Programming in Brief: PRI launches women-focused initiative, WQXR offers Berlin concerts, and more

Public Radio International will launch a multimedia program focused on women’s empowerment with a grant of about $1.28 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Across Women’s Lives is a “journalism and engagement initiative” examining the connection between women’s empowerment and health and economic development. The program highlights personal stories of women in Africa and India and looks at women’s lives from infancy to old age. The project’s content will be featured on PRI’s global news program The World and online. Additional content includes short video documentaries and educational tools to help listeners learn more about the topics covered.

Pubcasters win four UNITY Awards for commitment to cultural diversity

Over half of this year’s RTDNA/UNITY Awards went to pubcasters, including a public TV station. WKAR-TV in East Lansing, Mich., won the award for small-market television for a documentary about racial tensions surrounding the 1975 trials of two Filipina Veterans Administration Hospital nurses. In the radio division, Seattle’s KUOW won among large-market entries with its report “Black in Seattle,” while Alabama Public Radio won the award for small-market stations with the  story “Remembering 1963,” produced as part of a civil rights radio project. Public Radio International picked up the award for network radio for its series Global Nation: Stories of a Changing America. The UNITY awards are sponsored by UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, a coalition comprising the Asian American Journalism Association, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and the Native American Journalists Association. Awardees are recognized for demonstrating an ongoing commitment to covering cultural diversity in their communities.

An option for This American Life, self-distribution dwindles among public radio producers

After This American Life parts with longtime distributor Public Radio International July 1, it could become public radio’s most widely carried show without a major distributor representing it. That’s if the show pursues that option. Program host and creator Ira Glass has hinted in interviews with the New York Times and Chicago media reporter Robert Feder that he’s considering self-distribution. But there may be good reasons that few shows have gone that route. Self-distribution poses challenges that few resource-strapped program creators are willing to take on, including handling their own billing, marketing and station relations.