The Best of @PubMediaFans — Edition #10

The week’s news in public media… through Twitter.

Roly Ortega
Sep 11, 2017 · 9 min read

Yes, we do have some public media news to tell you about this week. However, Irma has really thrown everyone off guard within public media, especially those within the state of Florida and the public media stations that had to cover the event.

Nonetheless, we serve the entire country with this newsletter and not just a specific region, so we have to move forward and here are this week’s newsletter. And yes, we’ve done ten of these now so enjoy it.


Frontline, the award-winning and acclaimed PBS investigative and documentary news series, is expanding to audio with a brand new podcast. It will be called The Frontline Dispatch, in production with the usual TV distributors PBS and WGBH in Boston as well as podcast host, Public Radio Exchange (PRX). It begins on Thursday, September 14th. (DISCLAIMER: Yes, yours truly is giving this new podcast a try and has subscribed to it.)

The Frontline Dispatch is coming to a podcast feed and service near you.

Radio Ambulante is NPR’s first-ever podcast in Spanish and continues to only-air in Spanish. It’s back for another new season and it will begin on Tuesday, September 12th with 30 new episodes every single Tuesday from there on out.

Yours truly does speak Spanish so a show like this had to be spoken in Spanish. (Translation: Radio Ambulante will release 30 new episodes, starting the 12th of September.)

Sewing with Nancy from Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) is ending after a 36-year run thanks to health issues from host Nancy Zieman that has forced her to retire.

Sewing with Nancy is ending after 36 years. Unfortunately, health issues forced Nancy Zieman to retire.

A new Rocky Mountain news initative is being developed to share and showcase stories across the Rocky Mountain region. Leading the charge will be 91.5 KUNC in Boulder, Co. with other partner stations being 91.5 KBSX (Boise State Public Radio) in Boise, 91.5 KRCC in Colorado Springs, 90.1 KUER in Salt Lake City, Wyoming Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio which serves Billings, Bozeman, Helena and other portions of Montana.

A new Rocky Mountain news initative is starting soon with 91.5 KUNC in Boulder, Co. leading the pack.

As Vermont Public Radio (VPR) turned 40 this year, the station sat down with President and CEO Robin Turnau on their Vermont Edition program on Thursday to talk about VPR’s history and to learn more about the network and what they do. Ms. Turnau is stepping down from her position and from VPR in March after an illustrious 30 years with the network, the last 8 as President and CEO.

Robin Turnau was a guest on Vermont Edition to take questions and learn more about VPR’s history and operations.

To listen to the full half-hour interview, check out on the link below:

Embedded from NPR is coming back on Thursday, October 5th with a new season with new episodes, this time focusing on President Donald Trump and his associates in this administration. The podcast is hosted by the wonderful Kelly McEvers, who also hosts NPR’s All Things Considered.

Embedded if coming back. If you a fan of this podcast, Kelly McEvers would more likely tell you to tune in October 5th.

On Thursday, WUCF-TV 24 in Orlando cut away from World programming on its 24.5 subchannel at 1:00 p.m. and temporarily replaced it with a 24/7 simulcast feed of The Florida Channel. The station says in one of their own tweets that they’ll keep the temporary simulcast on 24.5 until Hurricane Irma has passed away from Central Florida.

Safety comes first which is why The Florida Channel came on 24.5, temporarily replacing World.

The Senate Approriations Committee has proposed for this upcoming fiscal year to give the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) the full $445 million funding plus an addition $20 million to restore the public media’s interconnection system which makes it easer for TV and radio stations to distribute public TV and radio programs across the country within one another.

If everything goes through, the Senate has saved public broadcasting. Its offering its full support towards CPB and bring back the Interconnection system.

This was an ugly fight but at least its over. The dispute between RRKidz, Inc. and WNED-TV 17 in Buffalo over the Reading Rainbow name and trademarks is over and has been settled. As a result, RRKidz, Inc. can no longer use the Reading Rainbow name and LeVar Burton, the former host of the show, can no longer say “But you don’t have to take my word for it,” one of the show’s most well-known catchphrases, because he was using it for his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads. Not only that, the popular PBS program which began by WNED in 1983, will no longer be rebooted as a possible new series on Netflix.

The Reading Rainbow dispute was ugly but at least it finally came to a peaceful conclusion.

KCSM-TV Channel 60 has been under some financial trouble for the past few years but it looks like they’re about to be saved by another public broadcaster in the market. San Mateo Community College District is selling the station to Rural California Broadcasting Corporation, which owns KRCB-TV Channel 22 and 91.1 KRCB-FM, for $12 million dollars. This will allow KRCB to expand much more into the San Francisco Bay Area plus allow KCSM to possibly re-affiliate with PBS for the first time since the station took off the PBS affiliation in 2009. However, 91.1 KCSM in San Mateo remains unaffected by the sale, which means it will continue to air Jazz music and remain owned by the college district.

KRCB will soon expand its reach in the San Fran Bay Area by buying KCSM-TV 60.

Congrats are in order for Twin Cities PBS (KTCA 2 in St. Paul — Minneapolis) as they’ve been nominated 22 times by the 2017 Upper Midwest Emmy Awards.

A whopping 22 Emmy nominations for Twin Cities PBS. They deserve much congrats!

As of Sunday, September 10th, many public TV and radio stations across the state of Florida have interruputed their regular program schedules in favor of expanded coverage on Hurricane Irma. The radio stations are using FPREN: Florida Public Radio Emergency Network for extended coverage while local stations are using cut-ins for local coverage. One example is 88.9 WFSU-FM in Tallahassee and 89.1 WFSW in Panama City which, as of Sunday, was on around-the-clock coverage mode. Another example is 89.1 WUFT-FM in Gainesville which was also on the same situation and WUFT-TV 5 was simulcasting the University of Florida’s 24-hour local weather channel, WRUF Channel 10 / Cable 6, while also providing local news updates at times. Other stations also affected by Irma’s path include the following:

  • WFSU-TV 11 in Tallahassee and WFSG 56 in Panama City
88.9 WFSU-FM in Tallahassee is in extended coverage mode, just like many other public media stations in Florida.

Another station affected is WPBT Channel 2 in Miami, which as of Sunday, was simulcasting WFOR Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate in Miami to provide continuing coverage of Irma.

WPBT Channel 2 is not taking any chances. They’re simulcasting WFOR Channel 4 for continuing coverage of Irma.

11 is the number of how much primetime Emmy nomination awards PBS received this year. That is pretty good considering its a public television network.

11 nominations for PBS from this year’s primetime Emmys. Pretty neat.

Programming Changes:

KOSU serves NPR programming for both Oklahoma City at 91.7 FM and Tulsa at 107.5 FM. They are expected to receive some major programming changes which will include new programs and is to start Monday, October 2nd. There are too many to mention so check out the tweet below for more details.

KOSU is expected to receive new programs on its schedule, including Planet Money, How I Built This and even Ask Me Another.

89.1 WUFT-FM in my new home market of Gainesville in North Central Florida will soon have more business news on its schedule with the addition of the half-hour business news program Marketplace from American Public Media (APM). Starting Monday, September 11th, the program will be heard at 6:00 p.m. weeknights, even though due to the threat of Hurricane Irma, the debut may be pushed back to later in the week.

Marketplace will soon take over WUFT’s airwaves. However, with Hurricane Irma soon affecting Gainesville, the debut of the program may be pushed back from its original Monday scheduled debut.

If your unaware, NPR is taking some of its shows to the airwaves, originally starting off as podcasts. First off, Hidden Brain with Shankar Vedantam is coming in October with an intial list of affiliates:

  • 91.7 KALW / San Francisco
Hidden Brain is soon coming to local public radio stations across the country.

Another program soon to be carried by NPR member stations is It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders. Here’s that initial list:

  • AM 580 WILL / Urbana
One of the initial stations carrying the new program is WILL Public Media in Illinois. They WILL carry it (get it?).

In fact, that program will just be a handful of programming changes that will take place at VPR starting in October. It’s Been A Minute will air on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. replacing Car Talk. The New Yorker Radio Hour joins Sundays at 11:00 a.m., replacing Reveal which moves to Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. On Mondays-Thursdays, Here and NOW is expanding to two hours from 1:00–3:00 p.m. but will remain just an hour on Fridays from 1:00–2:00 p.m. as Science Friday continues to air at 2:00 p.m.

NEXT from the New England News Collaborative (NENC) is adding an additional rebroadcast at 9:00 p.m. Thursdays to replace A Way With Words. New Yorker Radio will also be rebroadcasting at 10:00 p.m. Tuesdays, replacing WNYC StudiosSnap Judgement.

A hefty of programming changes are taking place at Vermont Public Radio in October.

Speaking of NEXT, the program is moving to a new timeslot on New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR). The program is now on Fridays at 3:00 p.m.

NEXT has a new timeslot: 3:00 p.m. Fridays on NHPR.

There are also many programming changes coming to 88.5 KNKX-FM in Tacoma as well and its coming in October too. There are too much to detail now so check out this tweet below for more information.

A lot of programming changes are coming to 88.5 KNKX-FM in October, a year after it became KNKX.

If not, then check out this link below:

Last minute programming changes have taken place at Vermont Public Radio (VPR) on Sunday. After airing All Things Considered as normal at 5:00 p.m., it went to special NPR News coverage of Hurricane Irma from 6:00–9:00 p.m. Many similar stations have done the same, possibly outside of Florida.

VPR is just one of plenty outside of Florida changing its schedules due to Irma.

Technical Problems:

West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB) has once again suffered technical problems. It’s TV and FM stations in Beckley (WSWP-TV 9 and 91.7 WVBY) as well as its TV station in Huntington (WVPB-TV 33) went off-air for six hours on Monday. It was a power outage but after that long while, they did come back up and running.

Yet another technical problem for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
This one lasted a while but at least it came back on the air the same day.

90.7 WMFE in Orlando went off-air for about 45 minutes (not 30 as originally thought) at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday as they finished work on its brand new antenna and get it up and running. As of now, WMFE is broadcasting in a brand new antenna and the HD2 Classical service has returned to the air-waves and this has expanded its coverage area to the station.

90.7 WMFE in Orlando went off temporaily to finish working on the brand new antenna.
90.7 WMFE in Orlando is back on-air with a brand new antenna that should provide more coverage area for the station. HD2 Classical returned to the airwaves as well.

South Carolina Public Radio (SCPR) had yet another technical problem. This time, its news/talk stations had an interruption of its feed from NPR. The news/classical service was broadcast on those stations until the news/talk service was able to resume.

More problems lining up for South Carolina Public Radio. News/Classical took over until News/Talk was restored.

As I’ve said, the news/talk stations came back up and running and all is normal again at SCPR.

Didn’t I tell you? I told you. All is all again, working normally at SCPR.

Rochester’s NPR News station, AM 1370 WXXI, briefly went off-air on Wednesday. No word as to why but it did come back on air shortly after it went off and Marketplace was heard when it did come back to the airwaves. The brief outage lasted just 7 minutes.

Tehnical problems forced AM 1370 WXXI to go off-air for a little while until it came back with Marketplace.

For about two hours on very early Thursday morning, WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago went off air but its just due to transmitter maintenace. It did come back on-air after those two hours.

WTTW went off-air for two hours but for scheduled maintenance. It did come back on-air after those two hours.

90.3 WBHM in Birmingham experienced some technical problems as well, but with its website and its internet stream this week. We’ve yet to receive any word from Twitter but the streams are back up and running.

90.3 WBHM suffered some problems with listening online on Thursday. They are back up and running.

91.3 WLRN-FM in Miami has been hit hard during Irma. So much so that their over-the-air signal has been on and off all day. However, they do recommend listeners to listen online at or through the WLRN, Florida Storms or NPR One apps.

There are still ways to listen to 91.3 WLRN, even if the radio signal is out.


Weather World from WPSU has turned 34 on Tuesday and is one of the longest-running public TV weather programs in the country and is one of a few left as well alongside Alaska Weather from Alaska Public Media.

Weather World turned 34 this week and doesn’t look a day over 20.

A busy week of this week’s news in public media indeed and that’s due to Irma and its potential impacts across Florida. If you miss anything, please let us know by emailing to me — as well as replying or D.M. us on Twitter @PubMediaFans. Have a great week and stay safe to those in Florida who are affected by Hurricane Irma.

Public Media Fans

Supporting PBS, APT and APTS (TV), NPR, PRI, APM and PRX (Radio). Also supporting Ind. public TV and Radio stations. | We’re the same folks as @PubMediaFans on Twitter.

Roly Ortega

Written by

Television news junkie who likes to talk about local media as well as sports, Family Guy and other stuff.

Public Media Fans

Supporting PBS, APT and APTS (TV), NPR, PRI, APM and PRX (Radio). Also supporting Ind. public TV and Radio stations. | We’re the same folks as @PubMediaFans on Twitter.

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