NJTV will air new six-part American Songbook series this fall

New Jersey Television and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) of Newark are partnering on a new six-part cabaret music television series, American Songbook at NJPAC, to debut on NJTV and WNET this fall. The series will be produced from two live performance sessions at the center to be taped in June. Performers include Tom Wopat, Valerie Simpson, Rebecca Luker and Maude Maggart, and the duos Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap and Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. Each will perform 40-minute sets and sit for a Q&A session. NJPAC will donate proceeds of ticket sales to the Actors Fund, which assists professionals in performing arts and entertainment.

APTS recognizes Barbara Mikulksi and Greg Walden, gives innovation and advocacy awards

The Association of Public Television Stations handed out Champions of Public Broadcasting awards during its Public Media Summit in Washington, D.C., Feb 24–26, recognizing Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) and Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R). APTS also gave EDGE Awards to Twin Cities Public Television and New Jersey’s NJTV and recognized individuals with Advocacy Awards. Mikulski, who replaced recently deceased Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been an ardent defender of public broadcasting in the Senate and was a vocal defender of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program before it was eliminated in 2011. As chair of the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet, Walden has helped secure federal aid for public broadcasters to help defer costs related to spectrum legislation. As he accepted his award, he told summit attendees that increased competition from cable and digital channels has made public TV less relevant to television viewers, and he suggested that public broadcasters support cuts to government-entitlement programs in order to salvage their own funding.

Stanton joins KPCC, MPR vet honored by governor, Alaska pubradio icon retires, and more…

A former top editor of the Los Angeles Times, Russ Stanton, has joined APM’s Los Angeles station
KPCC in Pasadena, Calif., announced a major hire last week: Former Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton has joined the station as its new v.p. of content. Stanton’s arrival “is part of an aggressive effort by the nonprofit news organization to become the preeminent regional source for both broadcast and online news — with deeper, more enterprising and investigative coverage,” KPCC declared on its website. Stanton had left the newspaper last month in what was announced as a “mutual decision” with Times President Kathy Thomson. In his four years at the helm, the Times won three Pulitzer Prizes, including a prestigious Public Service award. At KPCC, Stanton will be responsible for the station’s broadcast, website and live events coverage; one of his first duties will be to select an executive editor to supervise daily radio and digital news operations.

NJN fundraising group will assist successor network affiliated with WNET

No hard feelings in evidence, the New Jersey Network’s nonprofit fundraising group said last week it will help raise production money for NJTV, NJN’s successor operated by an affiliate of New York’s WNET. “They will take the lead with underwriting — I’m happy to let them keep doing that,” says Neal Shapiro, president of WNET and chair of NJTV, who adds that there may be occasions when NJTV and WNET’s New York stations might sell underwriting together. Meanwhile, NJTV’s new staff, with help from WNET’s, will handle member/viewer fundraising. Indeed, WNET’s staff will provide many services to the new operation, enabling NJTV to operate with about 20 staffers in New Jersey, compared with NJN’s staff of about 130. One of NJTV’s first hirings will also unite the former NJN Foundation with the new operators of the network.