The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘npr

morning cram [fixin’ leaks edition]

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“Prosecutors are trying to build a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose website has embarrassed the U.S. government by disclosing sensitive diplomatic and military information.”

NPR reports its part of a bigger campaign to shut down leakers.

KENTUCKY ~ Number of registered voters high, turnout for primary expected to be low. Red Cross gives flood recovery update to Paducah commission. FEMA says OK to start cleanup, but document everything if you want reimbursement. State budget has a surplus, but disaster cleanup will gobble it up. The Commonwealth’s population is ch-ch-ch-changin’ in line with national numbers.

TENNESSEE ~ Bill to restrict teachers’ bargaining rights evolves, advances in the House.

morning cram [tainted ink edition]

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“The Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tattoo ink. But until recently, it hadn’t, citing more pressing public health problems and a lack of consumer complaints. FDA chemist Dr. Bhakti Petigara Harp says that recently, the agency has started to see an increase in consumer complaints.”

NPR reports on the dangers of bad ink.

KENTUCKY ~ Levee holding, but in critical condition in Smithland. Two electrocuted, killed, in Mayfield while moving a radio antenna. Governor promises sixth furlough day for state employees.  New UK President talks to students and faculty, holds back on plan for university. Murray State installs energy-saving electrical system.

TENNESSEE ~ More poor people  need legal services, state can’t pay for all.

ILLINOIS ~ State budget deficit could top $9 billion

Response to NPR Resignations – WKMS letter to Michael Pape, the District Director for U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield

with 2 comments

WKMS Station Manager Kate Lochte has sent the following letter to Michael Pape, the District Director for U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield.

Dear Michael,

This week’s NPR resignations lead me to write you with encouragement that Mr. Whitfield stand firm for public broadcasting based on the service of Kentucky stations like WKMS. We are a system reaching into ruralmost Kentucky with the kind of information that elevates a listener’s awareness of the world close to home and far away. Information that lifelong learning, engaged citizens need. With Kentucky’s striving for a better educated citizenry, this is no time to diminish the service of public radio.

We are in a time when public radio and public television are really more important than ever. The world around us is being fragmented with communications that are not based in fact. That’s not what we do. We stand for fact-based journalism whether it’s from the WKMS newsroom or the BBC. If we get it wrong, we go back and correct.

It is disturbing that the defunding issue has centered on NPR without respect for the great national asset that the system of stations are not only in Kentucky but across the country. Part of our vision for WKMS is to one day have a generator at our LBL site (a proposal for funding assistance for this has been in FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant queue for 2 years) to be able to deliver region wide emergency information when we are needed.

Our team is also uniquely able to offer fact-based public safety information as we continue to work with the Local Emergency Management systems in western Kentucky. We continue to upgrade our knowledge of these systems by taking courses offered through the Homeland Security system. We take our responsibility seriously, and with the resources and support of Murray State, including telecommunications and campus generators, we are better positioned than most of our regional commercial broadcasting colleagues to serve effectively and efficiently when needed in this capacity.

Over the years we have upgraded and extended our transmission systems with the Congressman’s assistance. Looking into the future, we will need to continue to do this, much like the Commonwealth is continuing to upgrade its Kentucky Early Warning System. We work with KEWS all the time as its transmission equipment and ours are co-located. KEWS has equipment on the 8th Floor of Price Doyle Fine Arts near WKMS studios that provides remote telemetry to our transmitter site in LBL. We depend on this for FCC required meter readings and so the partnership/collaboration is an efficiency.

Without the Public Telecommunications Facility Program, WKMS will be ill-positioned to maintain its transmission systems and its partnerships with vital public safety entities. So the Congressman’s support for PTFP is deeply sought and muchly needed by stations in Kentucky llike ours.

This support is vital even in the face of the enormous federal deficit that we must work towards together. It’s vital because our services are 24 hour a day contact with Americans who may not be able to afford other sources of information. Public radio is not a luxury: it is a vital part of our listeners daily lives.

We serve an estimated 25,000 listeners weekly, stretching from those who tune in from Union City, TN, to those who are getting us near Owensboro, KY. We are in southernmost Illinois and Paris, TN. Our depth and breadth represents a region underserved by state-wide media. We are far from capitol centers. For our Kentucky listeners we collaborate in a Frankfort bureau with other Kentucky stations to bring news of the state out here. We subscribe to the AP to keep our TN and IL listeners informed. We serve farmers, pest control workers, college students, educators, grocery checkers, housewives, seniors, low income and high income people. Our audience is diverse in circumstance but united in the need to know more about the world – and that’s why we serve.

Our listeners are contributing individual support totalling just over $200,000 a year now to help fund WKMS. Our business underwriters are contributing just over $100,000. This year’s CPB Community Service Grant for WKMS is about $160,000. Murray State, directly and indirectly, is providing the rest of what it takes to run our 3 stations, HD system, and 3 translators. We employ Murray State students with fundraised dollars, at a cost of over $50,000 a year.

The majority of these students serve as news interns and continue to win awards of excellence. Our latest Society of Professional Journalists’ award winner is David Schmoll who recently learned that one of his feature stories is going to national competition. Our former graduate student reporter, now Paducah Sun reporter, Rebecca Feldhaus, won national recognition last year in this very competition. All our students must serve as part of the overall station business team and many have gone on to success in communications across the nation.

During this spring fundraising season we are continuing our tradition of partnering to benefit another not-for-profit in our region. Previously WKMS has generated, at no cost to the station, support for Habitat for Humanity, and the Murray Hospice House, but offering our underwriting time in exchange for business support for these entities. This spring each pledge received by WKMS is generating a private gift of $1.50 from the Cappock family of Paducah and that $1.50 is being investing in Project Aids Orphan, a Paducah-Kenya partnership started by two nurse practicioners. $1.50 feeds an elementary child in Kenya three meals a day. So there’s no cost to WKMS, but there is an added impact to each contribution aside from supporting WKMS.

Thanks for your service and time, Michael. I appreciate the opportunity to update Mr. Whitfield on what’s happening here. I hope the Congressman will come visit when back in the District. Here’s to warmer days and less contentious times.



Written by Matt Markgraf

March 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm

WKMS response to Ron Schiller video

with one comment

On behalf of WKMS, I want go on record in agreement with what my colleague Ellen Rocco writes in response to the new, disturbing video of NPR development staff which hit the internet today 3-8-11.  Here is her text:

Mr. Schiller and Ms. Liley do not speak for public radio professionals. Not by a long shot. At NCPR, our mission is to bring thorough, balanced and fair coverage of all issues to the people we serve. Our mission is to offer the highest quality news, information and cultural content we can. Our reporters do not divide the population of this country into categories of good and bad, liberal and conservative, educated and ignorant. We do not divide people by religion, race or ethnic background. Our work is to create a space where all of us can come to learn and talk about the world around us. Our work is keep the public informed so that we have a strong democracy. We are a resource shared by all Americans and, as such, we disagree with the comments by Mr. Schiller: we believe that public funds should be a part, not all, but a part of what pays the bills for non-commercial public media. We unequivocally remove ourselves from much of what Mr. Schiller and Ms. Liley said on this tape!  And…we expect NPR to take appropriate action in response to this tape.

At WKMS we strive for the same values.  Sometimes we get it wrong – we re-examine and correct.  We are very disappointed in this destructive video and the NPR people in it.  As a regional service for northwest Tennessee, southernmost Illinois, and western Kentucky, WKMS must be a connector rather than a divider of communities – and so must NPR be on a much broader scale.

Kate B. Lochte

Station Manager, WKMS

Click here to see the video, NPR’s response and updates about the situation on NPR’s Two-Way Blog.

Written by Matt Markgraf

March 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Posted in FYI

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morning cram [cuckoo edition]

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Cocoa exports are being used as a weapon in Ivory Coast as the would-be president there orders a month-long ban.

NPR reports the world’s top cocoa bean exporter is locked in a deadly presidential power struggle.

Transportation officials: don’t drive (unnecessarily) today.

KENTUCKY~ I-24 is shut down near the Livingston/Lyon County line. A Fairdealing girl dies after accidentally shooting herself. An alleged Clarksville nightclub shooter is arrested in Marshall County. Governor Beshear will talk about transportation safety in Paducah this afternoon. A conservative opinion leader says prescription-izing cold meds is like “using a sledgehammer to kill an ant.” Senators pass a public school bill that would allow ‘Bible classes‘ and will soon consider new elderly abuse legislation.

TENNESSEE~ Clarksville’s Leaf Chronicle newspaper wonders where in the world is Montgomery County’s Sheriff? Ex-Mayor Piper’s new gig is all good in the (legal) hood. The state’s latest tax revenue predictions are up, but still not enough.

Kentucky’s Senators Respond to State of the Union

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Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul both delivered a response to last night’s State of the Union address. If you missed the President’s speech, NPR has the transcript.

Click below for the comments from our state’s Republican Senators.


Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Angela Hatton

January 26, 2011 at 11:00 am

morning cram [shooter-dot-com edition]

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“As the authorities sort out motives from emotions in the Arizona shooting rampage, one aspect of the multiple-tragedies event is clear: Jared Loughner, the alleged gunman, had an active Internet presence.”

NPR links up the connection between shooters and the internet.

KENTUCKY ~ Paducah’s mayor will head the Kentucky League of Cities. The Jefferson County Clerk may become the third candidate in the GOP gov. primary. A Graves County judge says identification from a photo lineup will be admissible in a Mayfield kidnapping trial. Technology benefits war vets, while Kentucky’s tax receipts are looking good, but they may be flat the rest of the year.   Get your firewood at Land Between the Lakes.

ILLINOIS ~ Pat Quinn starts his first full term as state governor.

Good Read – All Facts Considered

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All Facts Considered
by Kee Malesky

Buy this book on Amazon.
(Your purchase supports WKMS!)

Product Description:
For the bestselling miscellany market, an NPR librarian’s compendium of fascinating facts on history, science, and the art. How much water do the Great Lakes contain? Who were the first and last men killed in the Civil War? How long is a New York minute? What are the lost plays of Shakespeare? What building did Elvis leave last? Get the answers to these and countless other vexing questions in a All Facts Considered. Guaranteed to enlighten even the most seasoned trivia buff, this treasure trove of “who knew?” factoids spans a wide range of intriguing subjects. The perfect gift for every inquiring mind that wants to know, All Facts Considered will put you at the center of the conversation as you show off your essential store of inessential yet irresistible knowledge.

Matt Markgraf says:

“I’m naturally curious about facts and anecdotes that may have little tangible value in the functioning world. NPR does little to discourage this obsession, too… And now in book form! Since reading this book, I’ve started (and ended) many conversations with ‘Did you know…?’ Here are a few neat things I’ve learned: Julia Child made a shark repellent for the CIA; Tiramisu was invented less than 30 years ago; the term ‘deadline’ was once literal; the first African to come to the New World was a pilot for Christopher Columbus; the US Army had a Camel Corps – yes, camels; if a male dog mates with a female coyote they’ll produce a ‘dogote’. The bite-sized blurbs in this book are varied and substantive enough to leave you fulfilled. Malesky has very extensive citation in the back, which I appreciated. It’s a fun book and it’ll make you smarter, a rare formula that makes for an excellent read.”

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Written by Matt Markgraf

November 29, 2010 at 10:58 am

morning cram [integrity edition]

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NPR faces sharp criticism after terminating news analyst Juan Williams’ contract, who was fired Wednesday for violating the news organization’s ethics policy over comments he made on Fox News about Muslims.

~ Williams’ comments and NPR‘s response is prompting a debate about where the boundaries are drawn for journalists nowadays.

KENTUCKY~ McCracken County Schools suspends its facilities director after a DUI arrest. A small plane emergency landed on KY-80 yesterday. Statewide jobless rates are still in the double digits. Jack hopes Rand will still do next week’s scheduled KET debate. The state is auditing its pension agencies.

TENNESSEE~ A man is arrested in Henry County for (alleged) severe domestic violence. Ash storage at  TVA’s coal power plant in Cumberland City has raised some red flags. Unemployment figures dip below the national average. Governor Bredesen cites drought in requesting federal disaster relief.

Making Kentucky Proud

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. . . at least that’s what I hope I’m doing here. I believe that I’m the only representative from the Bluegrass State attending the conference.

The biofuels discussion went by in a rush. To give an explanation in one sentence, it’s a complicated issue. Since corn ethanol has been studied more than anything else, that was the main topic discussed. One concern economists and scientists are looking at is that the federal tax incentives for biofuel production are set to expire December 31 this year. The question is, if the incentives aren’t renewed, will standards go down? I’ll have more from the biofuel discussion later.

The session on Immigrant Labor is beginning soon.  Watch it here.

Written by Angela Hatton

October 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm