CPB Board members elect Sembler and Gilbert as new leadership

The CPB Board elected new leadership Tuesday in two unanimous votes. Chairing the governing body is Elizabeth Sembler, a Florida educator, with Nevada broadcaster Lori Gilbert as vice-chair. Each will serve one-year terms.

Outgoing CPB Chair Patricia Cahill presented Sembler with the chair’s gavel at the end of the board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Cahill is the retired head of KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo., and was the first radio broadcaster elected chair. Sembler was first nominated to the board by President Bush and originally confirmed by the Senate in 2008. She was renominated by President Obama and confirmed for a second term this month.

Monday roundup: CPB Board gets nominee; public TV funding rebounds

• President Obama has nominated Dr. Judith Davenport to serve as a CPB Board director, the White House announced Friday. Davenport, a retired dentist, co-founded Pittsburgh, Pa.–based Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. with her husband Ronald in 1973. She also serves on several other boards, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the Andy Warhol Museum. The nomination goes to the Senate for confirmation.

President Obama chooses Ramer for second term on CPB Board

President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his intent to nominate Bruce Ramer, former CPB chair, to serve another term on the CPB Board of Directors. Ramer is a partner at the Los Angeles entertainment and media law firm Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, and counts among his clients Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood. Ramer served on the CPB Board from October 2008 to December 2012, and chaired the group during his final two years. This will be the board’s first appointment since Patty Cahill, former g.m. of KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo., joined the directors in 2009. Ramer must be confirmed by the Senate for the four-year appointment.

Life cycle of a reform: independence of CPB Program Fund

Ron Hull, a former director of the Program Fund, reflects on the value of buffer from partisan politics
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.

Key GOP lawmaker to CPB: Pubcasting needs a new pitch on Capitol Hill

House Republican Don Young, the 39-year veteran representative from Alaska’s at-large district and a longtime backer of public broadcasting, told the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board of directors Tuesday that the field would be more likely to find support in Congress if it presented itself in a more effective manner to its Hill critics. To strengthen public broadcasting’s case, Young stressed the importance of communicating directly with elected officials rather than staff members, and recommended emphasizing the extent to which public broadcasting relies on private funds and donations. “Can we help you? Yes. But you’re going to have to have a better selling program on the Hill,” Young said on the second day of the CPB board meeting, after declaring, “I am a Republican and I support public broadcasting.”

Board members asked Young why congressional Republicans continue to target CPB’s annual appropriation for elimination, and why GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney puts pubcasting atop his list of programs to lose taxpayer funding if he is elected.  The lawmaker’s  answer was straightforward:  Public broadcasting is an easy target.

Lillie Herndon, 93

Lillie Edens Herndon, who served on the boards of CPB and PBS, died Dec. 3, 2010, at her home in Columbia, S.C. She was 93. Herndon’s CPB appointment was one of seven by President Richard Nixon. Five of those were in August 1974, just two days before Nixon turned over power to Vice President Gerald Ford. Herndon also served on the CPB Board under presidents Ford and Carter.