Maker is Queen and five other ideas.

Sue Schardt shares thoughts inspired by last week’s Integrated Media Association and Beyond Broadcast conferences. “This was the first time I’d heard so many people admitting — in the halls, not on the podiums — that they’re afraid,” she writes.

Five terrible fake pledge-week specials on PBS

Merlin Mann shares five terrible fake pledge-week specials. “Surviving members of every 50s doo-wop band fight to the death with clubs — shirtless and totally coked-up — in massive Thunderdome-like arena.”

For-profit companies win pieces of edtech grants

PubTV groups that received three big federal Ready to Teach grants are paying substantial sums to for-profit subcontractors, Education Week (registration required) reports in tomorrow’s issue. Mary Ann Zehr’s article doesn’t criticize the decisions but points to them as examples of increased outsourcing to for-profit researchers. PBS and WNET both turned to Hezel Associates for evaluation of their edtech projects; the Syracuse, N.Y., company is expected to bill $8 million total. Rocky Mountain PBS is subcontracting $1.75 million or about 35 percent of its grant to Digital Directions International. In contrast, Education Week says, Alabama PTV subcontracted to nonprofits EDC and Boston College.

Connecting Iowa: KHKE Tower Collapses

The broadcast tower of Iowa Public Radio’s KHKE-FM collapsed recently, falling prey to “an inch-think coating of ice and 30-40 mile per hour winds,” says IPR’s Todd Mundt. The network is putting up an interim low-power antenna while it determines how to pay for rebuilding.

Canines triumph in pledge Pet Wars

In a stunning and suspensefully narrow turn of events, dog owners outpledged cat owners in this year’s Pet Wars event on Montana Public Radio, winning by just 13 votes. The cats won last year by 32 votes, reports the Great Falls Tribune.

“Selected Shorts” sets sail

A Selected Shorts cruise sets off from Dubai next month, with host Isaiah Sheffer, Morning Edition commentator Frank Deford and several actors on board. Public TV viewers paid thousands of dollars in 2004 to schmooze at sea with Jim Lehrer and other personalities.

“BBC World” outgrows its niche status

In a profile of BBC World anchor Katty Kay, the Washington Post reports that news program’s “niche audience” numbers 1 million American viewers, a stat that puts the show ahead of most hosted cable news programs.

APTS preps proposals for ‘American Archive,’ copyright legislation

While the Association of Public Television Stations and its member stations’ activists will be busy enough fighting off the cutback of more than $140 million just proposed by the White House (separate story), the group is working on a slate of new longer-range proposals to take to Congress. ¶ Notably, public TV will seek additional funding for an American Archive project that would preserve and catalog programs and clear rights for long-term public access, APTS President John Lawson said in an interview. ¶ APTS will also ask for changes in copyright law to ease clearance and expand rights for educational uses, he said. ¶ Lawson spoke with Current editors in APTS’ offices in downtown Washington. Current: By Feb.