StoryCorps puts flesh on bones of history

Danny and Annie Perasa enjoyed the sort of dream marriage promised in diamond ads and sappy romantic comedies, only it all actually happened. All the laughs, the finished sentences, the little love letters — “glorified weather reports,” Annie called them — that Danny would leave for “my princess” each morning on the kitchen table at home in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. All the funny stories. Like the one about Danny, with his monumentally bad eyesight, mistaking a herd of goats in St. Martin for a pack of “really incredible leaping dogs.” Or about the time he befriended a crew of Hells Angels on Long Island, who put him on the back of a chopper and gave him a lift to the train station.

Fundraiser’s past a red flag no one saw

Before Nancy Kruse’s fundraising company closed, leaving more than $400,000 in expected public radio proceeds unaccounted for, Kruse’s company bio described her as, among other things, “director of The Writing Center in San Diego” who “has a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and, in 1997, was awarded a Eureka Fellowship for her leadership in nonprofit management.” However, Georgetown University has no record of her graduation and Eureka Communities does not list her as a past fellow. She did indeed run the Writing Center, once a nonprofit fixture of San Diego’s literary scene, but Kruse’s former co-workers, who knew her under the name Delaney Anderson, say she presided over the center’s collapse. The center’s last days in 1998 were marked by double-talk and creative accounting, they say, which also characterized the rapid decline and closing of Washington-based Nancy Kruse + Partners this year, according to many of that firm’s employees. The Writing Center’s leaders say Anderson/Kruse suddenly resigned weeks before the center’s demise amid eviction notices and bad debts. Kruse, who ran online fundraising auctions for more than 40 public radio stations in her company’s 16-month existence, has not explained to stations what happened to more than $400,000 in earnings she had reported from September’s multistation auction.

House votes 2 to 1 to restore CPB aid

A week of rallies, petitions, public service announcements and entreaties to Congress persuaded the House of Representatives to restore the $400 million appropriation for next year that Congress advance-funded two years ago.

CPB’s controversial moves prompt theories in press, calls for reform

From a string of news sensations over the past month journalists and progressive activists have discerned the picture of a CPB greatly in need of reform. A May 2 front-page story in the New York Times charged that CPB Chair Ken Tomlinson conducted his own outside review of Now with Bill Moyers, worked to kill a legislative proposal last year that would have required more radio and TV vets on the CPB Board and has made clear that a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Asst. Secretary of State Patricia Harrison, is his preferred choice for the vacant CPB presidency. The report has broadened the controversy, inspiring other articles and opinion pieces. But even before the Times story, Common Cause President Chellie Pengree urged CPB Board members to take the lead in reforming their board so that “individuals without partisan leanings” can lead the federally funded agency.

APTS, cablers craft digital carriage deal

The Association of Public Television Stations has struck a deal with the
cable industry in which major cable operators will guarantee to carry as
many as four program streams from all public television stations in their
markets once the digital TV transition is complete. Public TV regards multicast carriage as essential if it is to take full advantage of digital broadcasting capabilities. Cable companies now are required to carry only stations’ primary video feeds—analog or digital—in the present period before the DTV transition is done. The agreement, yet to be ratified by stations, would be triggered when stations give back their analog spectrum. It will not affect multicast deals that stations or PBS have already negotiated with cable operators.

Edwards’ jump to XM renews satellite debate

With Bob Edwards’ decision to leave NPR for a satellite radio company,
public radio is debating again a highly ponderable question: Should it embrace
satellite as a distributor for its programs or fear it as a competitor for
listeners and revenue? Edwards’ new weekday morning gig, The Bob Edwards Show, will
start the morning for a new channel, XM Public Radio. The one-hour show will
originate weekdays at 8 a.m. Eastern time and will repeat at 9 a.m. The channel
launches Sept. 1; Edwards’ show debuts Oct. 4.

CPB’s TV Future Fund was illegal, GAO finds

A long-anticipated report on public television by the General Accounting
Office, released May 21, advises Congress that CPB illegally diverted
money intended for stations into the now-defunct Television Future Fund. The report, “Issues Related to Federal Funding of Public Television by the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” says CPB operated outside its authority
when it took money from the part of its appropriation that Congress designated
for station grants and used it for Television Future Fund projects. Between 1996 and this year, the Future Fund made grants for R&D projects
to improve public TV operations and fundraising. But GAO said CPB can’t legally
make selective grants from funds allocated for station grants. CPB President Bob Coonrod rebutted that conclusion in a statement printed
as an appendix in the report.