Lawmakers rebuked South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for vetoing $5.9 million in state funding for ETV, the statewide network of public TV and radio stations, taking three separate votes on June 29 to restore all of the subsidies. Legislators then proceeded to override nearly all of Haley’s vetoes, adding more than $200 million to programs that the governor had targeted with her veto pen, according to the State, the Columbia-based daily newspaper. House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham — a Republican, like Haley — delivered an angry speech on the House floor, complaining that Gov. Haley reneged on an agreement to restructure state funding for ETV. Haley’s veto would have eliminated more than 60 percent of ETV’s $9.6 million budget.
The news staff at KSFR in Santa Fe, N.M., continues reporting on the wildfires that knocked out the station’s tower last week. Newscasts are only streaming online, “which is a big blow,” KSFR reporter Charles Maynard told WBUR’s Here & Now, because the station has the largest radio news department in the state. KSFR’s tower is on the Pajarito Mountain in the area of the Las Conchas fire near the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Robert Gutierrez is the new president and c.e.o. of KMBH in Harlingen, Texas. The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, which owns RGV Educational Broadcasting, announced the appointment Thursday (June 30). Gutierrez is the third person to hold the position in two years, notes the Valley Morning Star. He succeeds John Ross, who resigned in April after four months as interim president and c.e.o, and before that, the controversial Monsignor Pedro Briseño (Current, March 16, 2009), who was removed and reassigned to full-time parish ministry in April 2010. Gutierrez formerly worked as director of sales and marketing for Gateway Printing & Office Supply Inc. in Edinburg, Texas, and general sales manager and acting g.m. for KVEO, the NBC affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley.
WGCU, one of the Florida stations coping with total loss of state funding, will leave a radio staff position empty and cut back on locally produced segments, reports the Naples News. That troubles listener Barbara Winsloe. “They don’t want to start cutting their programs because it means they’re going to lose listeners,” Winsloe said. “There’s nothing I’ve ever heard come out of that building that isn’t educational and just dandy.” WGCU is losing about 10 percent of its budget but should be able to avoid layoffs. It’s cutting the Your Voice radio documentary from four times a year to three, FGCU Sports Report will go from weekly to monthly and the TV station will produce two documentaries this year instead of its usual three or four.
Catherine McManus, senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer at WMFE in Orlando, Fla., is leaving the station on July 8. She’s accepted a position as chief development officer at Camp Boggy Creek, one of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps for seriously ill children, in Eustis, Fla., reports the Orlando Sentinel. She is the daughter of Stephen McKenney Steck, the top executive at WMFE for decades who stepped down as president on Jan. 1, 2006. WMFE-TV is awaiting news on its pending sale to religious broadcaster Daystar Television (Current, April 18).
WTTW in Chicago has a new chief operating officer, Greg Cameron, formerly its e.v.p. and chief development officer. He will continue to oversee development efforts for the organization, WTTW said in a statement, in addition to managing day-to-day operations for WTTW and 98.7 WFMT. Before arriving at the station in 2008, Cameron was deputy director and chief development officer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. He’s also worked as director of foundation and corporate relations at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Montclair University may have lost its bid to take over management of the New Jersey Network, but it’s still moving ahead with plans to offer state-focused broadcasting, according to NJBiz. “Our interest in this hasn’t declined,” University President Susan Cole said. “We are going to continue to build our capacity in media and communications, even if we do it without a television license. We’ll just move directly to a multimedia platform, to the Internet, and skip a step.” NJN’s transfer to a nonprofit subsidiary of WNET/Thirteen passed its final hurdle on Monday.
“You can sit around talking about stuff,” says Ralph Jennings, retiring g.m. of Fordham University’s WFUV-FM, “or you can just get it done.” The New York Times profiles Dr. Jennings as he prepares to leave the station he managed for 26 years, transforming it from a student-programmed outlet into a CPB-qualified public radio music station employing 30 full-time professional staff and nearly 90 students. With 300,000 weekly radio listeners and 30,000 tuning in online, WFUV now ranks among the top 25 public radio stations in the country, the Times reports. Chuck Singleton, program director who has guided WFUV’s newsroom, music schedule and digital content strategy, steps in as interim g.m. when Jennings officially signs off June 30.
The FCC is taking a close look at third-party funding relationships at KUSF in San Francisco, the college radio station that KUSC in Los Angeles took over in January as part of its proposed $6 million signal expansion into the Bay Area. In a letter of inquiry released today, June 28, Audio Division chief Peter Doyle requested documents and detailed answers to 15 questions about KUSF operations under KUSC’s Classical Public Radio Network, which converted the student-programmed outlet on 90.3 FM into a full-time classical music service after the deal was announced. CPRN is operating the station under an interim contract while the FCC reviews the license transfer proposal. KUSF owner University of San Francisco and KUSC have 30 days to respond to the commission’s questions.
Colorado Public Radio is launching a new music station on 1340 AM in the Denver metro area and online beginning this fall. The programming will focus on current contemporary music, “including notable releases of the past 15 years and the earlier music that inspired it,” the station said in a statement. Mike Flanagan, g.m. of KVCU/Radio 1190 at the University of Colorado Boulder, will manage the new station. Flanagan has more than 30 years of experience in radio, including eight years with CPR in the 1990s as an on-air and Midday Mozart music host. CPR will continue to broadcast news on 90.1 FM and classical music 88.1 FM.
The waiting game continues for the sale of PBS affiliate WMFE in Orlando, Fla., to Daystar Television, which is pending with the Federal Communications Commission. “There are no current updates to report regarding our application before the FCC,” Jose Fajardo, president and CEO of WMFE, said in an email to the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday (June 27). “Beginning July 1, WMFE-TV will be scheduling V-me on its primary channel and The Florida Channel as one of its SD channels.” The station will have 23 employees after Friday, a drop from 35 last October.
Rob Bole, CPB’s former vice president of Digital Media Strategy, is now helping lead digital media efforts for the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Bole and Raina Kumra are co-directors of a new board-initiated innovation practice integrated into the existing BBG Office of New Media, it announced Monday (June 27). Kumra previously served as senior new media advisor to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy. The two will “help advance the BBG’s mission to reach larger worldwide audiences where they are through innovation, enterprise journalism and audience engagement,” a BBG statement said. They’ll work to streamline international broadcasting collaborations among BBG’s networks: the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting.
PBS39 spent Monday (June 28) moving into new digs at the SteelStacks Public Media and Education Center in Bethlehem, Pa. The Morning Call reports the 29,000-square-foot building includes two high-definition studios, a green screen and twice as much office space as the previous studio. A 16-by-9-foot TV screen outside will give the public either a peek at what’s going on in the studio or a show. But that screen and other technical equipment is still weeks from delivery, due to production setbacks after the tsunami in Japan.
Independent journalists working in public media are having an increasingly tough time making their livings as producers for public television and radio, according to a survey of 206 indies commissioned by the Association of Independents in Radio and the Independent Television Service.Over the past three years, the financial struggles of working as an indie have become harder for 64 percent of those reporting and producing for radio. A much larger majority of TV and film indies — 81 percent — reported that their financial challenges have deepened.The outlook among radio indies, who comprised 75 percent of survey respondents, is somewhat brighter than for those working in television, film and Internet production, who made up only one-quarter of the survey sample.Radio journalists see more opportunities for future income from traditional public radio outlets — both the networks and local stations — and more expect to earn more money from podcasts and other digital distribution technologies.Strong ties to local stations was a source of optimism for radio indies participating in the survey. Nearly half reported “strong” or “very strong” relationships with their local public radio stations. Among indies working in TV and film, 77 percent reported that they had no relationship with their local public TV station, or weak or very weak ties.The survey was funded by CPB and conducted by Market Trends Research.
Alabama Public Television is shuttering its state capital bureau and suspending production of its political roundtable, Capitol Journal. The shutdown, part of a network-wide downsizing that includes lay-offs for 19 staff, responds to the latest round of state funding losses for APT.With policymakers’ decision this year to cut APT’s subsidies by $1.3 million, APT has lost 50 percent of its state support since 2008, Executive Director Allan Pizzato tells the Montgomery Advertiser. He’s also scaling back operations at APT’s Huntsville station and ending production of the music series, We Have Signal.APT is the third public TV station to curtail its political coverage in response to funding cuts imposed by state policymakers: New Hampshire Public Television is putting New Hampshire Outlook on hiatus and Miami’s WLRN is dropping legislative coverage from the Florida Public Radio Network.
The New Jersey Senate was one vote short of blocking WNET’s agreement to take over the New Jersey Network, the Star-Ledger reported Monday night (June 27). A similar resolution had overwhelmingly passed the Assembly last week. Public Media NJ, a nonprofit subsidiary of WNET/Thirteen, takes over the NJN TV operations Friday (July 1).Some lawmakers were not pleased. “New Jersey’s taxpayers will be on the hook for millions of dollars annually to support the continued operation,” Sen. Loretta Weinberg said, noting that the state will spend at least $4.7 million a year. “So while we hand this network off to a New York operator, we are not saving that much money.”
The departure of the entire four-person faculty from Maine’s small but influential Salt Institute for Documentary Studies has caused concern among the school’s alumni, many of whom found their way into public radio via Salt’s unique classes in audio production. The teachers who left have either declined to discuss their resignations publicly or said their reasons for leaving were personal and unrelated. The executive director of the Portland-based school and its board of trustees echo those accounts. That has done little to assure alums, however, who fear that the close timing of the departures suggests problems behind the scenes. “It’s a pretty clear picture that there’s an underlying issue and a reason they all decided to leave,” says Jen Dean, a photographer and Salt grad who has represented alumni in meetings with Salt leadership.
John Kaplan was scared. He’d been diagnosed with not one but two types of lymphoma, and chemotherapy had begun to ravage his once-thick head of hair. So he did what came naturally when confronted with human drama: Kaplan, a photographer and teacher of photography, picked up a camera and began to shoot. “For me initially, it was a way to cope with fear,” Kaplan says. He assigned the story to himself and went to work.
A Dutch government proposal to scale back activities of its overseas broadcaster, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, is unlikely to affect its most widely carried English-language programs on U.S. public radio stations, according to editors and managers behind the shows. The subject areas of The State We’re In and Earth Beat both would fit well within reorganization plans outlined by Dutch policymakers this month — to focus the service on freedom of expression in countries where such rights are suppressed. The Dutch cabinet also proposed to operate RNW as an arm of the Foreign Ministry. The change — set to be debated by the Dutch Parliament this week — is part of a fiscal-austerity plan that would strip some 20 percent of RNW’s government funding. The agency would drop its mandates to provide news and information for Dutch people living abroad and to give other countries a “realistic image of the Netherlands.”
“We feel confident that when the belt is tightened we’ll be above the waistline,” said Greg Kelly, editor of The State We’re In.
The Knight Foundation awarded $420,000 last week to support the development of Zeega, an open-source HTML5 platform co-created by independent public radio producer Kara Oehler, a creator of the Mapping Main Street project. Zeega will enable the creation of “participatory multimedia projects on web, tablet and mobile devices,” according to its website. The platform will allow creators to combine web-based media including audio, maps, photos, video and text. Oehler and her collaborators, Jesse Shapins and James Burns, were inspired to create Zeega after producing the multimedia Mapping Main Street project, according to an article in the Harvard Gazette. (The three are affiliated with the university.) That collaborative documentation of Main Streets across the country was supported by CPB and the Association of Independents in Radio.