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.

One for the money: Rukeyser’s Friday evening pavane

One evening in London, in 1966, Anne Darlington, a Johns Hopkins graduate on a Fulbright Fellowship, was surprised to see Louis Rukeyser, then chief of ABC’s London bureau, on a BBC interview program. She remembered him as a writer for her hometown newspapers, the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Sun. Four years later, in January 1970, Darlington was preparing a TV series on sports fishing for the fledgling Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting when someone at a Baltimore cocktail party suggested that a series on economics and financial management might be more appropriate. One of the Center’s executives scribbled the idea on a piece of paper and gave it to Darlington, adding, “Do you think you can do anything with this?” She thought she could.

Show me a better deal than public TV

Two years after the CPB funding crisis began to subside, public TV’s assigned public-policy representative, the president of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), was giving variations on this stump speech at meetings of pubcasters. This is an edited version of David Brugger’s remarks to the FirstView instructional TV screening conference in August 1998. One of the important revelations to station professionals and lay volunteers during our last Capitol Hill Day was that their members of Congress often fed back the message they had heard from the more than 85 percent of their constituents in your home towns who said they wanted continued or increased federal funding — this, in many cases, from members of Congress who had been ardent opponents of federal funding just 18 months before. Last summer’s Roper survey showed that Americans see public radio and public television as their second- and third-best values in return for tax dollars spent. This is even higher than during the 1995 funding crisis when we were No.

Slain in a broadcast underground

Michael Taylor believed in second chances — he was living proof that they come along. Before the early 1990s, the Los Angeles resident had been an addict, a dealer, eventually homeless. But one day he decided to turn his life around, and achieved the miracle — sobered up, straightened out and found his legitimate passions: community activism and radio. He became a reporter and later an occasional host of public affairs programming on Pacifica station KPFK. So he was a felt presence among Los Angeles’ South-Central community of leftists and grassroots organizers at the time of his cold-blooded murder over nothing more than a low-power radio transmitter, in April 1996.

How many listeners donate? One in 12 or one in three?

Which is it? Is the conventional wisdom correct — that one out of every 10 or 12 public radio listeners is a station member? Or is it the more encouraging one-in-three, as found by the Audience 98 research project?The seemingly conflicting estimates flew past each other at last month’s Public Radio Development/Marketing Conference in Washington, D.C., without much elucidation. Now comes an attempt at elucidation. The leading proponents of the 1:12 ratio, Oregon-based fundraising consultants Lewis-Kennedy Associates, reported at the conference that an average of 8.3 percent of stations’ weekly cume listeners can be found as donors in the membership files.

Empowered to cook: Julia gives us the courage, shows us her joy

The publication last year of a 700-page, hugely detailed biography of Julia Child (Appetite for Life — Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch, Doubleday) has bestirred a Manhattan memory. One evening toward the end of the 1960s, my wife and I were having dinner at La Caravel, a gracious French restaurant in New York. Dining there was a treat; the food was excellent and the service quietly efficient. The place held a special allure for me because it was the site of a superb documentary by Nell Cox, French Lunch. The short film records events in the kitchen from the first luncheon order through a frenetic, almost balletic crescendo of culinary movements at dinnertime — punctuated by the flare of flaming dishes — and finally subsides in a relaxed, post-service meal for the waiters and cooks themselves.