Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced this week its first round of 25 grants to independent TV producers. The projects will bring to the tube an array of programs about American minorities, ethnic and otherwise, that are seldom featured on television — Indian activists, a Black Panther, elderly couples, gay people in the South and Asian immigrants. Included among the productions will be animated shorts, comedies and historical programs about Hawaii, Margaret Sanger’s work in birth control and the Columbus voyage. (A full list, with ITVS’ descriptions, follows this article.)
The announcement is a landmark in a long struggle for public TV producers outside of stations to gain an official place in program funding decisions. CPB bankrolled the service under a 1988 congressional mandate but long negotiations between it and the indies delayed a final contract signing until last summer (story at right).
Two controversies put public TV general managers to the test: How far would they extend their necks for the principle that public broadcasters should present diverse viewpoints and controversies on the air?
Frontline sometimes comes on like a multimedia prosecutor, revealing the evidence in pictures, voices and logic, and driving toward a conclusion. It’s usually a very sobering conclusion, too, because the series has increasingly specialized in reminding us of our society’s worst failings — war, cheating and lying in high places, racism, crime and predation of all kinds. On Nov. 5, , Charles Stuart’s “Don King, Unauthorized” went after the boxing promoter — a man with two killings in his little-known past, who has collaborated with the media to paint himself as a harmless jokester with a funny haircut. On Nov.
…The announcement is a landmark in a long struggle for public TV producers outside of stations to gain an official place in program funding decisions. CPB bankrolled the service under a 1988 congressional mandate but long negotiations …
At WFUV-FM, a public radio station licensed to Fordham University in the Bronx, the 25-year-old studio soundboard needs to be replaced, and the tower and other transmission facilities could use a major overhaul as well. General Manager Ralph Jennings says he’d like to get a grant from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) to defray at least half of the estimated cost of $2.5 million to $3 million, but that he hasn’t bothered applying because PTFP, a Commerce Department grant program, has told him informally that his station is ineligible for federal funds. The reason is an hour-long Roman Catholic Mass that WFUV has been broadcasting from Fordham’s campus chapel every Sunday for the last 42 years. Jennings estimates that the program has an audience of between 5,000 and 10,000 listeners, many of whom are shut-ins or others who can’t attend regular services. Richard Harland, senior program officer at the PTFP, says it’s simply a matter of following the regulations that govern the distribution of federal funds.