November 19, 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 21 Clash’s accuser recants charge, but puppeteer remains on leave
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Local stations’ election reports shared on ‘Battleground’ blog Pubmedia advocates pump up to put ‘170 Million’ on steroids
Sponsor churn, ebb in digital, cut into NPR’s bottom line By Ben Mook
ith one of its biggest corporate sponsors pulling back from a multiyear underwriting commitment, NPR has an uphill climb to rebuild its sponsorship revenues from 2011, when the network’s sales reps reeled in enough deals to set a new earnings record. High turnover — or “churn” — among its corporate clients, and the pullback of companies that spend the most money on advertising, cut into NPR’s bottom line in the fiscal year that just closed. After netting $2.4 million in profits in 2011, largely on robust sponsorship sales, the network aimed high for 2012. But sales fell far short of projections. For fiscal year 2012, which ended on Sept. 30, corporate sponsorship was down $8.6 million from goal. NPR posted an operating deficit of $6.2 million for the year. The drop in corporate sponsorships had been expected, with discussions earlier in the year (Current, May 14, 2012, and Sept. 24, Continued on page 9
Current FOR PEOPLE IN PUBLIC MEDIA
Sweetening the deal for partnering stations CPB pitches idea of $3M fund for radio collaboration By Mike Janssen NEW ORLEANS, La. — CPB is considering a proposal to allocate $3 million annually over six years to support collaboration among public radio stations, with the amount to be drawn from Community Service Grant incentive funds. The money would support upwards of 20 collaborations among 80 or so stations, each of which would receive an additional $70,000 to $90,000 annually. That financial boost would help stations develop content, streamline operations, plan technology and infrastructure, and undertake other collaborative activities. The program would start in fiscal year 2015 at the earliest. By encouraging collaboration, CPB
hopes to “unleash the potential of the network effect,” said Bruce Theriault, senior v.p. of radio, at the Public Radio Regional Organizations Super-Regional Meeting in New Orleans Nov. 14. The fund could potentially help stations achieve economies of scale that allow them to produce more content, including local news, and boost audience service while spending less than they would separately. A survey conducted by Current for the fifth Public Media Futures Forum, convened Nov. 13 as part of the SuperRegional, found that a large majority of station executives wants to build their stations into premier sources of local news in coming years. Yet only 3,000 journalists work in all of public radio, compared to 40,000
in the newspaper industry, Theriault pointed out. “We think the evidence is clear that without greater capacity and scale, many stations won’t be able to compete,” Theriault said. As another plank of its strategy to foster collaborative journalism, CPB will fund another round of Local Journalism Centers. It plans to issue a request for proposals for new LJCs within a few weeks, CPB President Pat Harrison said at the Super-Regional Nov. 13. Theriault: no hostile takeovers The concept of a collaboration fund was developed as part of an ongoing review of CPB’s radio CSG program. The review
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Pledge special builds on Downton’s buzz Customized for stations, 90-minute program looks back, offers preview of new episodes By Dru Sefton
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s fans of Masterpiece’s hit Downton Abbey await arrival of the British drama’s third season, PBS and some 70 local stations hope to reel them into the public TV membership fold with a Nov. 25 pledge special. Those stations won’t have to bring in their pledge talent or line up phone-bank volunteers for the broadcast of Downton Revisited because PBS has booked a call center in Iowa and produced customized web pages to take donations. The setup includes a unique phone number and locally branded web page for each participating station, so that viewers who pledge will be reminded that their local outlet brings PBS programming — and Downton Abbey — to their airwaves. “One of things we are always looking to do, and stations are always
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Public TV thrived when grantmakers were freed from CPB politics, NET’s Hull recalls.
Jobs 10 Obits 8 People 6 Thinking 14
In the next season Downton Abbey, actress Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Martha Levinson, mother of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham. Downton Revisited, a PBS national pledge event on Nov. 25, gives viewers a sneak peek at the new season, and invites them to pledge to their local station. (Photo: Masterpiece) interested in, is to convert viewers to members,” said John Wilson, senior v.p. of programming at PBS. Using Downton Abbey “is a natural in that regard. It has a huge fan base and has generated a lot of Continued on page 7
PeopleOnline 8 Online at Current.org at Current.org
Complaint of advocacy distracts from real issue of pubmedia’s service to minorities, Smiley writes. @currentpubmedia @currentpubmedia
2 | November 19, 2012 | Current
Elmo’s puppeteer fights off allegations of impropriety Accuser retracts statement, but Clash remains on leave By Dru Sefton
ollowing last week’s media scandal over allegations that were aggressively rebutted and later recanted, award-winning Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash remains on leave from his role as Elmo, one of the show’s most beloved characters. An accusation that Clash had an inappropriate relationship with an underage boy, published online early Nov. 12 by gossip news site TMZ, prompted Clash to request leave so that he could defend his reputation. Sesame Workshop, which looked into the allegations after learning of them in June, granted the leave and issued a statement: “We . . . conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated . . . . Kevin insists that the allegation of underage conduct is false and defamatory and he is taking actions to protect his reputation,” the Workshop said. “Elmo is bigger than any one person,” the Workshop statement noted, “and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years.” Clash, 52, acknowledged the relationship, but said that it had been between consenting adults. His accuser, who is 23 years old, alleged that he had been 16 at the time of the
Elmo became one of Sesame Street’s most beloved characters after Clash became his puppeteer. (Photo: Nate Langford) romance. “It was between two consenting adults, and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not,” Clash said in a statement Nov. 12. In its internal investigation, the Workshop found that Clash’s relationship with the young man was personal and “unrelated to the workplace,” its Nov. 12 statement said. Clash had “exercised poor judgment” and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet usage. The next day the young man announced
through his attorneys that he had withdrawn his allegations. The statement said the accuser “wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.” “I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest,” Clash told the New York Times through a spokesman. “I will not discuss it further.” Sesame Workshop also issued a brief statement: “We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode.” Jodi Lefkowitz, Workshop spokesperson, declined to say when Clash will return to work. Clash had been scheduled to speak Nov. 28 at Georgia State University, but the event has been postponed “by mutual agreement,” according to Andrea Anne Jones, university spokesperson. Clash is one of Sesame Street’s most acclaimed and senior puppeteers. He has won 10 Daytime Emmy Awards for his portrayals of Hoots the Owl and the joyful red monster that has become one of the Workshop’s most valuable properties. Clash also serves as a senior creative advisor, senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain at the Workshop; he oversees casting of all Muppet roles. Clash’s role as Elmo was the subject of a critically acclaimed 2011 documentary, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, and his 2006 autobiography My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me
About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud. Elmo was introduced as a Sesame Street character in 1979 and rose to stardom after Clash became the third puppeteer to perform the role in 1985. n Comments, questions, tips? email@example.com
6930 Carroll Ave., Suite 350, Takoma Park, MD 20912 Web: Current.org Phone: 301-270-7240, extensions below Fax: 301-270-7241 E-mail: see below Interim Managing Editor Karen Everhart, x 33, firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Editors Dru Sefton, x 39, email@example.com Ben Mook, x 32, firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Editor Andrew Lapin, x 34, email@example.com Associate Editor Mike Janssen, firstname.lastname@example.org Project Editor Steve Behrens, email@example.com Business/Circulation Manager Laura Rogers, x 38, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Director Kathleen Unwin, 877-745-8776, x 1 email@example.com Administrative Assistant Dorian Jones Director of Strategic Initiatives Mark Fuerst, 877-745-8776, x 2 Contributing Editors Louis Barbash, Theodore Fischer Editorial Intern Dawn Morgan Founder of Current, 1980 James A. Fellows, National Association of Educational Broadcasters Published 23 times a year as an editorially independent service of American University School of Communication, Washington, D.C. Postmaster: Send address changes to address above. ISSN: 0739-991X. Copyright 2012 American University.
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| November 19, 2012 | 3
Stations share election coverage on ‘Battleground’ By Andrew Lapin
or the first major election since NPR Digital Services introduced digital publishing software designed to bolster stations’ online news operations, developers in the Boston-based unit built a platform for local outlets to share and spotlight each other’s election night coverage. Battleground, a live blog that aggregated Election Day tweets and news reports from 11 stations in nine states, was barely promoted on NPR.org, but 33 stations plugged it into on their own websites — often adjacent to their local news blogs. Live blogging commenced on Battleground at 4:00 p.m. EST Nov. 6 and wound down shortly after midnight. The 144 posts took a variety of media formats: live tweets from the headquarters of Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, a YouTube video interview with retiring Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank and audio of a robocall falsely instructing Florida voters that they could wait to cast their ballots the next day. During its eight hours as a live blog, Battleground received a total of more than 22,000 unique page views. The Digital Services team conceived Battleground as a platform for featuring local stations’ content, and developed and implemented its design and aggregation mechanics in a month, according to Todd Mundt, editorial director of NPR Digital Services, and Will Snyder, digital news specialist. “What we were realizing is that we were offering stations stuff that NPR was doing, and that we weren’t providing anything that showed what stations were doing,” Snyder said. “Election night was just such the perfect scenario for everything, because it is local stories at a national event,” he said. “A lot of these member stations know their neighborhoods inside and out. They know it better than we do from a national perspective, so let’s give them a platform where they can add that content to the dialogue.” Since Battleground was an experiment that launched in a very short time period, Mundt said, he invited stations with strong digital newsgathering capacity to participate. Each had to employ a digital news specialist and reporters who are active on Twitter. Participants also had to be located in a state where issues of national interest were on the ballot. An exception was WAMU in Washington, D.C., chosen for its newsgathering capacity and proximity to the swing state of Virginia. “I think that sometimes the nature of experiment and sometimes the nature of human frailty is that we were spinning this up relatively quickly, trying to figure out who we knew and who might go for this,” Mundt said. “We could go back and maybe discover that there’s a strong news operation that we forgot.” As a pilot station for NPR’s Core Publisher news blogging platform, Colorado’s KUNC was among the stations that were ready and willing to contribute to Battleground. The station, located in Greeley, also has a journalist who works full time on digital news. Jim Hill, KUNC digital media manager, met Snyder during the first presidential debate, in Denver Oct. 3. Hill managed KUNC’s live blog during the debate, and some of his posts were worked into NPR’s national coverage. He is the only member
of the KUNC news team who produces live online coverage. During election night and other major events, KUNC reporters and hosts send him tidbits of news from the field, and he converts them into blog posts and tweets. “Content-wise I thought it was excellent,” Hill said of Battleground. The blog presented multiple reports on the top stories of election night, and tied them all together in “a really important way,” he said. Considering that the technology behind Battleground was experimental, “I think it was more a test of the concept,” he said. KUNC was among the stations whose digital reports got the most traction on Battleground, according to Mundt and
Snyder. The blog’s biggest traffic gains came from coverage of state ballot referendums, including measures to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington State. Both KUNC and Seattle’s KPLU, another Battleground station, reported on the measures throughout the night. In addition, one of Battleground’s last tweets of the 2012 election, an AP report announcing approval of Maine’s ballot to legalize same-sex marriage, accounted for nearly 40 percent of the project’s 2,400 total retweets. PBS NewsHour also amped up its digital reporting on election night, and the response Continued on page 5
Snyder designed the live blog so that stations could feature and share each others’ local reporting. (Photo: Will Snyder)
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A4 | November 19, 2012 | Current “Politicians ultimately are public-opinion entrepreneurs,” Anderson said. “They’re going to go where the market is.” Some Republicans may privately support public broadcasting but won’t tell their peers in Washington, he said.
PRC sets up fund to subsidize consulting work Public Radio Capital and a New York–based philanthropic investment nonprofit have established a $100,000 Revolving Public Media Fund to help subsidize PRC’s work with five public broadcasting stations to spark growth and innovation. PRC has worked with FJC: A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds on several deals since 2006, said Ken Ikeda, PRC’s managing director. Stations may apply to receive $30,000 in consulting and strategic planning services. The Revolving Public Media Fund will supply $20,000; selected stations will pay $10,000. The Nov. 12 announcement said stations must be “committed to transformative change to improve and grow their services,” such as exploring a signal acquisition, a new format or a merger with another pubcaster. For each participating station, PRC will develop and analyze one or more strategic expansion initiatives, prepare a business model, construct an implementation plan and timeline, and present conclusions to stakeholders. FJC’s Agency Loan fund supports charitable organizations and offers bridge loans to stations for PRC deals. FJC was one of three lenders to Dallas pubcaster KERA for its 2009 purchase of 91.7 FM, the Triple A music station now broadcasting as KXT; it was also involved in closing the sale of WXEL-FM in Palm Beach, Fla., in July. “Because of their understanding of finances and passion for radio,” Ikeda said, “FJC is the ideal partner for this initiative.”
170 Million Americans campaign to escalate efforts Now that the 2012 general election is over, the 170 Million Americans campaign is preparing to rally support for public broadcasting by going into an amped-up “on steroids” phase, an adviser to NPR said during the Public Radio Regional Organizations Super-Regional conference in New Orleans Nov. 14. Gov. Mitt Romney’s pledge to eliminate funding for public broadcasting, which he repeated during the first presidential debate, “created an opportunity for us to remind our fans that we need them,” said Liz Schrayer of Schrayer & Associates Inc., a Washington, D.C.–based firm that advises nonprofits on advocacy efforts. The campaign should seek to mobilize at least 1 percent of public broadcasting’s 170 million viewers and listeners, she said. Schrayer is a former national political director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Messaging for the campaign will be honed through eight focus groups to be convened next month in four cities, Schrayer said. The campaign will also step up its efforts to engage participants on mobile and social-media platforms. Viewers and listeners will be encouraged to communicate directly with lawmakers about why public broadcasting matters to them. Campaign strategists aim to shift to more two-way interaction with viewers and listeners, and away from a more one-way conversation, she said. Station executives should identify board members who have connections to Republicans in Congress and use those ties to make their case to lawmakers, said Phil Anderson, a former Republican operative in Washington who now leads Navigators Global, a government relations and strategic communications firm.
Northeast gets several new pubradio stations The number of pubradio stations in the northeastern U.S. has grown in recent weeks with the addition of new stations with signals reaching listeners in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Vermont Public Radio has expanded service in southeastern Vermont and elsewhere with a new full-power station, 88.9 FM WVBA, an 8,800-watt NPR news station in Brattleboro. VPR also moved a translator station in Brattleboro from 94.5 FM to 94.3 FM, boosting its signal from 10 watts to 190 watts and bringing its VPR Classical service to the community. In New York’s lower Hudson Valley area, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson has launched a new pubradio signal, 88.1 FM WLHV. The 910-watt station received its authorization from the FCC Nov. 6. The college entered a retransmission agreement with 91.9 FM WHDD in Sharon, Conn., an NPR station that brands itself as Robin Hood Radio. Danielle Riou, a research associate with Bard’s Human Rights Project, led the effort to bring pubradio to the school. She said the agreement saves Bard from bearing the cost of running the station while still allowing the college and its students to participate in creating programs. “They have a pretty fierce commitment to local content,” Riou said of Robin Hood Radio. “We’re pretty excited about being able to transmit that, and it lets them pick up a lot of New York State that they previously weren’t.” Also this month, Pittsburgh Public Media unveiled its plan to buy 1,100-watt WVBC-FM from licensee Bethany College in West Virginia to broadcast jazz, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In January 2011, the group attempted to purchase WDUQ from Duquesne University, but the station was sold to Essential Public Media, a partnership between another Pittsburgh Triple A station WYEP, and a nonprofit established by Public Radio Capital. Chuck Leavens, Pittsburgh Public Media’s c.e.o., said the group hopes to raise $150,000 to pay for the station outright and already has gathered $15,000 from donors. Leavens, former chief engineer of WDUQ, is the technical designer of the station’s JazzWorks service.
WNYC plans to reinstate Toms River signal lost in storm More than two weeks after New Jersey Public Radio’s WNJO transmitter was swept out to sea during Superstorm Sandy, WNYC’s engineers haven’t received permission to visit the island where the station was located, said WNYC spokesperson Jennifer Houlihan. However, Houlihan said, NJPR does intend to reinstate a signal in the region and will know more about its plans for Toms River in the coming weeks. New York Public Radio, which purchased NJPR in 2011, was able to get its three other New Jersey transmitters back on the air by Nov. 3, according to a letter sent to WNYC listeners by Laura Walker, c.e.o. A Nov. 4 tweet from WNYC announced that the station’s AM frequency had returned to the air, but at low power.
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Radio CSGS Continued from page 1
panel, which consists primarily of station managers, is scheduled to conclude early next year and deliver final recommendations to CPB’s management in April. Under the current proposal, CPB would create a review panel to consider requests for collaboration funds; any grants awarded would have to be renewed annually. To create the fund, CPB would slightly reduce CSGs for stations that receive matched incentive funds. Larger stations would see bigger reductions, while CSGs for smaller stations would remain the same. Some station executives told Theriault that they fear CPB will use the fund to force collaborations among stations or that providing incentives for collaboration will jeopardize localism. Theriault tried to assuage both worries. “We have no intentions of forcing hostile takeovers,” he said. As part of the conference session, the radio v.p. introduced pubcasters who have led cross-station collaborations to extol the benefits of such relationships. Jamie Waste, executive director of CoastAlaska, described how his nonprofit provides fundraising, engineering and editorial support for radio stations in southeastern Alaska, as well as back-office financial systems. “It’s surprising that so little of this has taken place within public broadcasting,” said Waste, who believes that large stations would benefit from the model as well. CoastAlaska inspired a similar partnership now forming among six community radio stations in Colorado’s Western Slope region. For 20 years, 16 stations in rural Colorado have worked together under the umbrella of Rocky Mountain Community Radio, sharing content and funding a state capitol reporter. Now a subgroup of the stations is working to create a development hub with help from DEI, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit that supports fundraising and philanthropic efforts in public radio. “CoastAlaska has had a huge impact on our thinking,” said Sally Kane, executive director of KVNF in Paonia, Colo. “We’re in a similar situation in a rural remote area.” When should CPB step in? Some Super-Regional attendees asked whether CPB could use the collaboration fund to help stations and their license holders initiate dialogues with each other. “The earliest discussions are the hardest, and that’s where leadership from CPB would be most appreciated,” said Flo Rogers, g.m. of KNPR
Continued from page 3
from web users was beyond the capacity of its servers. So many people clicked on its live stream and live blog coverage that the servers crashed, preventing NewsHour from tracking usage stats, according to spokesperson Anne Bell. But the program’s feed on live streaming website Ustream.tv had more than 500,000 total views. NewsHour’s election night special also hit the mark with traditional TV ratings. More than 6 million viewers tuned into the live coverage, topping audiences for NewsHour’s election night specials from both 2008 and 2004. n Questions, comments, tips? firstname.lastname@example.org
CPB has “no intention of forcing hostile takeovers,” Theriault said.
in Las Vegas. But the collaboration fund would be focused on “build it” money rather than “talk about it” money, Theriault said. A separate merger and collaboration fund supporting both radio and TV stations could be tapped in such earlier stages, he said, as well as CPB’s pot of money dedicated to general system support. Public Radio Capital can also help pay for consulting that would assist stations in the early stages of collaboration, said Dennis Hamilton, PRC’s director of consulting. The Revolving Public Media Fund, backed by PRC and a New York–based philanthropic investment nonprofit and unveiled Nov. 12, will provide matching grants to help cover the costs of consulting and strategic planning services (story, page 4). Other recommendations under consideration by CPB’s CSG review panel include:
| November 19, 2012 | 5
u Raising the minimum amount of nonfederal financial support required of CSG recipients. Some smaller stations that can’t meet the new standards would be exempted, but could receive smaller CSGs. u Setting a higher threshold for minority service grants, which are awarded to stations based on the percentage of minority listeners in their audiences. This change would reflect demographic shifts since CPB last set this requirement. u Revising Audience Service Criteria to reflect the new data being gathered through Arbitron’s Portable People Meter methodology. u Shortening the window for phasing out CSGs to stations that fall short of eligibility requirements. u Maintaining current funding levels for rural stations. n
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6 | November 19, 2012 | Current
Pubcasting veteran Allan Pizzato will succeed Randall Feldman as president of WYES-TV in New Orleans. Pizzato, who left Alabama Public Television this summer after a rift with the network’s governing board, takes over in January. Feldman, who has led the station for 22 years, is retiring. Pizzato “possesses a great depth of experience in award-winning television production, development, financial management, engineering and technical infrastructure, education and outreach, as well as leading successful new building construction and campaigns,” Jonathan McCall, chair of the WYES board, said in a statement. Pizzato served 12 years at Alabama Public Television prior to his dismissal in June. Pizzato had clashed with the politically appointed board over a proposal to air programs from the religious right (Current, June 25). He later sued the Alabama Educational Television Commission; that complaint is currently pending in the Alabama Supreme Court. Prior to his time in Alabama, Pizzato spent 13 years as g.m. and director of WSRETV in Pensacola, Fla., and seven years as station manager at WSIU-TV in Carbondale, Ill.
Jack Galmiche is the new chair of the Major Market Group, a consortium of 34 pubTV stations in the nation’s largest broadcast markets. Galmiche, president of Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, leads a roster of top station executives joining the MMG board: Rick Schneider of Miami’s WPBT, who is serving as vice chair; Jon Abbott of Boston’s WGBH; Bill Marrazzo of Philadelphia’s WHYY; and Neal Shapiro of New York’s WNET. Leaving the board are Doug Price of Denver-based Rocky
Pizzato, left, to manage WYES in New Orleans; Biandudi moves from radio hosting to TV reporting in Rochester; Feagins directs programming and production in Jacksonville. Mountain PBS and Don Boswell of WNED, Buffalo, N.Y. The appointments were announced at the group’s annual meeting Oct. 1 and 2 in Arlington, Va.
since 1970 to Robert Malesky, who seniorproduced NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years.
NPR Librarian Kee Malesky has penned a new book, Learn Something New Every Day: 365 Facts to Fulfill Your Life.
Heidi N. Moore, New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace, has left to join The Guardian US, the domestic online version of the U.K.based Guardian newspaper. Moore began work at Marketplace in 2011, where she reported on banking, finance and markets. Previously, she was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal covering banks and mergers, Securities and Exchange Commission investigations and major acquisitions. She also was a U.S. bureau chief for the London-based Dow Jones weekly newspaper and daily website, Financial News. The new local host of Morning Edition on WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., is Beth Adams, one of the city’s most recognized radio voices for more than 20 years and a former cohost of WHAM-AM’s morning news show. Most recently, Adams was marketing and communications specialist at the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, which assists young victims of sexual or physical abuse. While with WHAM, she broadcast from the White House and covered two Olympic Games and the Buffalo Bills’ first trip to the Super Bowl, in 1991. In other staff changes at WXXI: Morning Edition announcer Alex Crichton becomes local host of NPR’s All Things Considered as Hélène Biandudi, who previously anchored ATC, moves into a full-time
It’s a follow-up to her 2010 tome from publisher John Wiley & Sons, All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge, a compendium of interesting and unusual tidbits gleaned from more than two decades answering questions for NPR reporters, editors and hosts. Malesky originally worked in administration at NPR in the late 1970s, departing to get her master’s in library science from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She returned to the network’s broadcast library in 1984. She became the staff librarian for NPR’s arts magazine program Performance Today, and then moved to the news reference library in 1990. She has received several awards for her contributions to the profession, including the 2012 Dow Jones Leadership Award presented by the Special Libraries Association. She’s an active member of that group and Beta Phi Mu, the international honor society of librarianship. Malesky was born Christine Mary Shields, but became “Kee” when her youngest sister was learning to talk. She has been married
reporting role for WXXI-TV’s news program Need to Know Rochester. Claudia Marshall has left her spot as morning host on WFUV in New York City, which she has held since January 2001. “After 12 years of the 3:30 a.m. alarm, it’s simply time to move on. And to sleep in,” Marshall told listeners on the station’s website. “I have some exciting things in the works and when the time is right, I’ll share them.” WFUV’s evening host Corny O’Connell will take the 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekday air shift on an interim basis while the station conducts a national search. “It’s a rare opening at WFUV,” said Chuck Singleton, g.m., “and we’ll take this opportunity to consider how we can build on Claudia’s success.” Marshall’s final show was Oct. 26. Jessica Jordan is the new midday host on WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., taking over for veteran announcer Bill Redlin, who retired in August. Jordan previously was host and interviewer on Voice of Russia’s American Edition radio program. She also reported for WAMU from 2010 to 2011. Dan Gorenstein was recently appointed healthcare reporter at American Public Media’s Marketplace, covering the business and economics of healthcare. Gorenstein was a reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio from May 2001 to September 2012, and a reporter and researcher with The Chicago Reporter newspaper. He also interned at Minnesota Public Radio. Management Dual licensee WJCT in Jacksonville, Fla., has promoted one staffer and hired another. Karen Feagins is now director of programming and production, responsible for developing, overseeing and providing continuity for all non-news programs and promotion across all platforms. Feagins joined WJCT in 2005 and has filled a variety of roles — from on-air hosting and reporting duties to writing, directing and producing. Most recently, she served as both executive content producer and local Morning Edition host. Michelle Corum is taking over those roles, providing local news, weather and traffic as well as producing spot news reports and feature pieces. Her 10-year career includes time at pubradio stations WIAA-FM in Interlochen, Mich., and KANU-FM in Lawrence, Kan. She is also currently an adjunct communication professor for the online American Public University System. Staci Hoste is now director and general manager of Northern Public Radio, the five-station network licensed to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. She has served as interim director since the February 2012 death of longtime station leader Tim Emmons. “When it became clear Emmons would not survive his cancer,” the university said, “he worked closely with Hoste to craft a succession plan.” Hoste arrived at the station in 2008 as director of development. She is an NIU alum. James Morgese is the new director of educational telecommunications at Western Kentucky University, where he is overseeing dual licensee WKYU. During his long pubcasting career, Morgese spent 18 years at Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver, as chief executive and principal fundraiser, departing in 2008 to launch his own media consulting business. “I tried retirement in Florida,” Morgese told Current, “but I went crazy.” Morgese most recently served as executive director of the Charlotte (N.C.) Symphony Orchestra. In his previous pubcasting stint, Morgese sat on the boards of the Major Market Group, NETA and APTS, as well Continued on page 9
| November 19, 2012 | 7
Debate series launched on pubradio comes to PBS By Elizabeth Jensen
ntelligence Squared U.S., the nonpartisan public policy debate series airing on public radio and some public TV stations, is coming to PBS Plus in January, with Chicago’s WTTW as the presenting station. Eight debates will be offered monthly through 2013 during non-pledge periods, starting Jan. 17. The first episode takes on the provocative motion “Better Elected Islamists than Dictators.” The one-hour programs, which already air on more than 220 NPR stations, are condensed from recordings of the one-hourand-45-minute debates moderated by ABC News correspondent John Donvan before live audiences in New York. The series launched in 2006 as a nonprofit initiative of the Rosenkranz Foundation. “We felt that it was the right time to go national,” said Dana Wolfe, executive producer of Intelligence Squared U.S. In an interview, WTTW’s top TV executive Daniel Soles described the program as “a very unique offering” for the system: “thoughtful intelligent discussions on issues that affect us, presented in a way that allows the audience to make up their own minds.” Before each debate, members of the studio audience are polled on whether they
For the first PBS episode of Intelligence Squared U.S., offered for broadcast in January, panelists debate the motion, “Better Elected Islamists than Dictators.” (Photo: Samuel Lahoz) agree or disagree with the motion. A second poll is taken at the debate’s conclusion to determine whether the debate team arguing for or against the motion “wins”; the side that changes the most minds is declared the victor. “No one is demonized, and you’re rewarded by being articulate and presenting a good case,” said Soles, WTTW senior v.p.
and chief television content officer. A debate recorded Oct. 10 during the Chicago Ideas Week festival, for example, demonstrated how the viewers’ opinions can shift. The pre-debate poll on the motion to ration end-of-life care showed support by 43 percent, opposition from 22 percent against and 35 percent undecided. Following the
Downton Continued from page 1
enthusiasm. We knew stations were keen on having something around Downton to pledge.” During its first two seasons, Downton drew audiences that were nearly three times the size of PBS’s primetime average. The average household rating for first broadcasts of the series on PBS stations’ primary channels hit 2.8, according to TRAC Media Services. The comparable PBS primetime average household rating for the 2011–12 season was 0.96. Downton’s Season 2 finale, which debuted Feb. 19, was a blockbuster, scoring a whopping 3.5 average household rating. It was the highest-rated PBS primetime program since the September 2009 premiere of Ken Burns’ National Parks series. Viewers’ fascination with the fictional Crawley family and their servants has already been a financial boon to PBS and, indirectly, its member stations. PBS concluded fiscal 2012 with an $11 million surplus, accrued in part by revenues from the historical drama, according to financial statements presented during last month’s PBS Board of Directors meeting. To test Downton’s ability to bolster stations’ membership rolls, Wilson tapped Bob Marty, a veteran producer of on-air fundraising events, to create the Downton pledge special. Masterpiece producers at Boston’s WGBH reviewed rough cuts of the show, Wilson said. Downton “is a very important property” to many stakeholders, Wilson said, including NBCUniversal, which owns the title through its Carnival Film & Television Ltd. subsidiary, and series creator Julian Fellowes. “We wanted to be very careful to make sure those folks knew what we were planning,” he said. With a nod to the appeal of nostalgia in pledge programs, the special looks back at
Lansbury, at left, is “a total unbelievable fan of PBS,” said Bob Marty, producer of Downton Revisted. (Photo: courtesy PBS) past shows. It also whets viewers’ appetites for more with a sneak peek at Season 3, which premieres Jan. 6, 2013. “We made sure,” Marty said, “that we addressed the fan who knows everything about the series, as well as the person curious about the show because a friend recommended it.” Interviews with the cast and plenty of behind-the-scenes footage are also mixed in. British stage and television actor Angela Lansbury hosts the program. The star of the detective series Murder, She Wrote was Wilson and Marty’s first choice to host the show. The pre-taped segments in which she appears were recorded in New York shortly after Superstorm Hurricane Sandy hit the city, Marty said, and Lansbury “came through hell and high water, literally,” to participate in the shoot. “She’s a total unbelievable fan of PBS,” Marty said. “She couldn’t stop talking about Downton Abbey. She knows all the characters. I kept telling her, ‘I’m so grateful to you for doing this,’ and she said, ‘Only for PBS.’” The 90-minute run time of Downton Revisited includes pledge breaks, and PBS has designated it to air in common carriage at 8 p.m. EST.
Hands off local donors The special arrangements PBS made to reinforce viewers’ relationships with their local stations reflect sensitivities over PBS’s interactions with viewers. PBS set up an independent escrow account to collect donations for each station, and is using a third-party CPA for distribution of funds to stations. No pledge revenues or donor information will be collected by PBS. There will also be a centralized premium fulfillment center to take advantage of economies of scale, Wilson said. PBS is not taking a cut of contributions, but rather paying for the broadcast out of its general programming budget, not the separate fund for pledge programming. Stations will cover the costs of premiums, premium shipping and credit-card processing. Premiums include Downton Season 3 DVD sets, which will ship prior to their national retail availability in January. Stations can opt out of the nationally produced break material, but at Current’s press time at least 70 had signed on as full participants, according to Wilson. Others will insert their own local pledge breaks and manage phone banks themselves.
debate, support nearly doubled to 81 percent, 12 percent were opposed and just 7 percent remained undecided. An earlier version of the TV show aired on Bloomberg TV, and in the 2011–12 season the programs moved to WNET, WLIW and NJTV in the New York area. Select debates, different from those to be offered for broadcast through PBS Plus, also air on the digital World channel syndicated by American Public Television. All debates also stream live on FORA.tv and are archived on the Intelligence Squared U.S. website (http:// intelligencesquaredus.org). WTTW aired a handful of the shows in past seasons, including debates that were staged in Chicago, before deciding to sign on as presenting station for the PBS Plus distribution deal. “We’re really glad that after a few years these debates will finally be available to all the stations around the country,” Soles said. “I’m confident there is going to be a loyal following.” The NPR audience has steadily grown, Wolfe said, noting that the podcast is currently averaging 100,300 monthly downloads, up from 85,052 a year ago. She said producers are also developing a website widget that will allow stations to invite their listeners and viewers to vote on debate motions in advance of local broadcasts. n
There is a downside to opting out. Only stations that go full monty with Downton Revisited will be able to offer a special digital thank-you gift to donors: a free Downton iPhone and iPad app, available for the first time in the United States. It normally sells in Britain for about US$4.75. Mona Dixon, director of development at the Arkansas Educational Television Network Foundation, said AETN is “excited” about the program and plans to use the personalized number and web page provided by PBS. “I’m thrilled that PBS continues to try these national events,” she said. Oregon Public Broadcasting will run Downton Revisited but insert its own telephone number and website. “It’s great that PBS is trying new stuff,” said John Bell, director of membership and communications, but “we’re pretty protective of OPB branding.” Meanwhile, PBS is making good use of the revenue windfall that is thanks in part to Downton. During the Oct. 26 PBS Board meeting, PBS Vice Chair Molly Corbett Broad, the president of the American Council on Education who serves on the board as a general director, reported that PBS had closed fiscal 2012 with an $11 million surplus. She specifically cited revenues from Downton Abbey, as well as video-on-demand services and savings from job vacancies across the organization. PBS’s short-term investments also boosted the bottom line, according to spokesperson Jan McNamara. She declined to provide a breakdown of revenue growth by source. The PBS Board approved PBS management’s recommendation on how to allocate the earnings: $5.5 million went to the Digital Content Initiatives Fund, $3 million to content and $2.5 million to Roadmap for the Future, a board-managed fund supporting projects that strengthen system sustainability. The balance went into undesignated net assets. n Questions, comments, tips? email@example.com
8 | November 19, 2012 | Current
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In par tnership with PMBA, we’ve built a career center specifically for people in public media. It’s a power ful set of tools to help match public media professionals with the right oppor tunities. Log on to take a test drive at jobs.current.org. For employers, easily post and manage your job oppor tunities in print and online, set up prescreening applicant filters, accept online applications and easily post your job opening to many other sites with one click. For job seekers, post your resume in our anonymous resume database, set up targeted job notifications, search by state or job function. There’s much more. V i s i t j o b s . c u r r e n t . o r g t o d a y.
KPBS journalist Gloria Penner
loria Penner, a senior political correspondent who spent 43 years with San Diego’s KPBS-TV/FM, died Oct. 6 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was Penner 81. “KPBS would not be the same today if it wasn’t for the contributions of Gloria Penner,” said Tom Karlo, KPBS g.m., in a statement. When Penner joined KPBS (then KEBS) in Dec. 1969, she had already worked in broadcast journalism in San Francisco, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. She held many posts at the station: writer, producer, host, political correspondent, public affairs director and blogger. She headed up KPBS-TV’s production unit and hosted KPBS Radio’s These Days (now KPBS Midday Edition) from 1995 until 1999. Penner moderated scores of town hall meetings, debates and forums for KPBS Radio and TV as well as the League of Women Voters. She hosted the Friday Editors Roundtable on KPBS-FM for nearly 14 years. During her decades in pubcasting, Penner became one of KPBS’s most honored journalists. She won seven Emmys, five Golden Mikes, two Gracies, the Harold Keen Award from the San Diego Press Club, the John Swett Award from the California Teachers Association and the Living Legacy Award from the Women’s International Center. In 2003, the San Diego Chapter of the League of Women Voters created the Gloria Penner Award for Civic Service, with Penner as the first recipient. She was born Elaine Gloria Stern on April 17, 1931, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Penner earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and did graduate work in English at New York University. She held a master’s degree in English from Syracuse University. Penner is survived by her husband, Bill Snyder; sons Brad Penner and Steve Penner; and two grandchildren. A memorial service took place Oct. 30 at the Sherwood Auditorium of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla location.
John Battison, founded Society of Broadcast Engineers
ohn Battison, former director of engineering at WOSU-TV in Columbus, Ohio, and founder of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, died Aug. 28 at his home near Loudonville, Ohio. He was 96. Battison had a long and interesting career in broadcasting, working for CBS, ABC and Saudi Television in Saudi Arabia. In 1955, he built his own television station, KAVE, in New Mexico. He was chief engineer at WOSU at Ohio State University from 1979–85.
Battison planted the seeds for the SBC by writing an editorial for the December 1961 issue of Broadcast Engineering magazine in which he called for an organization dedicated solely to the professional needs of his colleagues. The group’s first meeting convened in Chicago on April 5, 1964, during the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention. Today, the Society of Broadcast Engineers counts more than 5,300 members in 100 chapters worldwide. In recognition of his professional achievements — which included writing more than 1,000 published articles on broadcasting issues — the SBE renamed its award honoring career achievements in broadcast engineering the John Battison Lifetime Achievement Award. Battison was born Sept. 11, 1915, in Wembley, England, and grew up in London. He served as a Royal Air Force bomber pilot in World War II and immigrated to America in 1946. He served for more than two decades as a priest in the Anglican Church. He is survived by his wife, Sara; daughters Penny and Victoria (Dan); sons Christopher (Sara) and Mark (Linda); four granddaughters; and one great-grandson.
Retsek, veteran of KCET and KPFK’s The Car Show
ohn Retsek, a production designer who wore many hats during a 43-year career at KCET in Los Angeles and created one of the longest-running radio programs in Los Angeles, Retsek KPFK’s The Car Show, died in his sleep Oct. 31 at home in San Pedro, Calif. He was 75. He had retired in April from KCET. The Car Show debuted on KPFK in 1973. Ruth Seymour, who later built KCRW into a public radio powerhouse, was running KPFK at the time and put him on the air. “John Retsek was a bona fide authority, and, like his partner, Len Frank, who went before him, almost vexingly correct on every subject that I ever engaged him on,” said LA Car editor-at-large Doug Stokes in a statement. “He was gentle but blunt, and accurate to a half of a quarter-millimeter.” He began at KCET station in 1969, and worked on Hollywood Television Theater and the groundbreaking Carl Sagan series Cosmos, among other productions. He won Emmys for his work as an art director. Later in his career, he was the station’s archivist. Retsek wrote for several car magazines and enjoyed Grand Prix racing, according to his Los Angeles Times obituary. “He had a lifelong love affair with sailboat racing that began on Lake Michigan as a young boy,” it said. He was born July 4, 1937, in Michigan City, Ind., son of John and Berneth (Cash) Retseck. Survivors include his wife, Maureen; daughters Amanda and Stephanie; son Dylan; two grandchildren; brothers Ronald and James; and sister Sharon. In honor of his 1978 shipboard marriage to Maureen, a memorial took place Nov. 16 at Cabrillo Marina Plaza in San Pedro. n Send obituary news to firstname.lastname@example.org
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2012) warning that NPR would end the year with an operating deficit. The NPR board’s resource development committee discussed the financial results during meetings in Washington, D.C., this month. “We had a very aggressive goal for 2012,” said Steve Moss, NPR’s chief sales rep at National Public Media, in an interview. “Looking at the performance of the previous two years, we felt like there was a lot of momentum there. And, while we did see some positive signs in 2012, we also saw some pullback in certain areas.” Underwriting sales had been strong in both of the previous two fiscal years, Moss said, and NPR budgeted for continued growth in 2012 that didn’t materialize. One of the pullbacks pinching NPR is the close of its three-year contract with Ally Bank, one of its biggest underwriting clients, as the sole sponsor of Planet Money. The underwriting deal drew criticism in 2009 because of the sponsor’s interest in the subject that Planet Money covers — financial and business news. Representatives of Ally said their decision to end the contract boiled down to a shift in their marketing strategy.
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as chairing the Pacific Mountain Network board. He was also local program manager and station manager at WUFT-TV, Gainesville, Fla. WYPR-FM in Baltimore has named Joel McCord as news director. McCord has been a reporter at the station since 2003. In his new role, he will direct an expanding staff of reporters. McCord has nearly 40 years of newsroom experience, including as a contributing editor for Chesapeake Bay Magazine, reporter and editor for the Baltimore Sun, and reporter for Capital Gazette newspapers. Shaun Yu, interim co-manager of WDPR in Dayton, Ohio, has been promoted to station president. He succeeds Georgie Woessner, who retired in June. During the leadership transition Yu has been overseeing WDPR with a station volunteer who is also a board member. “It is my honor to lead this organization, which is rooted so firmly in Dayton,” Yu said in a prepared statement. “The fact that we can boast of a full-time classical music station speaks of the extraordinary support of this community.” Search committee chair and WDPR board member Linda Menz said 30 candidates were under consideration for the job. Yu joined WDPR in 2007 as the station’s first program director. Prior to that, he served as morning host/ producer at the former KBPS in Portland, Ore., now broadcasting under the call letters KQAC. He was also program director at KKJZ in Long Beach, Calif., as well as music director and midday host at that station. KLRE-FM in Little Rock, Ark., has hired Regina Scruggs as its program director. Scruggs has more than three decades of broadcasting programming, production, operations and management experience, 20 years of that in public radio. Previously Scruggs worked for KUHF-FM in Houston, where she produced and hosted the weekly soundtrack show Music from the Movies and Live From Festival Hill, featuring performances from the major summer music series presented by the Round Top Festival Institute at Round Top, Texas. Scruggs also directed
“We regularly review our marketing and advertising initiatives, and make adjustments accordingly,” Ally spokeswoman Jessica Howell said. “We were pleased to be the inaugural sponsor for NPR’s Planet Money and maintain that partnership for three years; however, we are exploring other marketing opportunities for 2013.” Moss declined to comment on the end of the Moss underwriting deal, but said that NPM sees plenty of potential to find new sponsors for Planet Money. The uniquely branded multiplatform reporting series “lends itself to a multisponsor approach,” he said. “Three years ago maybe not as much. But now, with the growth of the show, it might.” Still, he said, “We wouldn’t rule out a single-sponsor opportunity.” The loss of Ally Bank highlights the challenge NPM faces in the underwriting market: frequent turnover amongst its sponsors. NPM had 256 clients onboard in fiscal 2012, but the churn rate of 45 percent was higher than average. Turnover among sponsors typically ranges from 35 to 43 percent, Moss said,
and sales reps receive bonuses for bringing in new clients. “We’re good at bringing new people in, but the churn rate is a little higher than it should be and we’re looking at that,” Moss said. NPR did see some positive growth for the year, especially in fundraising. The development staff surpassed its fundraising goals by 5 percent in 2012, bringing in a total of $31.2 million. Individual gift receipts of $10.3 million were up 18 percent from 2011. For fiscal year 2013, NPM is forecasting sponsorship revenues of $47.8 million, with some 82 percent, or $39 million, in radio spot sales. Digital sponsorship sales will bring in the balance.
programming at the former KLEF-FM in Houston and the city-owned classical station WRR-FM in Dallas.
Yvette Cook, v.p. and chief strategy officer of GPB Media in Atlanta, has joined the board of DEI (The Development Exchange Inc.). Cook was recently recognized as among the Most Powerful and Influential Women of Georgia in 2012 by the National Diversity Council. “Yvette has distinguished herself through great work in some of America’s most important media markets, and I believe she will be a great DEI partner,” said DEI Board Chair Mikel Ellcessor.
Governance Several pubcasters were elected to the board of the Society of Broadcast Engineers in the group’s first online election. New directors serving two-year terms are Andrea Cummis, senior director of engineering and operations at WNET, New York; John Heimerl, v.p. of strategic technologies, WHRO, Norfolk, Va.; and Wayne M. Pecena, director of engineering, KAMU, College Station, Texas. Returning to the board for his second one-year term as president is Ralph Hogan, director of engineering, KJZZ-FM/ KBAQ-FM, Tempe, Ariz.
Downward pressure on digital ads The potential for growth in digital ad revenues is limited, Moss told NPR board members Nov. 8, because of increased competition and downward pressure on the prices of online ads. “I wouldn’t say we’re at the point of flatlining,” Moss told the board. “But we’re at a point of slower growth.”
Marketing Dual licensee Illinois Public Media at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana has hired new directors of marketing and membership. Lisa Bralts is the new marketing chief; she previously ran the City of Urbana’s
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John Herrmann, vice chair of the resource development committee, said the slowdown in digital ad sales was worrisome considering the investments that NPR and stations are making in online operations. “If there’s no return, why do it?” Herrmann asked. Building digital capacity is an important strategic investment for NPR and its stations as news organizations, said President Gary Knell. “Digital is now running through the DNA of everything,” Knell said. Digital sponsorships play an important role in building NPM’s overall sales, Moss said, because many companies pair on-air spots with digital ads. He estimated that up to 10 percent of radio revenue would be lost if sales reps couldn’t package on-air and online placements together. NPR derives up to 75 percent of its digital revenues from sales of banner display ads, 10 percent from podcasts and 15 percent from mobile. To boost digital revenues, Moss said, NPR and NPM need to pursue innovative approaches to digital marketing. He pointed to an Election Day campaign for Jeep that ran on NPR.org and its mobile platforms. It brought in $55,000 in one day alone. “We have not peaked yet, but if we stand still we will,” Moss told the board. n Comments, questions, tips? email@example.com
farmer’s market, and directed marketing and development for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. She has contributed commentaries to WILL-AM, and won a 2011 Associated Press Journalism Excellence award for In My Backyard, a series about the intersection of local food and neighborhoods. John Steinbacher will direct membership. He came to the station from the Champaign-based International Society of Arboriculture, a professional organization with 21,000 members worldwide, where he headed membership activities. He also produces and co-hosts a weekly show on local community radio station WEFT. Bralts and Steinbacher succeed former director of membership and marketing Rita Schulte, who retired in June. n Please send People items to firstname.lastname@example.org
10 | November 19, 2012 | Current
Current Classifieds About our new Public Media Career Center: Current and PMBA are pleased to announce the launch of the Public Media Career Center, a new online career center designed specifically for people in public media. Its purpose is to connect you with the best talent in public media. You’ll find the new site through the jobs page at Current.org or directly at jobs.current.org.
For Job Seekers:
• Create an account to easily manage your print and online job advertisements—even boxed display ads. • Enjoy new flexible packages for both online and print • Set up pre-screen filters for employers to filter qualified candidates • Accept online applications directly through our site • Search and utilize our anonymous resume database
• Search by state or job function Create personal job alerts to be notified of opportunities in their field. • Post your resume in our anonymous resume database. (Prospective employers will onl your personal information with permission)
Management/Finance President and General Manager WNIT-TV, South Bend, IN WNIT-TV President & General Manager WNIT-TV, Michiana Public Broadcasting Corporation Inc., located in South Bend, Indiana is seeking a strong leader and experienced manager to serve as its President & General Manager. Major areas of responsibility include developing and implementing strategic initiatives, cultivating relationships with major donors, corporate underwriters and community partners, and overseeing daily operations. The preferred candi-
If you are a member of PMBA or have a Current Group Subscription of 5 or more copies coming
date will have demonstrated business acumen, financial and accounting skills, fiscal planning, entrepreneurial drive, and effective communication skills with all stakeholders. Ability to foster an environment that inspires and encourages our team of highly functioning professionals. WNIT-TV operates with a staff of 21, and has an annual operating budget of approximately $3 million. The ideal candidate should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent experience. The applicant must have seven to ten years work experience with five years at the senior management level. It is preferable that the candidate should have experience in the area of
to your station you are eligible for a 15% discount on all job postings. Contact Kathleen Unwin for details.
Please Note A Few Important Housekeeping Details: • All credit card processing and invoicing will be handled by our partner, JobTarget. Credit cards will be processed securely and instantly. • Current will post an electronic
media, but it is not required. The successful candidate must believe in the mission of public broadcasting. Applications must include: (1) a cover letter describing how the candidate’s education, training, and experience meet or exceed the skills sets and job responsibilities listed, (2) a detailed professional resume, and (3) a list of three professional references who have worked directly with or for the applicant. WNIT is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For the position description information and to submit application materials please go to: www.wnit.org/apply/genmgr.html.
version of the classifieds on our website for tear sheet purposes. If your station requires a hard copy tear sheet of your classified, please contact Kathleen Unwin to request one. We value your feedback. Please let us know how your experience is. Best, Kathleen Unwin, Advertising Director email@example.com 877-745-8776 x1
General Manager RSU Public TV/KRSC-TV, Claremore, OK RSU Public Television seeks a full time General Manager. This salaried position will be an important part of the leadership team at RSU Public TV. Job Type: Full time. Min Education: BA/BS/Undergraduate. Min Experience: 3-5 years. Required Travel: 10-25%. For more information and application instructions, visit www.rsu.edu/employment. Contact person: Kristi Mallett, phone: 918.343.7796, fax: 918.343.7675, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, mailing address: 1701 W Will Rogers Blvd, Claremore, OK 74017. AA/EOE. Continued on next page
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska Educational Telecommunications The University of Nebraska-Lincoln seeks applications and nominations of highly qualified individuals for the position of General Manager and CEO of Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET). NET is one of the most honored producers of exceptional public service television and radio broadcasting in the nation. The GM and CEO of NET will be the person charged with leading one of Nebraska’s most trusted and unifying institutions. The General Manager and CEO reports to the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the NET Commission. Working closely with the Board of Commissioners, the Board of Directors for TV/Radio Foundations, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, the NET management team and extended organization, NET’s member stations, and other producers of public television, radio, and digital content, the next General Manager and CEO will be responsible for leading NET to be a high-performing media organization that provides valuable service to the people of Nebraska. Interested, qualified individuals should provide an electronic version of their cover letter, current resume and references for the position by December 15, 2012. All nominations and applications should be sent electronically via e-mail (Microsoft Word or PDF attachments strongly preferred) to: NETGM@spencerstuart.com Further information may be found at: http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/ other/net-career-information To ensure full consideration, materials should be submitted electronically as soon as possible.
The University of Nebraska has an active National Science Foundation ADVANCE gender equity program, and is committed to a pluralistic campus community through affirmative action, equal opportunity, work-life balance, and dual careers.
General Manager Classical Music Station Western United States Our client seeks a General Manager for an all Classical public radio station in Director of Development the Western United States, whose current GM is retiring, and who is likely to Illinois Publicrole Media have an ongoing at the station. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign The ideal candidate will be at energetic, entrepreneurial and externally focused, including being a highly effective advocate and spokesperson for the
The Directorinofthe Development provides leadership and administrative organization community. The GM will be the lead fundraiser for the organization, with commitment to and demonstrated success Public in relationship management of the Development Department at Illinois centered fundraising, including major donor and corporate (underwriting). Media, with overall responsibility for fund development and The Board of Directors believes Underwriting is a major opportunity for this marketing of the WILL stations. The Director supervises staff organization, and is seeking someone who can help drive success in the area, engaged fund development, membership, including in hiring and managing theincluding staff and assisting in the corporate cultivation and close process. support, major gifts and grants, and staff engaged in marketing, The organization has a and proud heritage ofpress serving its mid-sized city,design, located in including advertising promotion, relations, graphic a physically stunning geographical setting, and the station is a well-respectprogram guide and newsletter production. Bachelor’s degree and ed, listened to and valued institution. ﬁve years non-proﬁt development experience required.
We are conducting this search out of respect to the current General Manager, who will announce their retirement concurrently with the naming of the new General Manager. SALARY: Commensurate with experience, but not less than $80,000 The General Manager serves as the leader of the organization and as its pubannually. lic representative, reporting to the board of directors. The General Manager works in partnership with the board to ensure that the organization fulfills its Illinois Mediastrategies at the University ofthe Illinois is anfuture Afﬁrmative mission Public and creates that ensure station’s success.
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to building a Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. community of excellence, equity and diversity. HOW TO
Complete candidate proﬁ le at https://jobs.illinois.edu and upload Livingstona Associates is accepting resumes for this position. Please theresume, full joband posting atthree www.livingstonassociates. a covervisit letter, list of professional references. net.consideration For consideration, please a letter, resume and Full will be given to submit applications received by January a list2011. of at least three professional references at Livingston 14, Contact Dee Breeding, HR Specialist, at breeding@ Associates’for online application system at www.livingstonassociillinois.edu more information, or visit http://will.illinois.edu/ ates.net. jobs/ Search assistance provided by Livingston Associates – Public Media’s People.
Date for full consideration: Monday, January 7, 2013.
Livingston Associates, 3000 Chestnut Avenue, Suite 208, Baltimore, MD 21211 Livingston Associates, 3000 Chestnut Avenue, Suite 208, Baltimore, MD 21211 P 410.243.1974 | www.livingstonassociates.net P 410.243.1974 | www.livingstonassociates.net
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President and General Manager Northeast Indiana Public Radio, Ft. Wayne, IN Northeast Indiana Public Radio (NIPR) seeks a general manager for its twostation public radio service, providing NPR news and music on 89.1 FM and classical music on 94.1 FM to listeners across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. NIPR is a not-for-profit community organization whose mission is to “engage our community with content that enriches the human experience.” The successful candidate will possess strong leadership, management, and communications skills and will exhibit high ethical standards, including trustworthiness and demonstrated fiscal responsibility. The successful candidate will have demonstrated ability to identify, act decisively, show good judgment, and solve problems. The successful candidate will provide demonstrated ability to perform the following responsibilities. 1. Management—Must be able to provide strong leadership and guidance to a nine-member staff of nine through the following skills: Ability to establish annual operating goals and business plan; Ability to effectively delegate responsibilities; Ability to provide clearly defined expectations, consistent follow through, and measures of accountability to staff; Ability to communicate effectively with staff, volunteers, and Board of Trustees. 2. Financial acumen—Must be able to manage an annual budget of $1.2million, through the following skills: Ability to provide strategic direction for annual budget; Ability to monitor the operating budget monthly and make appropriate adjustments to keep it balanced; Ability to determine efficiency improvements to adjust budget as necessary; Ability to seek new opportunities to increase revenue. 3. Industry knowledge—Must exhibit broad technical knowledge related to radio in general, and public radio in particular, through the following skills: Basic knowledge of radio broadcasting fundamentals; Knowledge of FCC regulations; Knowledge of broadcasting ratings and their importance to public radio; Basic knowledge of radio technology and current trends in new technology. 4. Community relations— Must be able to establish and maintain strong relationships within the communities served, through the following skills: Ability to communicate effectively with community and business leaders, including written and verbal communication, and media relation skills; Ability to be seen as a collaborator and as a leader among the communities served by NIPR; Ability to serve as effective spokesperson for NIPR. 5. Fundraising—Must be able to effectively raise funds in the nonprofit business model, through the following skills: Ability to establish and maintain strong relationships with various not for profit organizations and foundations; Ability to establish relationships with and secure funding from high capacity individuals; Ability to determine grant opportunities and
secure grant writing resources; Ability to determine additional fundraising opportunities and implement them. Qualified candidates should send cover letter and resume, with salary requirements through mail or email, by November 30, 2012. NIPR is an equal opportunity employer. Send application materials to: Will Murphy, P.O. Box 8459, Fort Wayne, IN 46898. Email: email@example.com Chief Financial Officer Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, MN The overall goal of this position is to lead tpt’s financial management and reporting, building administration and process design and management to support the planning and execution of strategic initiatives across the organization. We are seeking a leader with the financial acumen as well as experience in process improvement, resource and business development experience to lead tpt’s financial division. The ideal leader will have broadcast industry knowledge and experience to be effective in short and long term organizational strategy, business development and “start-up” processes and initiatives experience, and the ability and working knowledge to lead facilities projects that ensure quality resources are available for staff, vendors and project partners. If you have a track record of success and significant accomplishments in the areas above, we want to talk to you! Please visit our Career Center for a full position description and requirements at http://www.tpt.org/?a=careers to upload your cover letter and resume. Twin Cities Public Television is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer
donors; assisting staff with public/media and outreach; representing KXWT at community events; researching and writing solicitations, grant proposals, and other development-related communications. EEO. Complete description and application process at kxwt.org/ job/
Programming/Production Morning Edition Host/ News Reporter Nebraska Public Radio and Television (NET) Join the award winning, innovative, fast paced news team at NET (Nebraska Public Radio and Television) as the host of Morning Edition. In addition to being radio host for Morning Edition, which includes running the board, doing live interviews, weather and promos, this full-time reporter will be part of our 8-person multimedia news team (NET News) creating cross-platform news stories for radio, web and television. Enjoy the good life in Lincoln, a growing, progressive city with over 250,000 residents, several colleges and universities, a rich cultural community including a symphony orchestra, an active community theatre, semi-professional baseball team and walking and biking trails throughout the city filled with warm, friendly, hard-working Midwesterners. For more information about this position, and to apply, please visit www. netNebraska.org
| November 19, 2012 | 11
Producer/Reporter Valley Public Radio, Fresno, CA Valley Public Radio seeks a qualified individual to produce Valley Edition, the station’s weekly magazine program. This includes researching topics, booking guests and assisting with production of the program. This part-time position also involves original news reporting for Valley Edition and other station programs. For more information visit http:// www.kvpr.org/employment Reporter Valley Public Radio, Fresno, CA Valley Public Radio is seeking a reporter to cover one of California’s most diverse and dynamic regions, the San Joaquin Valley. The ideal candidate is a gifted journalist who seeks out stories that would otherwise go untold, possesses innate curiosity and determination. The candidate will be eager to work in a small but ambitious newsroom, and will be well versed in sharing stories on a variety of platforms, including audio, the web and social media. For more information visit http://www.kvpr.org/ employment Five Production Positions Maryland Public Television, Owings Mills Maryland Public Television is searching for five energetic, seasoned professionals who can thrive under deadline presContinued on next page
Development/Marketing Program Director New Hampshire Public Radio Concord, NH
Director of Advancement Blue Ridge PBS, Roanoke, VA Blue Ridge PBS, a public media entity serving western Virginia and portions of four other states from Roanoke, VA, is searching for a Director of Advancement. The ideal candidate will be able to successfully guide the station’s fundraising efforts, leading an outstanding team of experienced professionals. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and five year’s non-profit fundraising experience preferred. A passion for public media is crucial. Excellent oral, written and presentation skills and an ability to lead effectively in a rapidly changing media environment essential. Must be able to successfully solicit major and planned gifts. Some regional travel required. EOE. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Apply online with cover letter and resume at www. blueridgepbs.org/employment. Development Director KXWT/Marfa Public Radio, Midland/Odessa, TX KXWT 91.3 FM, an affiliate of KRTS Marfa Public Radio, seeks seasoned development professional for relaunch of public radio in Midland/Odessa, Texas. Responsible for underwriting; creating new funding sources and maintaining relationships with current/past
Director of Development New Hampshire Public Radio seeks a Program Director. Illinois Public Media New Hampshire Public Radio is the local and NPR service for the state of New Hampshire. NHPR is committed to bringing the different regions of this state University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign together. We strive to include everyone in the conversation, and continue to
bring in new listeners both on-air through new signals in the North Country The Director of Development provides leadership and administrative and online by expanding content for on-demand access. We believe that the management ofknows the Development Department more each of us about the daily realities of at ourIllinois fellow Public residents, the more able weoverall will be responsibility to pull in unison solvedevelopment our common problems and Media, with fortofund and improve ourofcommunities. marketing the WILL stations. The Director supervises staff Responsibility anddevelopment, Objective: The Program membership, Director is responsible for the engaged in fund including corporate management of NHPR’s Programming Department; direct reports include the support, major giftsPromotions and grants, and staff in marketing, Operations Manager, Manager, On engaged Air Hosts and the Senior Producers of NHPR’s locally produced shows, The Exchange, Wordgraphic of Mouth and The including advertising and promotion, press relations, design, Folk Show.guide The Program Director production. also oversees Classical NH.degree Responsibilities program and newsletter Bachelor’s and include management of the program schedule and programming elements; ﬁaudience ve yearsresearch non-proﬁ t development experience with required. and analysis; the relationships the national networks, distributors and independent producers; and supervise the production of
on-air fund drives. The Program Director manages the less station’s SALARY: Commensurate with experience, but not thanCommunity $80,000 Advisory Board. This position works closely with the President/CEO, News annually. Director and the VP for Development to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization, and works with Human Resources to recruit, develop and
retain the bestMedia possible Illinois Public atstaff. the University of Illinois is an Afﬁrmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to building a NHPR is an EEO Employer. community of excellence, equity and diversity.
Livingstona Associates is assisting NHPR in this search.and Please Complete candidate proﬁ le at https://jobs.illinois.edu upload visit the full job posting at www.livingstonassociates.net. a cover letter, resume, and list of three professional references. For consideration, submit cover letter, resume, professional Full consideration will be given to applications received by January references and salary requirements for the Program Director 14, 2011.at www.nhpr.org/about Contact Dee Breeding,in HR at breeding@ position the Specialist, Job Opportunities secillinois.edu forconsideration, more information, or visit http://will.illinois.edu/ tion. For full applications must be submitted by st jobs/ Search December 31assistance , 2012. provided by Livingston Associates – Public Media’s People.
Livingston Associates, 3000 Chestnut Avenue, Suite 208, Baltimore, MD 21211 Livingston Associates, 3000 Chestnut Avenue, Suite 208, Baltimore, MD 21211 P 410.243.1974 | www.livingstonassociates.net P 410.243.1974 | www.livingstonassociates.net
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sure and deliver 13 30-minute magazine-style programs for broadcast and multimedia distribution over Maryland Public Television’s statewide network. Our new ground breaking series about agriculture in Maryland will tell stories about farming in an entertaining and informative style – namely the people, places and diverse agricultural production found around the state. Salary(s): Commensurate with experience. Closing Date: Open Until Filled. As an equal opportunity employer Maryland is committed to recruiting, retaining and promoting employees who are reflective of the state’s diversity. Series Producer The Series Producer is responsible for producing and delivering 13 30-minute magazine-style programs about agriculture in Maryland. The competitive candidate for Producer will be a creative self-starter with career experience delivering award-winning television programs on-budget and on-deadline, and managing the day-to-day operations of a series and a series staff. Minimum Qualifications: Candidates will have: at least 5 years’ experience managing a television series and its staff; exceptional staff management and interpersonal communication skills; strong broadcast-feature producing, writing and editing skills and the reel to prove it; strong production-planning and -execution skills; expertise in the operation of AVID Media Composer software; a solid background in journalism, and the ability to understand and use the latest HD broadcast production technologies to create an intelligent, timely and relevant series. Candidate must possess a valid driver’s license. Associate/Segment Producers: (2 Positions) The Associate\Segment Producer is responsible primarily for researching, writing, producing and editing feature segments and other program elements for 13 30 minute programs. Minimum Qualifications: The competitive candidate for Associate\Segment Producers will be a motivated self-starter and have: at least 3 years’ experience researching, producing, and editing broadcast features; solid writing skills; expertise in the operation of AVID Media Composer software; a strong background in journalism, and the ability to understand and use the latest HD broadcast production technologies to assist in the creation of an intelligent, timely and relevant series. Candidate must possess a valid driver’s license. Videographer: The Videographer is responsible for capturing high-quality video and audio for use in creating 13 30-minute programs. Minimum Qualifications: The candidate will be an energetic self-starter and have: at least four years’ experience shooting broadcast news\feature footage; the ability to direct scenes and follow the action on location; direct talent; technical mastery of the Sony
PMW-100 and PDW700 XDcam cameras and/or similar cameras, as well as accompanying lenses, filters, and accessories, and its approved recording media; understanding of color temperatures in relation to camera filters; the ability to use different frame rates and shutter speeds; Genlock to sync timecode for multiple cameras; the ability to use the FP33 Shure mixer for more than 2 mics; an advanced understanding of digital media; expertise in the offloading and archiving of video and audio files from recording media; understanding of location lighting techniques such as mood; three point, and color correction; the ability to simultaneously set-up, monitor and record audio during shooting using hardwired and wireless lavaliere and shotgun microphones. A valid driver’s license is required. Avid Online\Story Editor: The AVID Online\Story Editor is responsible for the timely creation and delivery of assigned segments and elements to create 13 30-minute programs about agriculture in Maryland. Minimum Qualifications: The competitive candidate for AVID Online\Story Editor is a creative storyteller who has: at least 5 years’ experience independently constructing and editing segments and programs using AVID software and following approved scripting; technical expertise in the operation of AVID Media Composer, PC software version 6.5; a thorough understanding of digital media creation, manipulation and archival storage; video and audio effects, and transitions; the ability to construct a compelling story arc and create appropriate storytelling devices using effects, graphics and transitions; expertise in the use of After Effects and Photoshop. The AVID Online\Story Editor will assemble and deliver the finished program in the prescribed time frame on Sony XD disc, as well as an AVID Sequence with all associated project information including wav files, graphics, OMF and\or AAF
files for archival purposes. Candidates must possess a valid driver’s license. General Information: For each of the positions listed interested candidates should submit a CV with references; a reel containing at least 3 samples of past work written, edited or shot by the candidate(s), delivered on DVD or online; and 3 feature segment script samples to: Maryland Public Television, Human Resources Department 11767 Owings Mills Blvd Owings Mills, Maryland 21117, firstname.lastname@example.org. Maryland Public Television is a leader in the production of broadcast programming for public television. MPT’s local/regional television credits include public affairs, original performance and documentary programs for the citizens of Maryland. Beyond broadcast MPT creates instructional videos, develops training and builds internet sites that serve tens of thousands of students, teachers and child-care providers annually. MPT outreach activities, especially relating to arts, culture and history, take place in areas of the State to further fulfill MPT’s mission to engage, enlighten and entertain. Our state of the art television facility is in Owings Mills, Maryland. The campus-like setting provides plenty of free parking and is an easy commute from any location in the greater Baltimore metropolitan area. Talk Show Producer Iowa Public Radio, Iowa City Iowa Public Radio seeks a knowledgeable and dedicated radio professional to join our staff as Talk Show Producer. Located in the Iowa City office, this individual is responsible for producing Iowa Public Radio’s talk shows, which are Talk of Iowa and River to River. This includes developing, researching, preparing, coordinating, and presenting topics that are relevant, interesting, and engaging to Iowans through subject matter and knowledgeable guests. Visit iowapublicradio.org for more informa-
| November 19, 2012 | 13
tion and to apply. IPR is an EO employer. Reporter Iowa Public Radio, Cedar Rapids Iowa Public Radio seeks a knowledgeable and dedicated journalist to join our news staff as Reporter. Located in the Cedar Rapids bureau, this individual will brainstorm, research, compile, edit, and file news stories on behalf of IPR for distribution across the network, affiliate broadcast organizations, and NPR. Additionally, this position will produce features and news wraps, develop and produce special news programs, produce varied multimedia elements, and serve as a program host on an as needed basis. Visit Iowa Public Radio for more information and to apply. IPR is an EO employer. News Director KVNO, University of Nebraska, Omaha News Director-KVNO 90.7 FM at the University of Nebraska at Omaha leads/ manages planning, production, presentation of news; supervises news staff. Additional information: http://www. unomaha.edu, http://www.visitomaha. com/ Job Requirements: Four-year degree in journalism or related field required. Minimum three years full-time professional experience in journalism -- preferably radio news. Familiarity with public radio news programming standards and values. Must have ability to work within a live program environment. Must have experience in broadcast production, news writing and editing. View description/apply on-line: www. unomaha.edu/humanresources/employment.php. Upload audition tape or send CD to Dana Buckingham, KVNO, UNO, 6001 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68182. For assistance, contact Human Resources, 402.554-2321. UNO is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and participates in E-Verify.
14 | November 19, 2012 | Current
Unleash TV grantmakers and creativity will thrive Ron Hull, a leader in Nebraska public television since the 1950s, recommends that CPB consider reinstating the semi-autonomy of its grantmakers in TV programming. That was how CPB’s Television Program Fund was set up in 1982 when he succeeded Lewis Freedman as the fund’s director. Hull bases this commentary on a chapter of his new book, Backstage: Stories from My Life in Public Television, published in October by the University of Nebraska Press.
Commentary by Ron Hull
uring the 1980s I was the fortunate guy in the right place at the right time when the CPB Board appointed me director of the CPB Program Fund for public television. The Program Fund, a most creative idea from CPB President Robben Fleming, was designed to insulate program-funding decisions from politics, reserving that authority to the Fund’s director and staff. In 1980, Fleming, a former president of two big state universities —Wisconsin and Michigan — had proposed that the CPB Board restrict its own and its president’s decision-making in national TV program funding. Neither the board itself nor its appointed president and staff would make program grant decisions. An astute and experienced executive, Fleming succeeded in persuading
the board to adopt the proposal because of station managers’ widespread support for the change. It gave more influence on program decisions to both stations and independent producers. The board also agreed to prohibit itself from even discussing individual program decisions, which affected a major share of CPB’s budget. When CPB brought me to Washington as the Program Fund’s second director, in 1982, the Fund was spending more than $20 million annually. When I left in 1988, the outlay was more than $40 million a year. The amount grew from 11 percent to 18 percent of the congressional appropriation. With this major commitment from CPB’s congressional appropriation, the Fund looked outward to a universe of program-makers, instead of inward to a small board of White House appointees chosen in many cases for their loyalty to one or the other of the two major parties. In a staff report, CPB’s oversight committee in Congress observed that CPB board members had been involved so deeply in past grant decisions that they had read producers’ proposals and scripts. Giving the Program Fund a measure of autonomy not only avoided the decisions-bycommittee problem; it invited an outpouring of heartfelt creative ideas from myriad producers, both independents and those at
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PBS stations, from every corner of America. Although the Fund director made some programming decisions unilaterally, the largest share of the dollars went to producers through a highly competitive, open and relatively democratic consideration by “panels of peers” consisting of station people, independent producers and other media professionals, such as television critics. Chairing these panels and listening to the
opinions of people who had been in the business for many years was the most rewarding part of my work. The panelists brought experience, insight, inspiration and eloquence to their deliberations. Though there was tension among the various players at that time — the stations, system bureaucrats and the independent producers — it was apparent to me that we believed collectively in the imporContinued on next page
Life cycle of a reform Jan. 2, 1979 — Robben Fleming, a university president and an authority on (labor) negotiations, comes to CPB as its third president. Also in January, the politically appointed CPB Board suspends its committees to reevaluate their roles. This decision shelved the board’s Program Committee, which traditionally had voted aye or nay on national production proposals for public TV. Even before Fleming arrived, the CPB Board had been rethinking this process. Jan. 30, 1979 — The second Carnegie Commission proposes replacing CPB with a Public Telecommunications Trust, including a separately governed Program Services Endowment that isolated decision-making from political appointees. Memories of Nixon administration attempts to control CPB program grants and network scheduling were still fresh. House bills proposed to dismantle or restructure CPB. PBS and pubTV stations sought larger roles in spending decisions. March 1979 — The Carnegie II recommendations don’t lead to major legislation, but the CPB Board, with new Carter appointees and Sharon Rockefeller as chair, tentatively approves Fleming’s proposal to insulate TV program decisions from the board and CPB president. (For radio, CPB’s national production spending had long been delegated to NPR.) August 1979 — Board creates a semi-autonomous Television Program Fund. In an August memo, Fleming argues against assumptions that CPB must attempt to control public TV programming: “Because CPB funds are but a part of the total support for public broadcasting, and because the stations are in the last analysis the arbiters of what will be shown,” Fleming writes, “CPB can influence the nature of programming but it cannot dominate it, nor can it be held responsible for all programming.” January 1980 — Prominent TV producer Lewis Freedman starts work as first director of the Program Fund and creates an unprecedented streak of major series, including Frontline and American Playhouse. He also provides starting funds to Vietnam: A Television History. March 1982 — Fleming’s successor as CPB president, Ed Pfister, persuades the board that the Program Fund should report to him. October 1982 — Nebraska network programmer Ron Hull succeeds Freedman as Program Fund director. May–July 1983 — Both Democrats and Republicans on CPB Board seek more say in program decisions, complaining that they have to defend spending that they don’t control. Hull puts forth a successful compromise: The board will stay out of program grant decisions while the Program Fund will follow the board’s broad program priorities. 1984 and after — Reagan appointees consolidate control of the CPB Board. CPB President Ed Pfister resigns after the board nixes program exchanges with Moscow. Reagan appointees speak up against Frontline and Concealed Enemies (it was too “agnostic” about whether Alger Hiss was really a spy, former Program Fund exec John Wicklein writes in 1986). Hull feels rising friction with the board and resigns in 1988. But despite complaints from board members, CPB’s programming staff still made decisions on program grants, according to a longtime CPB program exec Eugene Katt. “There have always been efforts to encroach upon” the independence of Program Fund grantmakers, he says in a 2012 interview, “but the rules that governed it have never changed. As long as I was there, the programming staff made its own decisions.” Katt retires in the 1990s. 2003–04 — In an exception to that process, Republican CPB Chair Kenneth Tomlinson campaigns for conservative public affairs shows on PBS. In a December 2003 email, Tomlinson tells Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal that he’s “trying to pressure [PBS President] Pat Mitchell to produce a real conservative counterpoint to [Bill] Moyers.” In September 2004, with $5 million from CPB, Gigot and colleagues launch the weekly PBS show, Journal Editorial Report. November 2005 — CPB Inspector General Kenneth Konz accuses Tomlinson of violating CPB rules in his campaign for conservative programs, and Tomlinson quits as chair. The Journal show goes off the air in December. — Steve Behrens
deliberative sessions. For me, they remain some of the most instructive, insightful, continuing-education experiences of my life. Continued from page 14 In these highly subjective decisions, the tance of having noncommercial, educational, staff and I had to remain neutral, sometimes cultural television. Bill Moyers said it best at sitting there with arteries bursting as a proja national PBS meeting: “Our job is to spark ect we didn’t like rose to the top. However, our people’s imaginations to consider the because most professionals can smell a good noncommercial values of their lives.” program miles away, the excellent ideas most We believed that our programming had a often ascended quickly. profound effect Our days on the lives of were filled children and with discussfamilies, and ing these ideas that public with seasoned, television prointeresting and grams were a talented people significant part such as cinéma of American vérité pioneers culture. We had Bob Drew and a mission, and Fred Wiseman; fulfilling it was Nancy exhilarating. Dickerson, Selecting one of the the best ideas great televifor funding was Vietnam: A Television History was among the landmark sion reporta tricky busiPBS series that received start-up funding from the CPB ers; David ness. With so McCullough, Television Program Fund. Pictured: An American Marine many excellent and Vietnamese villagers during a “search and destroy” historian and proposals and former host of mission in Da Nang. (Photo: UPI: Corbis-Bettmann, never enough Smithsonian courtesy PBS) money to fund World and them adequateAmerican ly, we usually could serve only as a catalyst Experience; Martin Carr of Smithsonian — putting in the first money, giving the World; Bill Moyers and his producer, Joan producer leverage to raise money from other Konner. sources. Aside from our significant underThey recognized that public television writing of the major series such as Nova and afforded them the environment where American Experience, most of our project they could produce their best work, unengrants — ranging from $20,000 to $250,000 cumbered by advertising concerns and the each — gave producers only a fraction of tyranny of ratings. We put the first $25,000 their total program costs. But productions into Ken Burns’ Civil War project. Henry were conceived, and CPB helped producers Hampton’s Eyes on the Prize and Stanley get them up and running. Karnow’s Vietnam: A Television History came We were able to proceed without repeatto life in part through our funding. With ing an expensive learning process for every Vietnam, we supported a major carefully balnew CPB chair or president who had never anced series about a divisive era that a politibefore commissioned. cally sensitive CPB board would have been One of CPB’s presidents came to us from uncomfortable commissioning. an important position dealing with U.S. Navy Moreover, the Program Fund could invest budgets. As he analyzed CPB’s spending plan, in big significant projects rather than try to his assistants told us, they often heard him choose programs that would please every remind himself that the CPB figures were in board member. It provided startup grants “millions not billions, millions not billions.” to many of the major series that are staples He nevertheless kept a sharp, pragmatic eye of the PBS national schedule today. In the on expenditures. Fund’s first three years, it invested $25.8 milOne time he came into my office with lion in major series, and they attracted $37 news that the Metropolitan Opera was planmillion from underwriters and other funders. ning to televise three operas, even though the Under the tutelage of my predecessor, Program Fund had given it $200,000 to help Lewis Freedman, the Fund and producproduce four. “Therefore,” he said, “surely, ing stations created Frontline and American you’ll ask for $50,000 back.” Playhouse, and bolstered others such as the No, I explained — we’re simply supportNewsHour. My staff and I added American ing, to a minimal extent, the necessary costs Experience and many other series and specials. of bringing the operas to television. “Our Independent producers created many of $200,000 doesn’t even keep the curtain up for the worthy and provocative programs offered the first act of one opera,” I said, but the idea on public television — and they continue to of contributing toward a general objective do so today. These creators aren’t motivated didn’t make sense to him. He was a bottomby seeing their names on the screen and line guy. If four operas cost $200,000, he figmaking lucrative deals. They believe in the ured, three would go for $150,000. power of filmmaking and have stories they The group dynamics at play during want to tell — no, must tell — and they do the funding panel discussions sizzled with it with skill, imagination, perseverance and creative risks, hinting at both promise and talent. Nothing ensures the success of a prodisaster. Panels consisted of professionals and gram more than a talented producer with the experts in the fields of proposed programs, burning desire to tell a particular story. My station programmers and independent prophilosophy was to recognize these individuducers. It amazed me when a single articulate als, give them the money and get out of the panel member persuaded the entire group way. and sometimes led it in a mighty strange The pool of ideas and producers always direction. The fund rarely had to overrule a overwhelmed the funding available. panel recommendation but, when we did, we Producers would use every psychological always gave our reason. trick to win grants. The most overworked The panels were designed to be polemical: argument was that we had to support this rousing, verbal confrontations, arguments, program because a key person in the pro-
| November 19, 2012 | 15
Read |Write It’s time to start walking the walk of service to minority communities To the Editors, For 20 years now I’ve been blessed to be in the broadcast business, and I’ve spent most of that time in public media. As we are about to commence the 10th anniversary season of Tavis Smiley on PBS, I am humbled and honored to be the first American to have simultaneously hosted signature programs on both NPR and PBS. To have accomplished this as an African American gives me both pride and perspective. To be forthright, this journey has been all uphill, but I recognize that he who breaks through the brush first gets the thorns. At times, I have publicly admonished my public media colleagues about our charter’s mandate to serve all Americans. As uncomfortable as it is to hear about the lack of diversity in public media — and as unpopular as it has made me at times — I believe it is my duty to hold us accountable to that high standard. In his opinion piece for Current (Nov. 5, 2012), Chicago Public Media President Torey Malatia waxes almost poetically about the responsibility of public media journalism to foster civic discourse. I agree with much of what he had to say. The problem is that too many of us talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. This is real simple for me: I have a First Amendment right to free speech, not to a public radio show. This dustup in Chicago is not about WBEZ’s decision to cancel Smiley & West; it’s a broader and much more important debate about the values public radio ought to represent. I was puzzled by Malatia’s criticism of “advocacy journalism” on Smiley & West. The only advocacy I have done on the program has been in discussing the importance of alleviating poverty in America. Poverty is such a threat to our democracy that it undermines national security. Heaven help us if public media producers and personalities risk cancellation because we shine a light on the suffering of poor people. If that’s my crime, I stand accused and happily plead guilty. Mr. Malatia’s argument against “advocacy journalism” — leveled at Smiley & West after WBEZ carried the program for two years — is merely a weapon of mass distraction from the real issue. When will WBEZ and other public stations get serious about making media that looks and sounds like America? We have a two-term African American president from Chicago but not a single daily program on WBEZ hosted by an African American. Latino Americans are even more absent from the airwaves. This is why I oppose WBEZ’s efforts to purchase and eventually, in my view, colonize the sound of the Hispanic-flavored WRTE in Chicago. I’ve seen this movie before. It doesn’t end well. Too many programmers think that the language of “serving” the community is enough, but it’s not. “Serving” is a verb. We have to actively, energetically and aggressively recruit folk to join us not just as listeners and members, but also as managers, programmers, directors and trustees, hosts, producers, etc. Chicago is a majority-minority municipality. Most of America is headed in that same direction. In the most multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic America ever, we can’t continue to ignore the underrepresented voices of so many fellow citizens. We need to create new shows to reach broader audiences. Not make excuses to cancel the precious few experiments and models that we do have. It’s time to stop spinning the story and start serving all the people. Tavis Smiley Managing editor and host, PBS’s Tavis Smiley, PRI’s The Tavis Smiley Show and Smiley & West, C.E.O., The Smiley Group, Inc. Los Angeles, Calif.
gram — often a writer, an artist or a scientist — is “getting up in years and won‘t be with us long.” Filmmakers are often consumed by passion for their latest ideas. They came to us for money, but they also mortgaged their cars and sometimes even their homes to get their stories on the screen. A primetime slot on public television gave them the chance to gain serious attention, with an audience numbering in the millions. Their reputations, their pride, their hearts and souls were infused into their work and, almost always, this resulted in programs worthy of other people’s time. The CPB Television Program Fund was pivotal to the success we enjoy today; as we
look for those new exciting program ideas and new young producers who could participate in funding decisions, the Program Fund model has much to offer the PBS program schedule. We need an adequately funded, agile and independent office at CPB to focus on and bring forth the new ideas from today’s young creative talent. n
Ron Hull still works fulltime as a senior advisor at Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, based at the university in Lincoln. Serving for decades with NET founder Jack McBride, Hull oversaw TV programming and occasionally doubled as ambassador to the state legislature.
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