Allan Pizzato

Alabama firings expose rift over PTV mission, editorial standards

It’s not clear what objectives the political appointees of the Alabama Educational Television Commission had in mind when they came out of an executive session on June 12 and voted 5–2 to fire the state-operated public TV network’s top managers. Allan Pizzato, executive director of Alabama Public Television for 12 years, and his deputy, Pauline Howland, were ordered to clean out their desks and immediately vacate the station’s Birmingham headquarters. The dismissals triggered a series of unintended consequences that included an exodus of nine lay leaders from APT’s fundraising organizations, as well as Howland’s reinstatement on a temporary basis two days later. After the dismissals, the commissioners realized that they needed her knowledge and expertise to complete work on APT’s 2013 budget. The fissure also exposed an internal struggle over the commission’s push to schedule programs from the religious right for APT broadcast, and a revision of the network’s mission statement.

Alabama PTV’s Jon Beans host, producer, dies at 50

Jon Beans, a reporter and host on Alabama Public Television for more than 20 years, died June 13 at a Montgomery hospital from sickle cell anemia. He was 50. Beans was with APT from 1990 through 2011, working as a producer, executive producer for news and public affairs director. He appeared on For the Record, Capitol Journal, Alabama Stories and other programs. He was also an adjunct professor in communications at Alabama State University. Survivors include his wife, Sagusta; their daughter, Kaitlyn; and son, Jonathan; along with his mother, Bobbie Beans; and two brothers, Hillyard J. Beans III of Tuscaloosa and Michael Beans of Columbus, Ga.

Alabama PTV appoints interim director after departure of Pizzato

Allan Pizzato, executive director of Alabama Public Television for the past 12 years, has left that position. A press release from the station provides no details.The Alabama Educational Television Commission (AETC) announced Tuesday (June 12) the appointment of Don Boomershine as interim director. Boomershine is a past president of the Better Business Bureau for Central Alabama, v.p. of the Metropolitan Development Board, and v.p., national division of SouthTrust Bank. The announcement also said Boomershine “appeared regularly for 25 years” on Alabama television and radio stations, and received the Outstanding Broadcaster Cooperation Award from the Alabama Broadcasters’ Association.In the announcement, AETC Chair Ferris W. Stephens said the board thanked Pizzato “for all of his years of service as director of APT.”Last year, Alabama PTV endured programming and staff cutbacks due to state funding losses. Its weekly political roundtable, Capitol Journal, had been suspended in June 2011 but returned to the air in January 2012.

Dismissals at Alabama PTV linked to concerns over proposed broadcast of videos from religious right

See also more complete story from print edition of June 25, 2012. Two top managers at Alabama Public Television were fired from their jobs June 12 with no explanation of the cause for the immediate dismissals. The Alabama Educational Television Commission came out of an executive session Tuesday afternoon and ordered veteran pubcaster Allan Pizzato and his deputy, Pauline Howland, to clean out their desks and leave APT’s headquarters in Birmingham. “All I can say is that it was an irreconcilable difference in opinion of the future direction of the station,” Pizzato told Current. “I serve at the pleasure of the board.

Alabama commission revises APTV’s mission statement, 2012

See also Current coverage. Alabama network’s mission statement before the Alabama Educational Television Commission revised it June 12, 2012
Alabama Public Television Mission, Vision, Values, and Diversity Statement
MISSION
Each of us is born with a natural desire to learn. We seek to explore our world and to understand life and the people around us. Alabama Public Television is a center of discovery for people of all ages. We motivate children to learn, empower students and teachers to succeed, and provide a lifelong path to knowledge.