Common Cause last week criticized the appointment of big Republican donors Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines to the CPB Board. Chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Halpern, with her family, has given more than $324,000 to GOP candidates and committees since 1989, Common Cause said. Gaines and family have given nearly $492,000 to national GOP candidates and committees since then. Halpern, who stirred fears of political meddling with her remarks at her confirmation hearing, was okayed by the Senate in December after the White House appointed her during a congressional recess last year. President Bush gave Gaines a recess appointment this month, along with Claudia Puig, a Miami broadcaster and Republican donor, according to the Washington Post.

The public TV operation in Richmond, Va., Community Idea Stations, will devote the early afternoon of its second over-the-air channel to state Senate coverage starting in mid-January. WCVW, which would ordinarily air PBS Kids, will return to the air in January after being sidelined by a transmitter failure in February 2003. The station ordered a low-power analog transmitter in the summer.

Starting in January NPR will distribute Creators at Carnegie — a 13-part “genre-busting” series based on a concert series of Nonesuch Records artists performing at Carnegie Hall. Artists range from the Kronos Quartet to Emmylou Harris and Youssou N’Dour.

After accepting the KOCE Foundation’s bid for the Orange County public TV station, Coast Community College District greatly reduced the effective price, forgiving 30 years of interest payments and making other concessions, the Los Angeles Times reported. (Via AP.)

The Village Voice declares Now with Bill Moyers one of television’s top achievements in 2003. (Via randomWalks.)

Noncoms KPLU, WXPN and WBUR are among webcasts with the highest TSL ratings for the week of Dec. 1, as ranked by Arbitron.

Public radio’s Jim Nayder talks annoying holiday music with Newsweek. Most annoying perennial: “The one song that seems to stand the test of time is Tiny Tim’s ‘O Holy Night.'”

The Washington Post’s ombudsman examines his paper’s coverage of the WAMU crisis.

After steering KCTS through a major downsizing, interim chief Bill Mohler agreed to lead the station as its permanent president, reports the Seattle Times. “What happened is you get caught up in it with the people side,” Mohler told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “You have a collection of some of the most creative people that I’ve met in my entire life that are working here … and it was their jobs on the line.”