White House sends two nominations for CPB Board to Senate for confirmation

The White House has sent two nominations to the Senate for confirmation for openings on the CPB Board, it announced Wednesday. President Barack Obama has nominated Maryland educator Jannette Lake Dates to replace former Board Chair Ernest Wilson, whose term expired in 2010; and put forth Los Angeles attorney Bruce Ramer for a second term. Ramer left the board in 2012.

Wits to deliver 10 new episodes this season for nationwide carriage

The fourth season of the Minnesota Public Radio-produced St. Paul variety show Wits, which piloted as an MPR-only broadcast, will be the first debuting in national distribution. All MPR News stations carry the show, as well as “more than a dozen” other stations, according to MPR spokesperson Tara Schlosser. The season premiere, featuring Wait, Wait . .

George Rogers, WCET development director

George H. Rogers Jr., who worked as development and community relations director at WCET-TV in Cincinnati in the early years of the station, died Dec. 27 at his home in suburban Florence, Ky. His death at age 83 followed a three-year battle with lung cancer. Rogers started at the station, now branded as CET, almost 50 years ago. In 1972, CPB honored him for his work in promotion and development.

Ken Stern, former NPR c.e.o., says pubradio should shed federal support

In a new interview, former NPR C.E.O. Ken Stern tells Newsmax TV, a conservative media outlet, that public radio would be better off without federal support. Stern said that the small amount of governmental support the network receives “draws an enormous cost in terms of credibility, focus and the efforts they have to do to maintain that support.” “With that relatively modest funding,” he added, “they’d be smart to actually think carefully about going on their own with corporate, individual, institutional and foundation support.”

Stern noted that his experience was in public radio, and he couldn’t address the specifics of PBS funding. Stern became c.e.o. at NPR in 2006, moving up from chief operating officer, and departed in 2008.

POV, StoryCorps get $1 million each from MacArthur Foundation

American Documentary, home to PBS’s independent film showcase POV, and StoryCorps, the oral history project heard on NPR, are each receiving $1 million as recipients of the latest round of MacArthur Foundation Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, announced today. The grants help ensure the long-term sustainability of the winners, 13 organizations in five countries, according to the foundation. “The award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future,” the Chicago-based foundation said in the announcement. “Organizations will use this support to build cash reserves and endowments, develop strategic plans and upgrade technology and physical infrastructure.”

Organizations do not apply for the awards; rather, MacArthur nominates and selects them. To qualify, the foundation said, nonprofits must “demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs.”

Portrait of a ‘Kind Hearted Woman’ as she finds her voice

Kind-Hearted Woman, David Sutherland’s latest documentary series for Frontline is a five-hour story of abuse and triumph for a Native American woman. His meticulous techniques for gathering and mixing sound added six months to the post-production process, yet the filmmaker says they’re a key part of his process of creating intimate documentary portraits.

Chris Lydon returns to Boston airwaves as WGBH-FM contributor

Former radio host Christopher Lydon will return to the Boston airwaves as a weekly contributor to Boston Public Radio, a daily local news/talk show on WGBH-FM. Lydon will appear on the show Thursdays to discuss current events with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, who debuted as hosts Monday. The duo formerly hosted a show on commercial talk station WTKK in Boston, which switched format last month. WGBH also announced that Emily Rooney, host of Greater Boston on WGBH’s TV channel, will be Friday’s featured guest. Rooney previously served as a Boston Public Radio co-host.

President Obama chooses Ramer for second term on CPB Board

President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his intent to nominate Bruce Ramer, former CPB chair, to serve another term on the CPB Board of Directors. Ramer is a partner at the Los Angeles entertainment and media law firm Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, and counts among his clients Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood. Ramer served on the CPB Board from October 2008 to December 2012, and chaired the group during his final two years. This will be the board’s first appointment since Patty Cahill, former g.m. of KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo., joined the directors in 2009. Ramer must be confirmed by the Senate for the four-year appointment.

HistoryMakers providing free “ScienceMakers” engagement toolkit

The HistoryMakers, a Chicago-based educational nonprofit that produces and archives personal stories of notable African-Americans, is offering free engagement toolkits as part of its “ScienceMakers: African Americans & Scientific Innovation” oral history project. The three-year National Science Foundation–funded initiative will produce interviews of 180 of the nation’s top African-American scientists, corresponding curriculum and public programs. Each scientist’s biography, along with activities related to their specific field and guidelines for aligning the content with classroom lessons, is available as a PDF toolkit. By registering at the site, pubcasters will have access to the “ScienceMakers” digital archive, which currently contains 40 three-hour interviews with an array of scientists.

Michael Toms, co-founder of New Dimensions

Michael Toms, the co-founder and co-host of the public radio program New Dimensions for four decades, died in his sleep Jan. 24 at the age of 72. The series is syndicated by 188 stations throughout the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

APTS congressional champion delivers ‘tough love’ to pubTV leaders

A radio broadcaster-turned lawmaker who chairs a key House subcommittee with oversight of CPB delivered a pointed critique to public TV station execs about their prospects for preserving federal aid in the 113th Congress. During a Feb. 26 breakfast hosted by the Association of Public Television Stations at the Library of Congress, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R) warned a roomful of station executives that they face an uphill battle in rebuilding bipartisan support for the field. Republican views of public broadcasting are colored by negative baggage carried over from the 2010-11 political scandals over NPR, and the notion that increased competition from cable and digital channels has made public TV less relevant to television viewers, Walden said. The event, part of APTS’s annual Public Media Summit, celebrated Walden as a “Champion of Public Broadcasting,” and the lawmaker used the occasion to deliver what APTS President Patrick Butler later called “tough love.”

Walden referred to recommendations of a 2007 Government Accountability Office report on public TV’s financing to make his point.

Board dismisses Iowa Public Radio C.E.O. Mary Grace Herrington

The Iowa Public Radio Board of Directors on Monday terminated Mary Grace Herrington, its chief executive officer, reports the Gazette in Cedar Rapids. The vote was six in favor of dismissal and one against, Mark Braun, University of Iowa chief of staff, told the Des Moines Register. He said he voted against termination because he was new to the board and has had limited interaction with Herrington. Herrington joined IPR as its c.e.o. in January 2009. She oversaw operations, brand management, programming, audience development and all revenue channels; the station has an annual budget of $7.8 million.

ITVS, U.S. Institute of Peace to host Media that Moves Millions daylong summit

Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the United States Institute of Peace are partnering on the fourth Media as Global Diplomat leadership series, this time titled Media that Moves Millions, Thursday in Washington, D.C. It’s aimed at leveraging media worldwide to highlight innovative models for international conflict prevention. Speakers include Kathy Calvin, president of the United Nations Foundation; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Nicholas Kristof; Ben Keesey, c.e.o. of Invisible Children, the organization behind the Kony 2012 initiative; journalist Frank Sesno; Matthew Perault, manager for privacy and global policy at Facebook; and Alec Ross, senior adviser for innovation to the Secretary of State. Public media representatives include CPB President Patricia Harrison and ITVS President Sally Jo Fifer. Topics include participatory media and civic activism; using social media to raise global awareness and financial support for social issues; how professional content creators and community organizers can harness the power of the crowd; best practices and strategies for utilizing Twitter for engagement and the role of crowd-funding platforms in peace building. PBS NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will host a live stream broadcast here.

NPR restructures marketing unit; Krichels leaves WPSU ‘for multiple reasons’; Walker joins DEI Board, and more …

Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s senior v.p. of marketing, communications and external relations, will leave the network May 6 due to a reorganization of her division under new Chief Marketing Officer Emma Carrasco. The restructuring is intended to “put more emphasis on marketing than on communications,” said NPR President Gary Knell in a Feb. 14 email to station leaders.

Looming sequestration cuts complicate CSG payments

With the increasing likelihood that budget cuts once thought to be too big to take effect will slash spending across the federal government March 1, CPB is planning how to handle its payments to stations in the event that its $445 million 2013 appropriation is altered again.