Could Obama budget affect donation deductions?

Nonprofits are worried over one aspect of President Barack Obama’s preliminary budget released last week, The New York Times reports. An analysis by one nonprofit estimates that under the proposal, donors earning more than $250,000 would see their deductions lowered from 35 percent to 28 percent. About half of wealthy donors in a 2006 survey said they’d keep giving the same amount if deductions fell to zero.

Kuehl picked to head Kansas City’s KCPT

Kansas City’s KCPT has hired Nevada pubcaster Kliff Kuehl as its president, the Kansas City Star reported. The station has been headhunting since former chief Victor Hogstrom resigned in July. Kuehl managed KWBU in his home town of Waco and then KNPB in Reno. Before entering public TV, he tried a movie and video career, raising a production budget and then completing a movie called Murder Rap with John Hawkes, the Star’s Aaron Barnhart reported. He starts work in Kansas City April 6.

Sesame Street to open Busch Gardens attraction

On April 3, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., will open its latest attraction, a Sesame Street-themed area with four kid-sized rides including a junior roller coaster for small visitors and their parents. The Forest of Fun will also have play areas, a photo studio for pictures with Sesame Street characters, and live performances by the characters.

Moyers responds to Slate column

Public television newsman Bill Moyers is speaking out in an email to the editor of, complaining about a column by Slate writer Jack Shafer. Shafer’s piece focused on a recent story in The Washington Post by reporter Joe Stephens that said Moyers, once a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson, asked the FBI to investigate the sexual orientation of two members of that administration. In the Post story, Moyers told Stephens that his memory was unclear on the incident. Moyers wrote in part to Slate: “Jack Shafer breathlessly reported very old news as new, and in a wholly irresponsible way that distorted the record beyond recognition. He bothered neither to check the secondhand sources on which he wholly relied nor to ask me for comment on them.”

Pubcasters to participate in volunteerism summit

CPB and the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network are among some three dozen organizations participating in “A Nation of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: A Summit on Volunteerism as a Response to the Economic Crisis,” sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Fairfield (Conn.) University’s Center for Faith and Public Life. The Feb. 27 event will focus on the role of volunteers in community recovery from the financial crisis.

WETA cuts 13 percent of its staff

WETA eliminated 29 full- and part-time positions this week. There were 15 employees laid off and 14 vacant positions will remain unfilled. Salaries for senior managers have been cut by 13 percent to 15 percent. Those moves and other cost cutting will save the public broadcaster $2.5 million in annual expenses. WETA is based in Arlington, Va., and broadcasts to the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Meetings begin Monday on broadband billions

With stimulus orders to spend $4.7 billion without delay, the National Telecom and Information Administration starts holding on-the-record meetings March 2 in Washington about broadband projects, the agency announced this week. The proper name: Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or Broadband TOP. In addition, the Ag Department’s Rural Utilities Service will dispense $2.5 billion under the bill. Here’s the raw legislation for appropriations to NTIA and RUS, courtesy of the National Association of Telecom Officers and Advisors.

Large gifts from individuals down; foundations, up

Charitable gifts of more than $1 million from individuals fell by a third in the second half of 2008, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the just-released Million Dollar List compiled by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The number of $1 million-and-up gifts from foundations, however, increased 10 percent from the same period a year earlier, to 551, while the number of corporate gifts at that level remained the same at 146. The drop in individual giving is the second-largest during the last half of a year to occur in the past decade. The largest drop, 35 percent, was in 2001.

APTS appeals to states on funding

The Association of Public Television Stations is “issuing a plea” to governors and state legislatures to “invest in local public television stations,” according to a statement it issued today. It cited Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York and Virginia as states either slashing or eliminating pubTV funding. “State governments are essential investors in local public television stations, providing vital resources to enable stations to fulfill their educational missions,” APTS President Larry Sidman said in the statement. The National Governors Association is meeting with President Barack Obama this week in Washington.