Public Broadcasting

The History and future of hyper-local radio

Christine Dunbar-Hester, The Atlantic

Some day soon, Congress may pass the Local Community Radio Act, a piece of legislation that will allow a couple thousand new low-power FM radio stations to go on the air.

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Turmoil at radio KDNA, La Voz del Campesino


Turmoil at Spanish-language radio station KDNA continues long after the end of an employee strike, with employees staging a sit-in Wednesday night that carried into Thursday.

Protesting and picket signs, led by teamsters, fired KDNA employees and other members of the local Hispanic community. It's an all too familiar site in Granger.

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NPR Fires a Top Black Manager

Richard Prince, Journal-isms

Less than 24 hours after hosting the National Association of Black Journalists at its headquarters in Washington, National Public Radio let go the black journalist in charge of its newscasts, Greg Peppers, one of two black men in newsroom management at the network.

Peppers, who has been with NPR since the 1980s, was escorted out of the building Friday, colleagues said. He was executive producer of NPR's newscast unit.

"We don't comment on [an] employee's reasons for departure or any other personnel matters," spokeswoman Anna Christopher told Journal-isms.

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Community radio at the crossroads: the significance of the KPFA board

Joe Wanzala, Shahram Aghamir, Tracy Rosenberg and Anthony Fest, Berkeley Daily Planet

KPFA listeners know that Local Station Board elections tend to be acrimonious. What many listeners might not realize is that the controversy of the LSB elections actually reflects a historical issue about the nature of community radio itself. The four of us founded the Independents for Community Radio affinity group of LSB candidates with the goal of ensuring that KPFA remains rooted in the communities it serves. In October 2008, nearly 90 KPFA staff members issued a statement articulating their goals for leadership at the station. They called for management committed to fulfilling the historic Transformation Proposal made during the 1999 KPFA Lockout. They also called for leaders who support the unpaid staff, maintain a respectful and collaborative approach to station operations, and understand that KPFA should include community representatives on its decision making bodies. These aspirations remain largely unfulfilled or have been undermined by the current management and its Concerned Listener allies.

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Will Genachowski help Obama find a heart, brain and courage to face Glenn Beck and his army of flying monkeys flinging poo?

Harold, Tales from the Sausage Factory

There are several rather astounding things about the current campaign of Glenn Beck against various Administration appointees. Most astounding, however, has been the Obama Administration reaction to date: quick capitulation in the face of relatively small pressure. Indeed, one of the reasons there was so little initial defense of Van Jones in progressive circles was because most of us were unaware of the attack until the Van Jone's “resignation.” As compared to previous campaigns in the Clinton years or Bush years to oust various officials, pressure to fire Van Jones had not even approached noticeable, let alone “scary.” Indeed, I am sufficiently cynical wrt the DLC/Rahm Emmanuel faction of the Ds that I cannot help but wonder if the Beck-led anti-Jones campaign was merely a convenient excuse for pushing out a smart and effective progressive.

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What’s the best use, if any, for KXOT in Seattle/Tacoma?

Karen Everhart, Current

Seattle news/talk station KUOW is reevaluating its plans for an FM signal it’s been leasing in Tacoma, Wash., after a feasibility study revealed that prospective donors weren’t inclined to back a capital campaign to buy the station.

KUOW began broadcasting its alternative news stream three years ago on KXOT, the 91.7 FM frequency held by Boulder-based Public Radio Capital. Under its five-year operating agreement, the Seattle outlet has until next July to exercise its option to buy the channel.

The study found foundation heads and other potential backers were confused about the proposed signal purchase, according to Wayne Roth, g.m. “It could be that we did not make the case to their satisfaction or that the case can’t be made,” he said. “The economic climate was also a big factor.”

Read the full story at the link below.

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NPR's Argo Project plans to increase 'vertical' news production

Karen Everhart, Current Online

Looking to advance public radio’s standing as an online provider of news, NPR will try ramping up 14 stations’ local reporting capacity through a project that creates and distributes web-original content in specialized subject areas that the stations want to develop.

The Argo Project, as the network calls it, will help the stations expand coverage by creating “content verticals,” a new-media term for an ongoing online offering devoted to a particular subject.

Think of Planet Money — the feature that persistently examines the mysteries of the global economic meltdown. Imagine how Boston’s WBUR could apply that reporting depth and doggedness to health-care reform stories on its CommonHealth blog, or what Triple A pioneer WXPN could do on the Philadelphia music scene, or how Oregon Public Broadcasting could clarify environmental policy.

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Why NPR is the future of mainstream media

Josh Catone, Mashable

In March of this year, National Public Radio (NPR) revealed that by the end of 2008, 23.6 million people were tuning into its broadcasts each week. In fact, NPR’s ratings have increased steadily since 2000, and they’ve managed to hold on to much of their 2008 election coverage listenership bump (with over 26 million people tuning in each week so far in 2009), unlike many of their mainstream media counterparts.

Compared to cable news, where most networks are shedding viewers, and newspapers, where circulation continues to plummet, NPR is starting to look like they have the future of news all figured out. Or at least, they appear to doing a lot better at it than the rest of the traditional media.

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CPB hires Lightpath evangelist to promote diversity, innovation

Current Online

Joaquín Alvarado, advocate for the National Public Lightpath fiber optic network for public media, will join CPB June 30 as senior v.p. for diversity and innovation. With PBS and NPR, CPB endorsed the Lightpath project for federal stimulus spending in January, and at last month’s IMA Public Media Conference, Alvarado urged involvement in the expansion of fast Internet broadband service. (He describes the Lightpath idea in this video.) Alvarado is founding director of the Institute for Next-Generation Internet at San Francisco State University and a board member of the Bay Area Video Coalition and Latino Public Broadcasting. Earlier in the decade, Alvarado worked on films, as cinematographer and associate producer on Alcatraz Avenue (2000) and writer and director on The Silent Cross (2003), and he has written scholarly articles on ethnic diversity in media.

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Reid leaves Frontline after disagreement over healthcare policy program

Dru Sefton, Current nline

Following a very public dustup, Frontline and correspondent T.R. Reid have parted ways. The split leaves series producers and freelance on-air correspondents examining their complex and sometimes contentious relationship.

Which of them can claim ownership of a documentary — the producer who crafts the piece or the journalist whose face and voice make the personal connection to viewers?

In the case of Frontline’s “Sick Around America,” which aired March 31, it’s a sticky issue.

Reid expected the film to be a sequel to his April 2008 Frontline, “Sick Around the World,” which followed the former Washington Post reporter around the globe as he showed how well health-care systems worked in other developed countries, and found that some of the best were single-payer systems like Britain’s and Canada’s.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey