Incentives for ‘diversity, innovation’ come with big CPB grant to PBS

CPB and PBS are completing an agreement that may lead to the agency’s first annual grants for the PBS National Program Service based on measures of diversity and innovation in programming and related projects. Sources tell Current that this funding method would be one of the strongest attempts to encourage diversity and innovation in pubcasting so far, influencing the allocation of $14 million or more over the two-year contract. [Update: The final amount, CPB announced May 13, will be $20 million over two years. PBS request for proposals.]

CPB President Pat Harrison announced to the Board at its January meeting that the two had “reached a signed agreement,” but since then CPB has declined to provide specifics. “Yes, CPB and PBS have a signed agreement that commits funding to projects that emphasize diversity and innovation,” CPB spokesperson Louise Filkins told Current in an e-mail.

Project for L.A.’s youth of color still lacks FM channel

The masterminds of efforts such as NPR’s Bryant Park Project and Chicago Public Radio’s Vocalo know well the difficulties of cultivating new, younger and more diverse audiences for public radio. Now imagine giving it a go in one of the country’s most competitive media markets, Los Angeles. That is the assignment from CPB accepted by L.A. Public Media, a multiplatform service managed by Fresno-based Radio Bilingüe and tailored for younger listeners of color. Imagine further, eight months after taking the assignment and a $2 million grant, there’s still no FM channel to use. LAPM is preparing to launch in July, but probably online instead of on the air.

Purposeful Loni Ding

Loni Ding, 78, a filmmaker who brought issues of Asian American identity to the surface, and to PBS, and helped win legislation backing independent producers, died Feb. 20 in a hospital in Oakland, Calif.

What’s the job for the Public Media Corps?

Modeled on programs like Americorps and Teach for America, the Public Media Corps will hire local residents as “fellows” for yearlong residencies at public broadcasting institutions. Their job there will be to identify local issues and use multiple media platforms to spark vigorous community engagement on the issues.

Dyson to try again for pubradio stardom

Two daily public radio programs for African American audiences have risen from the ashes of News and Notes, a talk show that NPR cancelled in March. But acrimony over plans, funding and personalities involved in the midday programs has split the African American Public Radio Consortium, a key station constituency for any broadcast aimed at black listeners.

Diversity: More than good intentions?

For public TV, the dialogue about its minority representation is going public again. It’s about how Latinos, African Americans and other ethnic groups are represented on the screen — and the related matter of how well they’re represented in decision-making. On Friday, PBS President Paula Kerger will meet with leaders of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers and answer questions at their conference in Newport Beach, Calif. In the next few weeks, public broadcasting’s minority consortia will assess the situation in an open letter to the system, says Stephen Gong, chair of public TV’s National Minority Consortia and executive director of the Center for Asian American Media. [Open letter from minority consortia, May 2009.]

At the PBS Showcase Conference in mid-May, the chiefs of PBS’s major series will meet with minority producers to scout the way ahead.

Latino producers object: PBS diversity data ‘incomplete and often anecdotal’

The Diversity Committee of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers sent this letter to PBS about its November 2008 Report on the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content. The letter was released by Defend the Honor, a Latino civil rights group that led the protests against Ken Burns' series 2008 The War. March 4, 2009

Ms. Paula Kerger, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Haydee M. Rodriguez, Director, Diversity Initiative
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3785

Dear Ms. Kerger and Ms. Rodriguez:

We would like to thank you for the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content (November, 2008). As you know, NALIP strongly supports and encourages PBS in its efforts to accurately reflect the diversity of American life in its programming and staffing. While we applaud the effort to generate an assessment of the system's diversity practices, we are concerned by the report's statement that PBS "cannot paint the full picture of its 'diverse' content or the diversity of its staff."

Latino producers to PBS: Diversity data ‘incomplete and often anecdotal’

The Diversity Committee of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers sent this letter to PBS about its November 2008 Report on the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content.  The letter was released by Defend the Honor, a Latino civil rights group that led the protests against Ken Burns' series 2008 The War. March 4, 2009

Ms. Paula Kerger, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Haydee M. Rodriguez, Director, Diversity Initiative
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3785

Dear Ms. Kerger and Ms. Rodriguez:

We would like to thank you for the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content (November, 2008). As you know, NALIP strongly supports and encourages PBS in its efforts to accurately reflect the diversity of American life in its programming and staffing. While we applaud the effort to generate an assessment of the system's diversity practices, we are concerned by the report's statement that PBS "cannot paint the full picture of its 'diverse' content or the diversity of its staff."