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 Ready to Learn program backing educational media and outreach for children ages 2 to 8 is making digital learning through community engagement a priority, a change that will affect which stations participate in the program.
PBS’s year-to-date financial results show a net income of $22 million instead of the estimated $100,000 net loss anticipated in its fiscal year 2013 budget, the PBS Board of Directors heard at their meeting April 9 at headquarters in Arlington, Va. “I may never get to say this again, but that’s pretty impressive,” said Molly Corbett Broad, finance committee chair. Thanks to the influx, PBS’s FY14 budget contains an increase of $11 million for National Program Service content without a hike in dues for member stations. The draft budget, unanimously approved by the finance committee and full board, will arrive at public television stations in the coming weeks for comment. Total member assessment is $185.5 million, the same as FY13.
The mass shootings last year in Colorado, Wisconsin and Connecticut reawakened Americans to recurring tragedies of gun violence and rekindled a national debate about gun control — one that public radio and television have chronicled and analyzed through ongoing programs and the package of special broadcasts that aired on PBS last month.
In a bid to attract younger viewers who don't tune in to broadcast TV, PBS Digital Studios has cultivated a slate of online shows at a fraction of over-the-air production costs. The network promises its push into web video will help member stations, as well.
Judges in the 72nd annual Peabody competition selected winners as “the best in electronic media for the year 2012,” including PBS programs presented on Independent Lens, NPR’s coverage of the Syrian conflict and a ProPublica investigation produced with This American Life.
After a season of bad press following PBS's much-maligned 2012 decision to move its flagship independent documentary program POV from Tuesday nights to Thursdays, the show will move to Mondays for its 26th season, which premieres June 24. POV announced the lineup for its new season today. The program is also building off another recent round of good news: a $1 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation on Feb. 28. Its premiere episode will be Homegoings, a documentary about Harlem undertakers that was selected as part of the New York Museum of Modern Art's 2013 Documentary Fortnight. The lineup, with 15 national broadcast premieres and two encore presentations, will also include the Oscar-nominated Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras on Aug.
The 90-minute feature was produced and directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, a married couple who traced the education of two African-American boys — their own son and his best friend — at a private school in Manhattan from 1999 through 2012. “All American families want to give their children the opportunity to succeed. But the truth is, opportunity is just the first step, particularly for families raising black boys,” said Stephenson. “We hope American Promise shines a light on these issues.”
The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 21 and received the award Jan.
During a March 10 appearance at the South by Southwest Interactive conference, PBS President Paula Kerger talked the talk of digital innovation, pointing to the network's recent successes with web-original videos, social media messaging and the unparalleled popularity of online content tied to PBS Kids.