Friday, May 22, 2009

places to pitch

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VP for News Ellen Weiss says that despite the belt-tightening at NPR, there has been no edict for programs to cut back on acquisitions from independents. All shows have been challenged to cut costs where they can and, she says, some may be putting a higher bar on buying pieces but that overall work is still being commissioned. Editors are still interested in pitches. Contact the regional editors listed on the AIR pitch page - or me ( first if you'd like an opinion on your pitch. Of course, NPR's Newscast unit is always interested in wraps. 1-800-433-1277.


William Troop at The World says they are indeed in a budget crunch and while they are still wanting to receive pitches, they are only taking the ones they feel best match their international focus and style. This will remain the case at least until the end of their fiscal year through June. He's predicting that the '09-'10 budget will have a somewhat downsized acquisitions budget and that the bar for commissions will remain high.


John Haas at APM's Marketplace says they are still taking features from independents. Features are considered at a weekly meeting on Fridays (soon to move to Thursdays). MP features are shorter than many shows (2-4 minutes depending on which show it winds up). He says local economic/business/personal finance stories with national implications are considered. Stories pegged to recent news or specific dates have the best chance. They also regularly review more timely material - quick turnarounds pegged to the day's news - but mostly they work with folks they are familiar with on those stories. John says pitch to him if you like:


Leda Hartman at The World Vision Report says like anywhere else, their program is trying to do more with less but they are definitely still accepting story pitches. The program has had to cut back on paying as much on travel as in the past so it's best to be clear about that on a story pitch up front. She says, rather than being able to help pay for overseas travel, the program is trying to work with reporters already stationed where the stories are. To that end, they are looking for experienced stringers in Asia - Pakistan/India/Afghanistan.


APM's The Splendid Table, says Jen Russell, is commissioning very few pieces these days. What they do accept is more likely to be a finished piece as they are under-resourced to edit a piece. So they will check out your 3 - 5 minute produced piece if you want to send it to her for consideration. As usual, have a good idea if it will be a good match for the show.


LOE's Eileen Bolinsky says that at the moment, LOE is not acquistioning outside of what they have already assigned. She expects the doors to open up again soon.


OAG's Gary Waleik says they are still accepting pitches from freelancers and paying at the same rate they have in the past. Their softer longer features are booked a month or two in advance. More time-sensitive shorter features considered too. Check out their website first to see if they've recently covered the topic you're pitching.


New Hampshire Public Radio's Word of Mouth has a small budget for freelance work, according to producer Avishay Artsy, "as long as it’s sound-rich and fits the mission of our show, which is covering new ideas and trends. " They pay $60/minute for features produced for their show, $100 for pieces re-broadcast and between $75 - $150 for producing "interview scripts" (not sure what that means). Contact Avishay or Jen Nathan


Lester Graham at the ER says they are taking pitches, paying independents, operating full steam ahead. Looking for new freelancers in the Southeast, Southwest and West Coast. He says visit their website first (, go to "About Us" and "Submission Guidelines" first.


Kathleen McKenna says they have scaled back on acquisitions recently and right now, Here and Now is not commissioning new material by independents. She's hoping things will change before long but isn't able to say when.


David Krasnow says in their current fiscal year (which ends June 30) they have not cut back on commissioning an average of 2 to 3 independently produced featured in each new show they prepare. He's not sure what the new budgets will show in terms of acquisitions.


Jared Weissbrot at Soundprint (the half hour documentary series) says it's largely "business-as-usual at Soundprint. Anyone with grant money looking for a national outlet is always welcome. Anyone with a proposal that totally wows us, we'll do our best to fund/help fund. Anyone with a finished product that we like, we'll offer up an acquisition contract based on factors we've discussed before." (see my interview with Jared for more -

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