietor. Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep is “the thinking man’s David Hasselhoff.” Peter Breslow, a senior producer for Weekend Edition, is likened to actor Ted Danson. And Joe and Terry Graedon, hosts of The People’s Pharmacy, “look like they might be fun to take home from the middle-aged hippie swingers potluck.”

Babes of NPR was launched after a photo of NPR reporter Ari Shapiro popped up on the Facebook page of creator Katie Herzog. “I thought, ‘That guy is really good-looking, especially for an NPR nerd,’” says Herzog, who works for an academic press in Durham, N.C.

The blog started getting attention from people in public media.

Music that changes the day — for enough listeners

As we debate how best to program classical music on public radio, we seem often to take for granted that we face an “either/or” conundrum. We seem to assume that our music can only serve either mission or market, can only please either music lovers or music likers, can only achieve the music’s full artistic potential or build audience. I believe that a “both/and” solution to the puzzle exists at a sweet spot in the middle of these divergent pairs of broadcasting goals, a solution which surpasses mere minimal compromise. Please note that my belief is not based on any kind of argument for or against the inviolable sovereignty of classical music. This will be a radio-based manifesto, not a music-based one.