New York state’s highest court early this month unanimously upheld WFUV-FM’s right to complete the radio tower on Fordham University’s Bronx campus, despite complaints from the nearby New York Botanical Garden that the tower spoils the skyline. This was the fifth victory in various administrative and court appeals. For nearly four years the tower has remained half-built. The ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals upheld a local zoning ruling that permitted the tower. Remaining federal historic issues are being mediated between the university and the botanical garden.
Two decades ago, Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil gave public television a kind of news program that contrasted greatly with the aims of big-network journalism, and the distinction has grown year by year with the decay of the network news divisions. Contributing Editor David Stewart, retired director of international activities at CPB, profiled Lehrer for a forthcoming book on the major programs of public TV. In 1970, on a steaming summer morning in Dallas, I walked into a large room of the public TV station KERA and met Jim Lehrer for the first time. He was seated alone at the end of a long rectangular table, its surface strewn with daily papers, reporters’ notes, overflowing ashtrays and half-empty mugs of coffee. He was studying a clutch of wire service stories, shirt sleeves rolled back, tie pulled away from his unbuttoned collar — the city editor from central casting, I remember thinking.
With the $120-million sale of for-profit sister company Rivertown Trading to Dayton Hudson, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) gains a secure subsidy while ridding itself of a longtime public relations problem. The Minnesota Communications Group–parent of MPR and the for-profit Greenspring Co.–announced March 23 it was selling the catalog business to the Minneapolis-based retail giant, parent of department store chains including Target and Marshall Field. MPR and Greenspring President Bill Kling and two other top execs share the bulk of $7.3 million in payouts under a plan previously laid down by their boards of directors. But the big beneficiary is MPR, which gets about $90 million of the net proceeds to add to its existing $19 million endowment fund, giving it by far the largest endowment in public radio. The endowment should give MPR annual income equal to the average $4-million-a-year contribution Rivertown made to the network over the last 10 years of its existence.