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NPR’s ‘Snap Judgment’ Inks TV Deal With Kapital Entertainment

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 7:18am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

snapjudgementNPR hourlong radio program Snap Judgment, created, hosted and executive produced by Glynn Washington and executive produced by Mark Ristich, has signed a first-look deal with Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment to explore a TV series based on the the stories featured on the radio show. Snap Judgment, which is broadcast in the top ten major metropolitan markets, presents personal stories using raw, musical kapitalnarrative to create storytelling with a beat. (You can listen to an episode below.) Launched in 2010, the radio show has nearly 1 million listeners tuning in weekly and more than 1 million monthly downloads. Snap Judgment, repped by CAA and attorney Jonathan Gardner, also tours the country with a live stage show.

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NPR Taps Jarl Mohn To Be CEO

By | Friday May 9, 2014 @ 7:38am PDT

NPR logoJarl Mohn is a surprise choice to run an institution largely known for news — but well known in media as a guy who likes to shake things up. That includes his name: he changed it years ago when he was already well known as Lee Masters. The one time NYC disc jockey became an exec at MTV and VH1 when they were considered cutting edge. He later took leadership roles at Liberty Digital and E! Entertainment Television, served on the boards of CNET, XM Satellite Radio, and E.W. Scripps and was chairman of Southern California Public Radio. ”This is not a job for me,” he says. “It is a mission. I love public radio and NPR. It is a national treasure and more important now than ever.”

But NPR has had a hard time keeping CEOs. In August Gary Knell left after 21 months on the job to run National Geographic Society. He succeeded Vivian Schiller who was forced to resign over a string of controversies. In September NPR hoped to cut its staff by 10% by offering staffers a voluntary buyout. It was part of a two-year plan to eliminate an operating cash deficit expected to hit $6.1M.

Here’s today’s release about Mohn:  Read More »

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Famed Announcer Carl Kasell To Retire From NPR’s ‘Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me’

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 11:47am PST

It’s hard to imagine NPR without the distinctive baritone voice of Carl Kasell. Carl KasselBut we’ll soon have to: The public radio service says that this spring he will retire from his duties as the Official Judge and Scorekeeper — and straight man — for the wickedly funny weekly game show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!. He will become the WaitWaitshow’s Scorekeeper Emeritus making occasional appearances while continuing to record custom voicemail greetings for the show’s winners. Kasell took the Wait Wait job in 1998, a big change of image for a broadcaster who has spent more than five decades in the business and was best known for his 30 years as a newscaster for NPR’s Morning Edition. “He was the voice people woke up to,” VP Programming Eric Nuzum says. “They opened their eyes, and for 30 years, Carl Kasell was there, reassuring them the world was still in one piece.” Kasell also contributed to daily newsmagazine Morning Edition from its inception in 1979 to 2009. In addition to his NPR work, Kasell has been the voice of the Kennedy Center Honors broadcasts. But he calls his tenure with the game show “my favorite time at NPR….I can honestly say I am the luckiest man around to be able to have worked at a job I love for so many years.” NPR is inviting fans to Read More »

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NPR Seeks To Cut Staff By 10% As It Faces Operating Deficit

By | Friday September 13, 2013 @ 11:58am PDT

The company is offering staffers a voluntary buyout as part of a new two-year plan to eliminate an operating cash deficit now expected to hit $6.1M next year it said today. NPR hopes to reduce about 10% of its roughly 840 employees as it approaches 2014 with expenses of $183M and operating and investment revenues of $178.1M. The radio programmer tucked the news into an announcement today that directors named their finance committee chair Paul Haaga to be the acting CEO beginning at the end of this month, replacing Gary Knell who’s leaving to run the National Geographic Society. A committee on NPR’s board will continue to look for a permanent CEO. While on the subject: The Washington Post reports that a new tax filing shows NPR paid former CEO Vivian Schiller $532,212 in severance, $99,671 in salary, and a $5,712 bonus for her 26-month stint which ended in early 2011 after two embarrassing events. She was in charge in late 2010 when Juan Williams was fired after he said on Fox News that he felt anxious when he saw travelers on an airplane wearing “Muslim garb.” Then, in early 2011, conservative activist James O’Keefe released a secret recording showing NPR representatives making politically inflammatory comments in what they thought was a meeting with potential donors who said they had links to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Post notes that NPR has … Read More »

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NPR CEO Gary Knell Exits To Become CEO & President Of National Geographic Society; John Fahey Stays As NGS Board Chairman

By | Monday August 19, 2013 @ 10:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The changeover at the National Geographic Society and NPR continue. NPR CEO Gary Knell today was announced as president and CEO of Nat Geo Society, leaving NPR after 21 months on the job. At NGS, Knell replaces John M. Fahey, who had been CEO since 1998, adding a chairman title in 2011. Fahey will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Knell will transition to the new position in the fall. Fahey has been shaking up the upper ranks at the 124-year-old nonprofit scientific and educational institution over the past couple of years in an effort to bring it faster into the digital age as well as modernize its TV operations and expand production capabilities. NGS president Tim Kelly left at the end of last year, while Brooke Runnette replaced Maryanne Culpepper as president of National Geographic Television. Meanwhile, Knell’s departure from NPR extends the revolving door at the top of the embattled public radio network. His replacement is believed to be the seventh permanent or acting NPR CEO in just over seven years. Knell succeeded Vivian Schiller who was forced to resign over a string of controversies. Before joining NPR, he spent 22 years at Sesame Workshop, including a 12-year tenure as CEO.

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A Director’s Cut: How To Get A Hollywood Greenlight

By | Wednesday November 14, 2012 @ 10:11pm PST

Joshua Marston wrote and directed 2004′s feature Maria Full Of Grace and more recently has helmed episodes of CBS’ The Good Wife and HBO’s The Newsroom. He also gets credit for this spot-on flow chart posted on National Public Radio’s Planet Money blog this week. Check out his simple 29-step plan that must have been one heck of a cathartic experience to put together (Note: Marston’s most recent feature is this year’s The Forgiveness Of Blood, shot in … Albania):

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NPR’s ‘Car Talk’ Shifts Gears To Syndication As ‘Click And Clack’ Retire

By | Friday June 8, 2012 @ 9:08am PDT

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, who’ve mixed humor with practical advice for car owners, have decided to park NPR’s most popular show. Public Radio will use clips to piece together new offerings for syndication. As you might expect, Click and Clack — as they call themselves — want to leave with a laugh. Here’s their release:

June 8, 2012; Our Fair City – Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, the famous comedian mechanics who host NPR’s Car Talk, told their listeners this afternoon that as of this fall, they’ll no longer record new programs, but that the weekly call-in series will continue to be distributed by NPR drawing on material from their 25 years of show archives. The note from the Magliozzis to their listeners is in full at

“My brother has always been ‘work-averse,’” says Ray, 63. “Now, apparently, even the one hour a week is killing him!”

“It’s brutal!” adds Tom, 74.

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UPDATE: Google Says Gmail Service Returning

By | Tuesday April 17, 2012 @ 10:43am PDT

Gmail Hollywood Shut DownUPDATE, 10:43 AM: After saying that the problem only hit 2% of Gmail users, Google just put up the following on their Apps Status page: “Google Mail service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change.”
PREVIOUS, 10 AM: Google’s much-used email application went down today, leaving thousands if not millions of users unable to access their Gmail accounts. “We’re sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable,” read an announcement on the sign-in page. “We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes.” (At 9:42 AM PT, Google posted the following on their Apps Status page: “We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly.”) For the digitially pumped up media and entertainment industry, “inconvenience” was an understatement. Not that it prevented them from shifting to another platform and telling anyone and everyone: Within minutes Twitter was buzzing. and NPR’s Fresh Air tweeted at around 9:35 AM PST, “How do I fix this. (I use gmail for work.)” They were not alone. One production executive told me not only was her Gmail down but it was now telling her her username and password were incorrect — so she couldn’t even sign on to a service that wasn’t working anyway. “I’m trying to find … Read More »

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Public Broadcasters Can Accept Political Ads Court Says

By | Thursday April 12, 2012 @ 3:23pm PDT

Some PBS and NPR stations may be in for an election year bonanza if today’s ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco stands. Justices overturned part of a statute that bars federally funded public broadcasters from accepting political and issue ads; they upheld the ban on commercials for goods and services from for-profit entities. The law was designed to keep public broadcasters from feeling financial pressures to reach a mass audience, which could result in less public service programming including educational shows for kids. But the court said that “neither logic nor evidence” show that stations would abandon their public service mission in order to score issue and political ads. Lawmakers’ decision to let stations accept ads from non-profits was “fatal” to the case that the FCC made to defend the law. “That is the kind of picking-and-choosing among different types of speech that Congress may not do” under the First Amendment without proof that it’s needed to serve a “substantial interest,” the court said. Read More »

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NPR Nabs Edith Chapin From CNN To Lead Overseas News Coverage

By | Wednesday March 21, 2012 @ 7:26am PDT

March 21, 2012; Washington D.C. – NPR News has hired longtime CNN vice president and bureau chief Edith Chapin to lead its international coverage. She’ll become Senior Foreign Editor on May 14. At NPR, Chapin will manage one of the industry’s most robust foreign news operations, overseeing the strategic direction and daily work of the Foreign Desk and its correspondents based in 17 bureaus around the world as well as a team of editors and reporters here in Washington.

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NPR Makes Sesame Workshop’s Gary Knell New Boss

By | Sunday October 2, 2011 @ 4:35pm PDT

NPR on its blog today confirmed that Sesame Workshop president and CEO Gary Knell has been tapped as president and CEO of National Public Radio, after the news broke on the network’s Weekend All Things Considered show. He will take over Dec. 1 and fill the spot that was vacated when former CEO Vivian Schiller departed following a couple of high-profile dust-ups: one when an NPR exec was caught on a hidden camera calling the Tea Party “racist” as well as Schiller’s part in the dismissal of NPR and Fox News commentator Juan Williams over his comments about being uncomfortable seeing people in Musilm dress on airplanes. NPR also has come under fire from some in Congress who are looking to cut the public radio network’s funding. From today’s announcement about Knell: Read More »

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NPR CEO Resigns Over Hidden-Camera Gate

By | Wednesday March 9, 2011 @ 7:14am PST
Nellie Andreeva

NPR is embroiled in yet another scandal as pressure from conservatives mounts to de-fund the public radio broadcaster. NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned this morning as a fallout of conservative activist James O’Keefe posting a hidden-camera video of senior NPR executive Tom Schiller (no relation) bashing the tea party movement as “racist” and “xenophobic” and saying that NPR would be better off without federal funding. (Tom Schiller resigned after his statements were made public. On Wednesday, he also pulled out of what was to be his next job, at the nonprofit Aspen Institute, citing the controversy.)

Last year, Vivian Schiller came under fire for the dismissal of longtime analyst Juan Williams over his comments on Fox News Channel that he feels uncomfortable when he sees people in Muslim garb on planes.

“The Board accepted (Schiller’s) resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years,” board chairman Dave Edwards said in a statement. “I recognize the magnitude of this news and that it comes on top of what has been a traumatic period for NPR and the larger public radio community.”

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NPR Exec Who Fired Juan Williams Resigns

By | Thursday January 6, 2011 @ 11:55am PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: On Fox News’ America Live, Juan Williams reacted to the resignation of NPR’s Ellen Weiss, the executive who fired him, and discussed the future of NPR. He didn’t have many nice things to say (video below):
Watch the latest video at

PREVIOUS: The NPR Board of Directors today released the findings of its review into the circumstances leading to  the October firing of news analyst Juan Williams over remarks about Muslims he had made on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. (Williams has since signed a new deal with Fox News.) The board recommends new “internal procedures concerning personnel and on air-talent decisions” and “appropriate disciplinary action with respect to certain management employees involved in the termination.” But here is the most interesting part:

- Williams’ contract was terminated in accordance with its terms.  The contract gave both parties the right to terminate on 30 days’ notice for any reason.  The facts gathered during the review revealed that the termination was not the result of special interest group or donor pressure.  However, because of concerns regarding the speed and handling of the termination process, the Board additionally recommended that certain actions be taken with regard to management involved in Williams’ contract termination.

- The Board has expressed confidence in Vivian Schiller’s leadership going forward.  She accepted responsibility as CEO and cooperated fully with the review process.  The Board, however, expressed concern over her role in the termination process and has voted that she will not receive a 2010

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Fox News Gives Axed NPR Analyst Juan Williams New Deal, Expanded Role

By | Thursday October 21, 2010 @ 3:10pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

As they say, when one door closes, another opens. A day after NPR terminated news analyst Juan Williams over remarks about muslims he made on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor on Monday, Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said the news channel has signed a new multi-year deal with Williams who will now have an expanded on-air role. First off, Williams will host The O’Reilly Factor tomorrow night and will appear with O’Reilly on the show Thursday night. “Juan has been a staunch defender of liberal viewpoints since his tenure began at Fox News in 1997,” Ailes said. “He’s an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by Fox News on a daily basis.”

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