media

Iconic TV Announcer Don Pardo Dies At 96

Aug 19, 2014

Fans of Saturday Night Live and the original versions of The Price is Right and Jeopardy! recognize Don Pardo's voice immediately.

They may not be able to identify his face, but his voice was famous.

Pardo died Monday in Tucson, Ariz. He was 96 years old.

An NBC spokesman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he died in his sleep.

Pardo began working for NBC in 1944 and stayed with the network for 60 years.

A Listener's Guide to Podcasts

Jul 24, 2014
arinahabich/iStock / Thinkstock

If you're interested in podcasts, but aren't sure what to listen to, have no fear. We're here to help.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Radio has a very long and storied history, and is influenced by -- some might say ruled by -- some long-held, traditional practices.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Amy Goodman’s radio, TV, and Web program Democracy Now! has a wide following among people who think the mainstream media doesn’t let us hear enough voices from those who protest against powerful interests. This week, she visits the Mark Twain House and Museum to discuss her new book The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance and Hope.

This hour, we preview that event, with a conversation about the state of the news media today. We also listen back to a conversation with a Hartford-based guitarist who celebrates the music of her home country, Puerto Rico, while also exploring the classical repertoire.

John McKinney / YouTube

State Minority Leader John McKinney's first television spot goes right after his primary opponent for governor, Tom Foley. McKinney uses (and re-uses) Foley's own words where he appears to say, "I'm not going to cut spending."

The Mighty Thor, the Son of Odin, the God of Thunder, the comic book god with the hammer is a woman.

Not quite — but here's the tweet announcing the new Thor:

"No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR," Marvel said in a statement.

The new Thor will be written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman.

Margaret Low Smith, a longtime NPR executive who has served as senior vice president for news for three years, is leaving the company to become the president of The Atlantic's live events business.

"Her departure will be felt as profoundly as any in recent memory," NPR Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday.

He added that Smith's final day at NPR will be at the end of July. She joined the company in 1982 as an overnight production assistant on Morning Edition.

Wilson added that:

It's not just comedian John Oliver coming out against cable companies to support net neutrality. The world's largest Internet companies — Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and others — have officially chimed in, filing comments Monday to the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees Internet traffic.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I'm excited about today's Scramble. WNYC podcaster Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex & Money, is our superguest, which means she gets to pick three topics for her conversation with me.

Her choices are LeBron James and the notion of going home, a new Jenny Lewis song about a ticking biological clock, and the long agonizing death of the husband of NPR broadcaster, Diane Rehm. At least on paper, that's a perfect combination for the Scramble.

Shawn Sienkiewicz / The Hartford Courant

Federal prosecutors allege that former Governor John Rowland used his radio show on WTIC-AM to prop up Lisa Wilson-Foley's candidacy during the 2012 race in Connecticut's Fifth Congressional District. 

The summer of tech company demographic data dumps continues apace. Facebook is the latest big firm to share its staff's racial and gender breakdowns, following similar releases from Google and Yahoo. Other tech firms NPR has reached out to say they are having conversations about whether they will do the same.

Aereo, the company that lets subscribers watch TV stations' video that it routes onto the Internet, violates U.S. copyright law, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court ruling on what has been a hotly contested issue.

Dean Baquet sat in his new office in Midtown Manhattan, the very picture of composure and precision, as he described the top-level dysfunction that led to the firing of Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times and his promotion to replace her as the top news executive there.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

On any given day, it's pretty easy to find all the ways in which modern media has substituted politicization for truth and/or serious reflection. Today, you could take the so-called Santa Barbara killing spree by Elliot Rodger. After the usual first round of back and forth sniping about the availability of weapons.

ESPN

Sports media giant ESPN has opened its new digital media center on its Bristol campus.

Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times, addressed her sudden and controversial firing during a commencement address at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Monday.

"Sure, losing a job you love hurts," she admitted. "But the work I revered, journalism that holds powerful institutions and people accountable, is what makes our democracy so resilient. This is the work I will remain very much a part of."

When Wake Forest University officials invited Jill Abramson to deliver this year's commencement speech, they probably didn't realize they'd be in the midst of one of the biggest media controversies of the year.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

You'd think that the New York Times, after covering so many sackings, would know how to fire its own editor without having it become one of the biggest, ugliest stories of the week. On today's show, we'll explore the presumption that the Great Gray Lady is run by sexist pork faces.

When New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger removed Jill Abramson from the paper's executive editor spot on Wednesday, it stunned the media world. Abramson was the first woman to ever fill the paper's top post and was credited with helping right its fiscal ship, and much of the early coverage about just why she was pushed out centered on a possible dispute over her pay, which was less than her male predecessors' compensation.

It is illegal in the U.S. to operate a drone for cash. That's the position of the Federal Aviation Administration — which is in charge of protecting air space. But at least one industry has decided that it doesn't care and it's going to put drones to work anyway: the film industry.

Drone Startups Hit Hollywood

The Federal Communications Commission announced last month that it would propose new rules. In a blog post, Chairman Tom Wheeler insists that the open Internet rules will help maintain what's called network neutrality. That is, making certain that your Internet provider doesn't give a faster connection to a service that can pay more.

"!!!!"

That was the body of the note from NPR producer Evie Stone, along with a link to an exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image titled The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture.

Obviously, Evie and I share a certain sensibility. And just as obviously, I had to go to Astoria, Queens, to check out the exhibit — and report this piece.

On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.

Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.

From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.

Media industry veteran Jarl Mohn will be NPR's new CEO, the organization's board of directors has announced.

Mohn, 62, currently sits on the board of directors at several media organizations, including Scripps Networks Interactive and Web analytics company ComScore. He is also on the boards of KPCC Southern California Public Radio and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Announcing the hire, Kit Jensen, who chairs NPR's board of directors, said Mohn has "an ability to find nuanced and new ideas." He is slated to start work at NPR on July 1.

Experts agree that climate change is a global problem. A documentary film company in our region planned to look at how Adirondack communities are adapting to climate change. But  the film’s producer changed his focus after encountering high school students at a Youth Climate Summit.

David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

This hour on The Scramble our superguest is David Folkenflik. I don't have to tell you who David Folkenflik is, do I? I mean, you're public radio listeners. The superguest always sets the agenda, and David wants to talk about new journalism start-ups like Vox, Five-Thirty Eight, First Look,  and about what middle-aged digital brand names like Slate are doing to survive. 

Twitter is growing and its brand is spreading but Wall Street is unimpressed. On Tuesday, the company announced it had doubled its quarterly revenue from a year ago to $250 million. The social networking site also increased its number of active users to 255 million, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

But despite the gains, Wall Street analysts have called the growth tepid. Twitter went public last November, and its shares have traded as high as $74; on Wednesday, it opened at under $38.

Peter Morenus/UConn Photo

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the University of Connecticut last week. The speech was closed to the public, but she took questions, including one from UConn President Susan Herbst exploring the current state of journalism.

Daniel Novta / Flickr Creative Commons

We cover a lot of ground on this hour's Scramble. We begin with the editor of Salon.com in a conversation about a story that dominated the headlines this weekend, the racist remarks attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.

Dave Daley sees Sterling and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a pattern. I don't. Not exactly, anyway. Dave also talks about Thomas Piketty, the first rock star economist in, well, a really long time.

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