Children’s TV producers for WGBH and Reading Rainbow have taken unusual steps to keep their programs on the air. For the first time ever, WGBH will produce a new preschool series for a commercial outlet. Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton appealled publicly for outside funding to keep the award-winning series going.
Chevron Texaco said May 20 that it will end its longterm sponsorship of Metropolitan Opera broadcasts next April, the San Francisco Examiner reported. The opera company vowed to find new sponsors. Texaco began sponsoring the broadcasts in 1940, according to a company press release.
“Public broadcasting’s super salesman” David Ives, who led WGBH as it became a national production powerhouse, died on May 16. “As the man who approved major projects at WGBH, he became linked with enduring national favorites,” such as Nova, Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery!, recalls the New York Times in an obit.
Race: The Power of an Illusion, a three-part public TV series, “could more aptly be titled ‘PBS: The Power of Self-Delusion,’ a study of how a publicly owned television network with a mandate to challenge the mind can instead put even the most caffeinated brains to sleep,” writes Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times.
The FCC has fined WCVE in Richmond, Va., $10,000 for illegally constructing and operating a new antenna site. The station started broadcasting from the site before it requested FCC permission to do so. The commission later denied WCVE’s petition. Read the FCC order (PDF).
Fortune magazine profiles Christina Cooks, the public TV show from Christina Pirello and her husband/partner Robert. Her combination of macrobiotic cooking and flavor makes a business that grosses $300,000 from underwriters and $350,000 from books, workshops and other sources. See also the Christina Cooks website.
Creators of the Public Radio Exchange plan to launch their service
this fall, opening a new channel for independent producers to sell work
to stations. PRX operates somewhat like an Amazon.com of the indie world. A subscribing
station gets an account and uses a web-based interface to browse and
search for pieces uploaded by producers. They can consult background
information provided by producers and reviews written by other users. Independent producer Jay Allison hatched the PRX idea in late 2001,
hoping to ease indies’ ordeal of getting their work aired.