CPB, RTL award $2.2 million for public TV school-readiness projects

CPB and Ready to Learn, a U.S. Department of Education program supporting preschool learning, will provide $2.2 million in grants to 21 public television stations to create new or expand existing school-readiness projects. One of the new grants, announced June 3, will establish an Illinois Ready to Learn transmedia network with pubTV partners WILL in Champaign-Urbana, WSIU in Carbondale and WTVP in Peoria, to reach 12,000 educators and 13,000 school children. Partnering with community coalitions in central and southern Illinois, the effort will provide educational programs to three low-income communities, as well as offer professional development for educators. The stations received just over $105,000 for that work. Since 2011, pubTV stations nationwide have used Ready to Learn grants specifically to extend the educational benefits of PBS Kids content by providing interactive math and literacy programs and services to local communities.

GM says recommended funding cuts to Alaska’s KUAC would have disastrous result

Suggested budget cuts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks could jeopardize the survival of KUAC, the university's public broadcasting outlet, according to the station's g.m.

A committee tasked with closing a gap in the university's budget of as much as $14 million included cuts to the station's funding in a proposal released in May. Trimming KUAC's funding could save the university between $800,000 and $1.4 million, according to the budget committee, the highest estimated savings of all the recommendations except for consolidating or eliminating some degree programs.

The committee listed the cuts as “recommended with reservations” and noted that the station could move toward self-support. But the station wouldn’t be able to support itself if the cuts are made too quickly, said KUAC General Manager Keith Martin. KUAC received $1.3 million from the university in 2013, amounting to a little more than a third of its budget. “Even if they want to implement self-funding in up to three years, we're pretty much done,” he said.

Kenneth Tomlinson, CPB chair at center of scandal, dies at 69

Tomlinson, a former Reader’s Digest editor and CPB Board chair who mounted a behind-the-scenes campaign to balance what he saw as a liberal bias in PBS programming, died May 1 in Winchester, Va., after a long hospitalization.

CPB ombud criticizes KUNM’s handling of plagiarism charges

The handling of plagiarism charges at New Mexico’s KUNM-FM drew criticism from CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan, who weighed in on the issue in an April 24 report. The charges were first made public by former KUNM reporter Tristan Ahtone, who left the Albuquerque station in March over what he cited as the station’s failure to respond to a fellow reporter’s plagiarism, as recounted in an April 15 story in the Santa Fe Reporter. In an email to his superiors at KUNM that a Santa Fe journalist later forwarded to Kaplan, Ahtone accused KUNM leadership of hiding three instances of suspected plagiarism from listeners. One of the stories was published through the Fronteras reporting desk, which covers the Southwest. Ahtone refused to participate in ethics training courses the station mandated for all staff, writing that the training “serves merely as the Potemkin Village to bolster this station’s attempt at credibility.”

CPB’s Kaplan also found the station’s response lacking.