New capital fund helps Colorado network

Thanks to financing from the new Public Radio Capital (PRC) fund, Colorado Public Radio just realized a long-standing goal—buying Denver AM station KVOD, which it plans to program with wall-to-wall classical music.

How NPR webifies its programming — and you can, too

Nobody in public radio has encoded and streamed as much audio on the Internet — or had to automate the handling of such a large volume of material — as the staff at NPR Online. What advice do they have for stations that are new to streaming, or just thinking about starting? The writers are Rob Holt, webmaster of NPR Online, and Chris Mandra, production supervisor. The statistics are clear: the time to webcast is now. There are more than 14,000 radio stations on the Web right now, building the interactive future of radio through the Internet medium.

Geller to FCC: scrap the rules, try a spectrum fee

More than three years after promising digital channels to broadcasters, the FCC held a hearing Oct. 16, 2000, about what the broadcasters should do in exchange for the spectrum. Most of the testimony was about possible FCC rules requiring political and children’s programming, but former FCC general counsel Henry Geller suggested, as he and others have said before, that the public interest would be served more effectively by assessing spectrum fees and paying pubcasters to do the public-interest programming. This article was adapted from Geller’s statement. The broadcast regulatory scheme, adopted in 1927 and continued to the present time in the 1996 amendments to the Communications Act, is one of short-term licensing, with the licensee committed to serving the public interest — of being a public trustee or fiduciary for its service area.

Forum urges strong role for public TV in education

If the National Forum for Public Television Executives has its way, public TV will:

raise an additional $200 million a year by loosening underwriting guidelines (notably, by airing 30-second credits), freeing up stations’ funds by making the PBS national schedule self-supporting,
develop educational and local services equal in impact to PBS’s national programming, and
restructure PBS, APTS and its other national organizations under a new board of station managers. The petitions come up Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the third annual PBS Members Meeting, where the Forum will ask all PBS member stations to endorse resolutions to the PBS Board. It’s the conclusion of an annual three-day policyfest. On Sunday, PBS will report to stations on big price increases for Nielsen ratings [story], and the strange new world of personal video recorders, digital cable and electronic “walled gardens” controlled by media conglomerates, according to Executive Vice President Wayne Godwin.

LPFM rules still disputed; Congress may act

Applicants for low-power FM (LPFM) stations range from mundane (Sacramento’s Sutter Middle School) to exotic (the Women on Top Awareness Series of Norcross, Ga.), and an equally mismatched bunch is debating their future. What else could draw one-time radio pirates to an NPR Board meeting, get network chief Kevin Klose on a Pacifica talk show, or bring together Republican senators and advocates for the blind? Since the FCC began accepting applications for the tiny noncommercial stations in January, the agency has received more than 1,200 from groups in 22 states and territories. Meanwhile, NPR, politicians, commercial radio interests and others have pushed bills to delay, weaken or defeat the new service, citing fears that LPFMs could interfere with existing full-power stations. LPFM’s supporters dismiss those concerns, and now find themselves in an odd position: fighting bitterly with a public broadcaster whom they ordinarily respect and often support.

Stations’ Forum petition seeks to reorganize PBS, October 2000

The National Forum for Public Television Executives, meeting in Dallas Oct. 2-4, 2000, agreed upon the following petition to put before the PBS Members Meeting later that month, Oct. 24. The petition is divided into three amendments to a less specific “placeholder” petition that the Forum had submitted earlier. In addition to the amendment on Organizational Change (immediately below), there are amendments on System Educational Strategy and New Business Models.