Financial outlook dims for indies in public media

Independent journalists in public media are having an increasingly tough time earning a living as producers for public TV and radio, according to a survey commissioned by the Association of Independents in Radio and the Independent Television Service. Over the past three years, 66 percent of radio indies who responded to the survey reported worsening financial problems.

The survey by Market Trends Research, backed by CPB, drew responses from 206 indies who have created content for public TV, radio or affiliated websites in the past two years. The income outlook among radio indies, who made up 75 percent of survey respondents, is somewhat brighter than for those working in television, film and web production. Forty-one percent of TV and film indies said they expect to work with nonprofits and foundations as a source of future income, and nearly one-third see opportunities in education. Radio indies participating in the survey expressed optimism about their ties to local stations. Continue Reading

aud1105sueschardt

Are we here for 11% of the public or for all of it?

Usually the only speakers in the "public comment" period after an NPR Board meeting are several regional reps of stations, but they were joined Feb. 25 by Sue Schardt, executive director of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR). Schardt spoke extemporaneously to the board and NPR execs about how public radio could address criticism that has undercut its case for continued federal aid. This is an edited transcript. I speak as someone who has 23 years of experience in the industry. Continue Reading

Hinojosa & Collins: high hopes for partnership in the cloud

The host of Latino USA for all of its 17 years, Maria Hinojosa, is now its proprietor, too, along with producer Sean Collins, her partner in a new media company in the digital cloud. Futuro Media Group, announced this month, starts off highly virtual and will get moreso. Hinojosa records her reports in a soundproofed closet in Harlem. Collins, her e.p. for five years and a former producer of All Things Considered, works in his hometown of St. Louis. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

Student hugging principal at graduation

Why fund a whole doc?

Few docs as substantial as The Principal Story, which airs on P.O.V. Sept. 15, are funded in full by a single angel, but this one was. The Wallace Foundation didn’t choose to cover the whole cost to make independent producers’ lives easier, though the grant did that. Continue Reading

Woody Wickham, 66

Woodward A. (Woody) Wickham, 66,  a strong supporter of independent documentary films and public media producers, died of cancer Jan. 18 [2009] at his home in Chicago. In more than a dozen years at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 1990 to 2003, Wickham helped support such projects as Kartemquin Films’ documentary Hoop Dreams, the Creative Commons alternative to copyrights, and Dave Isay’s StoryCorps, for which Wickham was the founding board chair. With MacArthur’s money, Wickham was a consistent supporter of P.O.V. and Frontline, local media arts centers and Kartemquin, says Alyce Myatt, who worked with him at the foundation. Wickham also supported the foundation’s work in human rights, aiding the International Criminal Court, and media reform groups such as the Media Access Project. Continue Reading

Once the feisty advocate for indies, AIVF fades to black

The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, a 30-year-old group that coordinated activism and provided networking and training for independent filmmakers, shuttered its offices and shut down operations in late June. The Manhattan-based association told members in March that it faced a financial crisis, but an emergency fundraising appeal didn’t generate enough contributions to maintain operations. The AIVF Board is looking for another group to take over publication of The Independent, AIVF’s monthly magazine. Although the board considered a scenario of eventually resuming operations, it’s unlikely that the association will revive, said Bart Weiss, organizer of the Dallas Video Festival and board president. “I wish it could, but I don’t see how it could happen,” he said. Continue Reading