Infinite Guest, a new podcast network from American Public Media, brings together feeds of broadcast programs, existing podcasts and new shows in an effort to build a digital following for audio content. Headed by Program Director Steve Nelson, Infinite Guest debuted Wednesday with 12 shows, six of them new. The podcasts are headlined by a mix of established pubmedia talent and outside personalities. “We really wanted to be able to have a way to work with people who already have a great fan base, to develop their voices in a new way,” Nelson said. “So we went out and found some people we really think are talented and great and wanted to do something different.”
Three of the network’s shows are existing APM programs Wits, The Dinner Party Download and The Splendid Table, and another is MPR Classical’s Top Score, a program devoted to video game scores.
A joint effort among PBS and five member stations has created a more efficient way for stations to offer online streams of British imports such as Doctor Who and Death in Paradise while honoring BBC restrictions that limit web streaming. The BBC’s agreement for streaming programs besides Masterpiece limits access to viewers within a station’s market. But COVE, PBS’s online video platform, does not allow for filtering by location, which hampered stations’ ability to offer BBC content. Those restrictions made for an “unmanageable” situation, said John Decker, director of programming at KPBS in San Diego. But stations are now using a new web page created by PBS that allows for location-based filtering, and five stations have agreed to handle uploading of BBC content to ensure quality and prevent duplicative uploading.
A documentary series produced by Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, Calif., focuses solely on issues in the station’s home state yet has attracted attention from NPR and a national audience by creating digital content to accompany hourlong radio documentaries. Launched in 2011, The View From Here comprises two in-depth multimedia documentaries a year. Though the focus is local, the show’s producers choose topics that often transcend California’s borders, such as high-school dropout rates and autism among adults. The most recent documentary, “Who Cares,” examined the physical and emotional toll of caring for parents, spouses and children with disabilities. In addition to a radio documentary, “Who Cares” included photos, videos and a blog, Caregivers Speak, which collects stories about family caregivers.
NPR’s long-awaited mobile app NPR One launched yesterday, allowing iPhone and Android users to tune into a stream of curated and algorithm-powered newscasts, segments, podcasts and local content. After a brief introduction from NPR host Guy Raz, NPR One prompts users to log in using Google, Facebook or NPR accounts. The app allows users to choose a local station, search for stories and programs and donate via voice-activated prompts. NPR is delaying a marketing push for the app until the fall, after station pledge drives, but eager users are already downloading NPR One and giving it a test run. At Nieman Lab, news analyst Ken Doctor discussed NPR’s aim to appeal to younger audiences and the risk NPR One might pose to stations.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — You have to love the irony. The first scripted narrative series from PBS Digital Studios is a modern update of Frankenstein, the science-fiction classic about creating new life. Just as in Mary Shelley’s timeless Gothic tale, PBS Digital Studios is using the latest in science and technology in its experiments to breathe new life into PBS programming. PBS Digital Studios, launched in March 2012, will premiere Frankenstein M.D. Aug.
Three of the five final episodes in the Hercule Poirot detective series, a longtime favorite on Masterpiece Mystery!, will debut in the U.S. next month as an on-demand series available exclusively through online British content distributor Acorn TV. Masterpiece’s Mystery strand will present the broadcast debut of two detective stories, The Big Four and Deadman’s Folly, July 27 and Aug. 3, respectively. British drama fans who want to catch the series finale will have to sign up for Acorn TV, the subscription-based streaming service specializing in British drama. The distributor will provide the episodes via its website and Roku channel. RLJ Entertainment, which owns Acorn Media Group and Acorn TV, also controls a majority share in Agatha Christie Ltd., the company that manages Christie’s literary works.
DENVER — The Public Media Platform is moving into the next phase of its CPB grant, shifting its focus to developing a sustainable business plan and more ways for public media stations to access the content. PMP Executive Director Kristin Calhoun announced the project’s next phase July 9 during the “Digital Day” conference leading up to the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Denver. CPB’s five-year, $8 million grant to PMP provided $6 million for the nearly completed build-out and $2 million for the “operational phase,” which winds down on an incremental basis through 2016, according to Michael Levy, CPB executive v.p. of public affairs. The PMP is an application programming interface (API) that provides easy access to both public radio and public television digital content. Public media’s top distributors — NPR, PBS, Public Radio International, American Public Media and Public Radio Exchange — have guided its build-out phase as project partners; they will continue their support, Calhoun said.
DENVER — Three public media projects aimed at developing new audiences, revenue and content will each receive $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The grants to the investigative series Frontline, Boston’s WBUR and the Public Media Co. were announced Thursday morning at a Knight breakfast that’s kicking off a CEO symposium sponsored by the Contributor Development Partnership. The event is running concurrent with the Public Media Development & Marketing Conference. “In this day and age we’re competing with Game of Thrones, Candy Crush and Reddit,” said John Bracken, director of journalism and media innovation for Knight, in announcing the support.
Frontline, public television’s investigative news showcase, announced two major donations Wednesday, including the largest grant from individuals in its 30-year history. Most of the $5 million from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler, longtime supporters of producing station WGBH, will create a reporting endowment for the program to ensure the series’ long-term sustainability. The remaining $1.5 million will support existing programming and digital efforts over four years. Meanwhile, a two-year, $800,000 gift from the Ford Foundation will back a new cross-platform Enterprise Journalism Group. The funds will pay for initial recruits for the in-house group of digital journalists and producers.
The Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University shuttered nonprofit news website AxisPhilly June 13 after two years of reporting that earned national recognition but failed to meet the school’s expectations for local impact. Yet CPIJ, which is operated by Temple’s School of Media and Communications, is embarking on another digital news venture. It is helping to launch Brother.ly, a Philadelphia-focused news startup headed by Jim Brady, former editor-in-chief of Digital First Media. CPIJ launched AxisPhilly in 2012 with a two-year, $2.4 million grant from the William Penn Foundation. The site’s first director, Neil Budde, left after the first year as CPIJ looked to restructure the site to make it self-sustaining.
In an effort to position itself as a national brand in public radio, New York’s WNYC is launching an ad campaign likening its programs’ listeners to Netflix-style binge watchers. The Smartbinge campaign will consist of targeted digital ad buys and a landing page on WNYC.org to encourage listeners from around the country to listen to substantial amounts of WNYC programming. Other elements include Twitter hashtags, geotargeted Facebook ads, paid search results and sponsored blog posts. WNYC is spending around $200,000 on the campaign, working with creative and public-relations teams Cataldi Public Relations and Eyeballs. As WNYC increases digital offerings with streams and a mobile app, it has its sights set on an audience beyond New York.