CPB seeks stations for outreach grants

CPB released a request for proposals this week for stations interested in participating in its community engagement initiative, a two-year collaboration between the corporation and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, a community organization consulting group based in Bethesda, Md. The project will offer participating stations–which must already be pursuing community engagement efforts–coaching, ongoing support and access to the Harwood Institute’s resources in order to strengthen and expand those efforts. The stations will receive $20,000 to fund their projects and reimbursement for the cost of any travel to workshops. CPB will pick 12 stations of various market and budget sizes and licensee types to participate by March 9.

Discovery Education targeted for more cuts

The corporate restructuring announced this month by Discovery Communications President David Zaslav will likely bring more cuts to its education division, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

Chester seeks recommitment to noncommercialism

While MoveOn.org urges its troops to back “permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling” for pubcasting, media reform activist Jeff Chester wants to see a trust fund only if it supports a “truly noncommercial” system. Such a system would reserve 30 percent of its funds for news and public affairs, air kidvid without commercial underwriting and bring in half of its programs from independent producers. He advises: “We shouldn’t help save ‘Big Bird,’ if all the public is going to get is more of the same of what we have today.” Chester discusses his recommendations in Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy, just published by the New Press.

Johanson gets her direction

Former PBS interactive chief Cindy Johanson will join the George Lucas Educational Foundation next week as chief operating officer. The new position reports to Milton Chen, executive director and former education topper at San Francisco’s KQED. Lucas, the director of Star Wars, said he wants Johanson’s help in making the foundation’s Edutopia.org website “the best archive of films, articles and tools for creating successful schools.”

APTS seeks DTV channel carriage by satcasters

House Telecom Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told pubTV managers yesterday that he’ll support their call for satellite TV operators to carry the digital TV signals of local pubTV stations. APTS wants DirecTV and EchoStar to carry their local signals if it carries those of any stations. APTS achieved a digital carriage agreement with large cable operators in 2005 after seeking federal action. A deal with smaller operators is expected soon, APTS said.

NAB urges satcasters to stop using FM modulators

National Association of Broadcasters has asked the XM and Sirius satellite radio companies to stop using tiny FM transmitters to connect their satellite receivers with the audio systems in subscribers’ cars. NPR also has objected to the gizmos.

Eye to eye, wing to wing

In March many public TV stations will air Winged Migration, the hit 2003 theatrical release that put the viewer in the sky, flying alongside geese and other twice-yearly migrants. The distributor, American Public Television, is recommending (PDF, page 3) Jacques Perrin’s doc for broadcast on Earth Day, April 22.

Shadows in the corridors

The scene: a small conference room of the Senate Committee on Commerce, late on a February afternoon. The players: a senior committee staffer and her longtime acquaintance, a public broadcasting general manager. The author is president of Colorado Public Television (KBDI) in Denver. Illustration: Elene Usdin. ‘Well, the bastards have you right where they want you!” growled the aide, barely looking up from her papers spread across the conference table.

Giovannoni shares credit for Grammy-winning album

David Giovannoni, an influential audience researcher in the world of public radio, shares credit for an album that won a Grammy last night. Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922 took the award in the Historical Album category. Giovannoni served as production consultant and contributed album notes, technical assistance and records from his collection. (Via RadioSutton.)

Technology360: Trusted Space interviews

“We must as an industry stop thinking within radio and television silos,” writes Dennis Haarsager on his blog. “It’s a distinction that is important to us, but is totally unimportant to our listeners and viewers in an on-demand world. But NPR isn’t chartered to worry about television, PBS isn’t chartered to worry about radio, and decades of bad blood makes it difficult to build a unified future. We need to get over it and we may need a new institution to do it. Separate systems won’t work.”

‘More of the same’: Bush request for $140+ million cutback

As in years past, the administration budget released on Feb. 5 [2007] calls for substantial cuts to CPB funding and other system line items. The White House would slice more than $140 million from the system’s current funding levels in fiscal 2008, a reduction of almost 25 percent from ’07…

Edwards temporarily takes reins at AFTRA

Bob Edwards will assume presidential duties for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists next month when current National President John P. Connolly departs. Connolly is leaving AFTRA to become National Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association. Edwards, now AFTRA’s First National Vice President, will assume presidential duties until April.

Oregon Public Broadcasting Exec Dies

Michael A. Tondreau, v.p. of engineering at Oregon Public Broadcasting, died Jan. 30 of cancer, according to TVTechnology.com. Tondreau worked for OPB for more than 40 years and served on the PBS Engineering Committee.

Unhappy classical fans in Texas can apply for LPFM

Despite a “significant number” of objections, the FCC will allow Kilgore Junior College in Kilgore, Texas, to sell KTPB-FM, its noncommercial station, to a religious broadcaster. But the commission has taken an unusual step and given KTPB’s unhappy listeners a one-time chance to apply for a low-power FM license that could restore a classical music station to the community. (PDF.)

This liberal wants his WESUN

The return of classical music on Washington’s WETA-FM has left the city without Weekend Edition Sunday, and the editor-at-large of the American Prospect is not happy. “Is there cosmic justice in the fact that people in the hollows of eastern Kentucky and the remote plains of Nebraska can hear a serious couple hours’ worth of radio news on Sunday mornings, while those of us who have taken the good time, trouble, and expense to deposit ourselves in the nation’s political nerve center — and even enmesh ourselves in its sordid particulars — can’t?” he asks.

TV critics get their wish for “The War”

PBS will debut Ken Burns’ The War on Sept. 23, one week later than originally planned. The Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes reports on the schedule change, which television critics clamored for during the recent press tour, and consults anonymous commercial network programmers. They describe the switch as “monumentally stupid.”