Friday roundup: WUGA cuts local programming; channel sharing is “feasible”

By Andrew Lapin

• WUGA-TV in Athens, Ga., is cutting all local programming from its schedule and eliminating six staff members as of June 30, the University of Georgia announced Thursday. The changes come as a result of a study requested by Jere Morehead, president of UGA, the station’s licensee. The study determined that the cost of ramping up local programming and student involvement for the station “was just too great relative to the cost of the operation,” according to the release. WUGA will switch to carrying the PBS World Channel full-time beginning July 1. The move will save the university about $565,000 annually, the release said.

• The results of the country’s first channel-sharing pilot program are out, and they’re largely positive. Wireless communications organization CTIA has published a report on the first two months of the channel-sharing experiment between KLCS and KJLA in Los Angeles. It found that “physical and virtual level channel sharing is feasible” and “it is technically possible to combine two high-definition television streams onto a single channel.” Read the full report here.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler praised the report’s findings in a statement, saying that “the pilot project has made a compelling case for channel sharing.”

Terry Gross

Gross (Photo: WNIJ WNIU)

• Terry Gross will deliver this year’s commencement address at Bryn Mawr College May 15, the women’s liberal-arts school announced Thursday. “Terry is an excellent choice to give this address since learning to ask probing questions is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education,” said Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy of the Fresh Air host.

In other Terry news, the New Yorker had some fun with the interviewer this week, first with a cartoon and then in a “Shouts & Murmurs” column imagining an interview between her and Gwyneth Paltrow.

• Ira Glass will host the Peabody Awards ceremony May 19 in New York, the awards committee announced. Portions of the ceremony will be broadcast on television for the first time, on cable network Pivot TV, potentially moving the creator and host of This American Life into an Ellen DeGeneres–like role of genial awards-show emcee. Glass will also be on hand April 2 to reveal nominees on CBS This MorningThis American Life has won four Peabodys, most recently in 2012.

• WNET may have caused unnecessary strife among Jewish family members. The station posted an online Yiddish quiz last week as part of its documentary series The Story of the Jews, but some Yiddish-speaking bloggers criticized the quiz’s translations and word selections. The page was missing from WNET’s site this week, but a spokeswoman told the Jewish Daily Forward that “it wasn’t taken down intentionally.”

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