Wednesday roundup: Forest creates sustainer premiums, Curious George pitches NYC

By Current Staff

Curious George is New York City's latest Official Family Ambassador. (Photo: NYC & Co.)

Curious George is New York City’s latest Official Family Ambassador. (Photo: NYC & Co.)

• Pubcasting fulfillment company Forest Incentives is launching Forest Music Express, an experimental sustainer premium service for pubmedia stations. The service will allow stations to offer legal music downloads to sustaining members. Forest Incentives is working with major music labels to offer more than 20 million songs to stations, according to a press release. The company has piloted the service with Philadelphia’s WXPN and KPLU in Tacoma, Wash.

PBS Kids’ favorite monkey Curious George is taking on a new role, as New York City’s official family ambassador. He’ll encourage family travel with kid-friendly NYC travel materials, guides to its beaches, zoos, aquariums and museums for children and outdoor areas such as Central Park.

• Virginia Conversations, a weekly live call-in show from Virginia Public Radio, is ending its two-year run due to “changes in funding priorities,” reports the Roanoke Times. PD Rick Mattioni told the newspaper that production money will now cover in-depth feature stories and spot news to air on pubradio stations across the state.

• The commercial TV revival of Cosmos was a big ratings success for Fox and the National Geographic Channel, according to Variety. Worldwide, 135 million people including 45 million U.S. viewers watched at least some of the 13 episodes in the series, which aired from March till June. Despite the former pubTV property’s renewed visibility, there are currently no plans for a follow-up season; host Neil deGrasse Tyson has already stated he would not want to take part in more episodes.

• Public radio’s Diane Rehm opened up about her husband’s death to NBC News in a Tuesday piece about end-of-life choices. Because physician-assisted suicide is illegal in the couple’s home state of Maryland, John Rehm had only one option to end his suffering from Parkinson’s disease: death by dehydration — a process that took nine agonizing days. The WAMU host has tackled the right-to-die issue several times on her show, most recently just this week.

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