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.

Be Warriors: Marine recruitment on PBS

The Marines, a Feb. 21 documentary directed by former PBS program exec John Grant, prompted many viewers to write to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler using phrases such as “propagandistic paean,” “utter piece of garbage,” and “infomercial . . . recruiting our youngsters to the ‘warrior ethos’ of the Marines.”

Teams announced for CPB Talent Quest

Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and a trio of prominent women producers called “Launch” will field the two teams competing in CPB’s Talent Quest, the corporation said this week. Launch includes Mary Beth Kirchner, Julie Burstein and Marge Ostroushko. PRX, which is run by a bunch of guys, frankly, plans to choose its talent through four elimination rounds on the Web. Each team will choose three potential pubradio hosts (to be announced at PRPD in September) and work with them on pilots. The winner will be announced early in ’08.

Liroff moves to system strategy post at CPB

David Liroff, the WGBH v.p. who’s already a prominent national voice in system planning, got that job officially this week. CPB hired him as senior v.p., system development and media strategy, overseeing station grant policy, technology investments and other wonky important matters. He succeeds Andy Russell, who moved to PBS this month.

GAO: Toy (etc.) deals “unlikely” source of big money

A newly released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (79-page PDF, see pages 6-7 and 44-52) found little to support the view of Rep. Ginny Browne-Waite (and AIM) that public broadcasting has become a “billionaire” from merchandising deals. The Florida Republican made the claim in 2005 before asking for the GAO study. Few programs generate back-end revenues, GAO explains. The successful ones pay license fees of only 2.5 to 7.5 percent of merchandise retail prices, anyway, and neither PBS nor CPB is likely to get much of that because they don’t make big front-end investments. That’s pretty much what Current reported in 1995 when politicians claimed Barney was making PBS rich.

Views on an XM/Sirius merger

Doc Searls shares his thoughts about the possible merger of XM and Sirius: “I don’t care how diverse the programming becomes, it’s still coming from too few companies. When the choice gets down to one, I guarantee that programming will have a homogenous quality to it.” One programmer sees some upsides. “Public/community radio, with its hook of no commercials, will inevitably gain from a pool of listeners who won’t be as excited about paying $20 a month for programming that changes from when they signed up,” writes Ernesto Aguilar, p.d. of KPFT-FM in Houston.

Radio Station Cries ‘Enough’ — Won’t Quote From Certain News Stories Relying on Unnamed Officials

The news director at KSFR-FM in Santa Fe, N.M., has told his staff not to use nationally published news stories that rely on unnamed U.S. officials as sources. “What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear,” wrote Bill Dupuy. “‘High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity,’ ‘Usually reliable Washington sources,’ and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.” Numerous blogs have picked up on the story and praised Dupuy’s decision.

Report: FCC can legally regulate broadcast violence

A draft of a long-awaited FCC report suggests that the Congress could ask the commission to regulate broadcast violence without violating the Constitution, according to the Los Angeles Times. A bipartisan group of lawmakers asked the FCC in 2004 to look into whether it could constitutionally regulate such content; unlike with indecency, the Supreme Court has never ruled that the FCC could regulate on-screen violence.

Scripting News: WNYC spam

Blogger Dave Winer complains about the spam he’s received since donating to New York’s WNYC. “Of course I have asked to be removed from the spam list, and how tacky is it to ask for a pledge less than a month after getting a gift of $100.”

NPR’s social media summit

NPR has convened a meeting of high-profile bloggers and Web 2.0 thinkers in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the network’s future in social media. Not surprisingly, there’s plenty of online, on-the-scene coverage from this crowd. NPR’s Andy Carvin has notes and videos on his blog. Robert Paterson: “The theme is becoming the new reality of the shift from Consuming to Creating.” Doc Searls: “Seems to me that public broadcasting is way too long on policy and bureaucracy and way too short on engagement.”

Poynter Online – A Conversation With Corey Flintoff

Poynter’s website presents MP3s of conversations with Corey Flintoff, an NPR newscaster and reporter who recently has been filing stories from Iraq. “Flintoff says journalists should be cautious of recent reports about Iran’s role in the war as well,” writes Leann Frola. “He says he’s skeptical of the ‘so called’ evidence that Iran is providing roadside bombs that are killing soldiers like the ones he interviewed. You just don’t know when you can’t see it for yourself, he says.”