According to news reports [link], last Friday (3/17) West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced he has had “a change of heart” about zeroing out state funding for West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB). Justice credited public outcry as a major reason for his change. He said in a press statement:
“Public Broadcasting is important to our state and our people, and I don’t want to see it disappear. I mean, really and truly, at the end of the day, I don’t want public broadcasting to leave.”
Moving forward, the plan is to shift fiscal responsibility for WVPB to the University of West Virginia. The arrangement has yet to be finalized.
Justice announced in January that he wanted to eliminate all state funding to the Educational Broadcasting Authority, the agency responsible for WVPB, Mountain Stage and other programming. WVPB said that the cut of $4.6 would cause massive layoffs and the cancelation of Mountain Stage.
Republican House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles said allies of public broadcasting have done a good job of explaining its value:
“[Public broadcasting] plays a vital role in transparency, open government, homeland security and a lot of other roles. I think they’ve done a good job working the halls and explaining the role and the mission of public broadcasting. And I think the members have come to understand that a big cut to them all at once is too much for them to survive.”
KEN SAYS: This is good news because it underscores the fact that the majority of Americans see the value of public broadcasting.
PODCAST LISTENING APPEARS TO HAVE FALLEN FROM JANUARY TO FEBRUARY
Podtrac’s February chart (shown on the right) of the top podcast publishers shows seven of the top ten publishers had a smaller US Unique Monthly Audiences in February than they did in January.
Note: Podtrac does not provide data about listening to podcasts from publishers who do not subscribe to their data. Also, Podtrac CEO Mark Mccrey told SPARK! on February 23 that their monthly estimates can vary by as much as 20% from one month to another.
This American Life (including Serial) and WNYC Studios had the biggest declines. American Public Media (APM) had the biggest gain in US Unique Monthly Audience, up 17%.
There was one new publisher in Podtrac’s top ten rankings: The New York Times [link]. The Times currently distributes eight podcasts including the popular Modern Love, produced in conjunction with WBUR.
MARK RAMSEY JUMPS INTO PODCASTING WITH “INSIDE PSYCHO”
Media consultant and blogger frequently uses podcasts of interviews on his blog [link]. Now he has entered podcast entertainment programs with the upcoming release of Inside Psycho.
Inside Psycho [link] is a limited series of podcasts that take A deep dive into the mysterious and peculiar happenings the occurred during the film Psycho.
Ramsey is asking friends in the biz to listen to the demo of Inside Psycho and give him feedback. You can hear the demo here.
I did listened and like what I heard. The production qualities are outstanding and Ramsey does a nice job of narrating. In some ways the story reminds me of The Blair Witch Project – a chilling narrative with shocking plot turns. Like Blair Witch, I kept wondering what was fact and what was fiction.
Inside Psycho is published by Wondery [link], founded recently by a small group of Fox Television executives. The company, publishes seven podcasts. Inside Psycho is their first production to wear the Wondery brand name.