The late Joan Kroc was last year’s most generous donor, reports the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She gave more than three-quarters of her estate to the Salvation Army and her second-largest gift of $200 million went to NPR.

Pointing pointedly in the direction of Janet Jackson’s chest, PBS chief Pat Mitchell painted public broadcasting as a “safe haven” for families with kids in yesterday’s House appropriations hearing on CPB funding, the Hollywood Reporter reported.

A Wired article looks at “Walkman Busting”, an occasional segment on public radio’s The Next Big Thing.

The Pacifica network has wrapped up elections for its station boards and national board, the first to be held since activists gained control of the network in 2001.

Jim Russell, executive producer of the forthcoming Public Radio Weekend, takes another stab at explaining the sound and feel of the show.

NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin addresses Wal-Mart’s underwriting on NPR and a spoof of The Passion that upset some listeners in his latest “Media Matters” column.

The LA Times reports that trustees of the Coast Community College District, the licensee of KOCE, are considering whether to keep the Orange County public TV station, rather than proceed with a sale that religious broadcaster Daystar Television Network has threatened to challenge in court.

The American Psychological Association called on federal regulators to restrict advertising to children aged eight and younger. Research indicates that young kids aren’t able to critically interpret television ads, the association said in a report issued yesterday. Their gullibility, combined with aggressive marketing to children, contributes to the youth obesity epidemic.

Common Cause is urging people to ask their lawmakers to support public broadcasting.

Public TV and radio host Rudy Maxa has moved to Minnesota to live with his fiancee, who he says is a “great kisser,” reports the Star Tribune (registration required). (Via Romenesko.)

Producer Bob Malesky remembers an NPR arts show that wasn’t: a collaboration with author John Gardner that never got off the ground.

In a brief report last week, the FCC forwarded to Congress results of an earlier study on low-power FM. The Commission seconded the MITRE study’s recommendation that third-adjacent protections against LPFMs be dropped. Sen. John McCain said he will introduce legislation adopting the FCC’s suggestions. [Earlier coverage in Current.]

Grammy academy salutes McPartland for ‘timeless legacy’ of music

The Recording Academy presented a 2004 Trustees Award to jazz pianist and public radio host Marian McPartland. The award recognizes “music people who have made the greatest impact on our culture,” said Neil Portnow, president of the Academy. “Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their craft have created a timeless legacy that has positively affected multiple generations and will continue to influence generations to come.” Through her public radio series Piano Jazz, McPartland has introduced generations of listeners to the genre. The series, which received a George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, celebrates its 25th anniversary this spring.

Wiseman at work in Idaho state legislature

The Idaho Legislature is the subject of Frederick Wiseman’s next cinema verite documentary. Starting with his controversial film Titicut Follies in 1967, Wiseman has filmed the day-to-day workings of American places and institutions — public housing developments, high schools and an old Maine seaport town, among other subjects. His last PBS broadcast, Domestic Violence, was filmed in a shelter for abused women and children, called the Spring, in Tampa, Fla. Wiseman, who doesn’t discuss his film projects until they’re near completion, declined Current’s request for an interview. But he told Idaho statehouse reporter Betsy Russell that he chose the Idaho Legislature because he wanted to film an American institution in the West.

Why public television?: Public TV’s mission statement, 2004

Public TV stations adopted this statement of mission at the PBS Members Meeting, Feb. 23, 2004. For more information. See also Current’s coverage, published March 8, 2004. Public television is the only universally accessible national resource that uses the power and accessibility of television to educate, enlighten, engage and inform.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that it will spread $15 million among 16 rural public TV stations to help them switch to digital transmission. Among the grantees are some of the nation’s smallest public TV stations as well as the West Virginia, South Dakota, North Dakota and Kentucky networks.

“There are enough fine children’s entertainments being made that there is no excuse for Clifford’s Really Big Movie, a really lame attempt to expand the marketing reach of the PBS-TV series.” A New York Daily News critic pans the kiddie film opening today at theatres. Scholastic is promoting the popular PBS Kids character and his canine side-kicks in kids’ meals at Wendy’s.

Bill Moyers will retire from TV journalism in November, after the elections. He plans to write a book about President Johnson, whom he served as a young White House aide, AP reported. CPB has sought conservative programming to counterbalance his Friday-night PBS program. In a Current critique, Christopher Lydon called Moyers “the best of our village explainers.”

Iowa regents unanimously approved the request of WOI in Ames to bid on a bankrupt FM station, reports the Iowa State Daily.