Reductions in tax-based support for pubcasting have shortened the financial gap between public television and radio stations, accelerating public TV’s decade-long financial decline and demonstrating resilience within segments of the public radio system.
Wes Moore, the host of Beyond Belief on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and author of the bestseller The Other Wes Moore, won CPB’s Thought Leader Award, which honors those who assist public media in the areas of education, journalism and the arts. A U.S. Army combat veteran who serves on the board of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and as founder of STAND!, an organization that supports youth caught up in the criminal justice system, Moore also hosts the forthcoming PBS primetime series Coming Back, which chronicles the returns of nine veterans from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Wes Moore is an inspiring advocate for America’s youth and a champion for public media’s American Graduate initiative,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB president. The award was presented during the PBS Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Fla.
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APTS President Patrick Butler is warning public broadcasters of continued threats to their federal funding this summer as Congress takes up work on appropriations for the next federal budget. During an appearance at the Public Media Business Association conference this morning, Butler recalled a private meeting with a key House Republican from Georgia who opposes federal aid to CPB. Rep. Jack Kingston, chair of the House appropriations subcommittee with oversight over CPB, told Butler that he plans to zero-out CPB funding. “He told me point blank, in January, that he was going to do everything he could to eliminate our funding," Butler said during a PMBA breakfast meeting at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. Public TV’s top lobbyist expects Kingston to introduce the bill in June. "I'm sure there will be a big zero in his bill for public broadcasting," he said.
CPB has laid off 12 employees and eliminated three vacant positions in a downsizing prompted by the federal budget sequestration and other cuts to its appropriation. The job cuts, announced today, extend across all departments and range from administrative to vice president levels, said Michael Levy, executive v.p. of corporate and public affairs. Taken together, the downsizing reduces CPB’s workforce by 11 percent. CPB will also trim its payroll by requiring all senior vice presidents and executive officers to take one-week furloughs before Sept. 30, the end of CPB’s fiscal year.
Beginning May 6 on NPR's All Things Considered, listeners will hear five voices from the past that may have a familiar ring. They’re a bit weathered with age but still share personal stories about navigating extraordinary twists in their lives.
The National Endowment of the Arts announced $4.68 million in funding to 76 media-arts projects April 23, including new grantees such as the Online Video Engagement Experience (OVEE) developed with CPB funding, a new initiative from the Association of Independents in Radio called Spectrum America and Sonic Trace, a multimedia production at KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., that was created through AIR’s recently concluded Localore project. For a second year, the NEA will continue to support projects that use digital technologies to go beyond traditional broadcasting platforms. In its announcement, the endowment highlighted a $100,000 grant to OVEE, a digital platform that allows web users to interact while watching PBS and local station content. The Independent Television Service developed the technology with support from CPB. AIR also received $100,000 for Spectrum America, a project that will pair media artists with public stations as they experiment with “new approaches to storytelling.”
Sonic Trace, a co-production at KCRW initiated through AIR’s 2012–2013 Localore initiative, received a direct NEA grant of $75,000 to continue exploring the experience of Latino immigrants. NEA also backed digital media projects at NPR, providing $100,000 for music programming and multimedia content.
The CPB Board on April 22 unanimously approved changes to its Radio Community Service Grants program for fiscal 2014, including phased-in hikes in nonfederal financial support (NFFS) requirements for most stations, pubradio’s first transparency requirements, qualification changes for minority-status stations and $9 million in financial incentives over five years for mergers and collaborations. Current CSG policies, which govern distribution of some $90.6 million in radio grants for fiscal 2013, were last updated in 2005. Since then, “shifts in technology, audience behavior, demographics, competition, and the economy have dramatically changed the landscape for public media,” said Oregon Public Broadcasting President Steve Bass, a CSG panel member who spoke at the CPB meeting. “That environmental reality was the backdrop for our discussions and influenced our thinking about the CSG program policy that would best serve the interests of stations and better align our system for the future.”
A 20-member CSG panel, more than half of which was made up of general managers from stations, has been crafting the update over the last 14 months. Bruce Theriault, senior v.p. of radio, told the board that more than 200 stations gave feedback on the document.