On to the White House

The House and Senate resolved last-minute differences over public broadcasting’s fiscal 1991-93 authorization bill and late last week passed the three-year, $800 million measure. The bill also makes a variety of other changes, including requiring the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to collaborate with the public TV system to develop a new plan for distributing CPB’s national TV production money. The bill also requires CPB to establish a $6 million-a-year fund for independent productions. The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill October 7, but when it reached the House telecommunications subcommittee, Chairman Edward Markey objected to language requiring CPB to seek private funding to replace public broadcasting’s aging satellite program delivery system. Both sides agreed to a diluted directive for CPB to submit a report to Congress on the “availability of private sector rather than federal financing.” The House and Senate also agreed to postpone until October 1, 1989, a requirement that CPB devote its interest income to pro÷ gramming and provide producers with “grants” instead of “contracts.”

With these final hurdles cleared, the House passed the bill without comment about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

HDTV debut: full-blown spectacle

Even on crappy old analog TV — the way nearly all of its audience will see it Nov. 9 — PBS’s premiere high-def offering is a Whitman’s Sampler of eye candy. Made by public TV’s most experienced high-def production team, at KCTS in Seattle,
“Chihuly Over Venice” amuses your eye with color while impressing you with the
glassworking skills of Dale Chihuly’s sidemen, and introducing you to the glass master, a
mercurial Seattle character. Producer/director Gary Gibson, who documented a Chihuly exhibition in 1993, returned to the artist more than two years ago to begin the station’s next big HDTV project–the first without much aerial footage, after a successful string of Over This-and-That travelogues. The occasion was Chihuly’s ambitious plan to make a series of large chandeliers in
major glassworking regions — Seattle, Finland, Ireland, Mexico and Venice — and then hanging
the works over the canals of Venice.

Master of talks: Cooke, in his Letter from America

Masterpiece Theatre was a relatively short run for Alistair Cooke, and his intros mere appetizers. For more of Cooke, as he turns 90, sample some of his half-century of BBC essays. Some journalists make reporting seem easy, almost effortless. They express wise and frequently complicated ideas with directness, intelligence and wit. Their manner is both straightforward and entertaining — and above all, informative.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Comparative Standards for Noncommercial Educational Applicants, 1998

In 1998, the FCC addressed a longtime gap in its set of procedures with this rulemaking proposal. See the resulting April 2000 FCC order laying out the new procedure. Before the Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Reexamination of the Comparative Standards for Noncommercial Educational Applicants, MM Docket No. 95-31


Adopted: October 7, 1998 Released: October 21, 1998
Comment Date: [45 days after publication in the Federal Register]
Reply Date: [65 days after publication in the Federal Register]

By the Commission: Commissioners Furchtgott-Roth and Tristani issuing a joint statement

1. The Commission issues this Further Notice in an ongoing effort to improve the process of choosing among competing applicants for noncommercial educational (“NCE”) broadcast stations.