Patrick Butler spoke Friday at the annual Fall Marketplace sponsored by distributor American Public Television.
Patrick Butler spoke Friday at the annual Fall Marketplace sponsored by distributor American Public Television.
Under the new standard, television will become “a key part of a network infrastructure in the home,” according to consultant Vinnie Curren. The change has implications for “the kind of people we hire and the culture that we’re building.”
APTS awarded the David J. Brugger Lay Leadership Award to Hilma Prather of Kentucky Feb. 22 at its Public Media Summit in Washington, D.C.
The Association of Public Television Stations has restructured its staff to align with recently adopted strategic goals, including efforts to promote best practices, increase state and federal funding and support advocacy for the system at large. Two key staffers are stepping up to manage the expanding workload. Kate Riley, director of government relations, has been promoted to v.p., government and public affairs; she will focus on advocacy and state and federal funding. Emil Mara, v.p. for finance and administration, will direct member services. The reorganization follows through on a strategic plan adopted by the APTS board of trustees in November, according to Pat Butler, president.
SOCIETY OF AMERICAN BUSINESS EDITORS AND WRITERS
Pubcasters honored with SABEW Best in Business awards. NPR’s coverage of the “Health Care Website Launch” was named best radio/TV segment or interview, citing reporter Elise Hu and editors Uri Berliner and Neal Carruth. NPR’s Planet Money won in the innovation category for its episode “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt.” WAMU 88.5 News’s Patrick Madden, Julie Patel and Meymo Lyons won for best radio/TV or investigative report for “Deals for Developers.” “Lots of ground covered, great interviews with lots of players and lots of tough questions asked,” said SABEW. “This is local accountability journalism at its best.”
ProPublica received three awards in the digital arena. ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger won for digital commentary for “The Trade,” which addressed the banking and financial industries; T. Christian Miller and Jeff Gerth were cited in the digital explanatory division for “Overdose,” a series investigating the dangers of acetaminophen; and A.C. Thompson and Jonathan Jones won for the digital feature “Assisted Living.”
The digital investigative prize went to Chris Hamby of The Center for Public Integrity for “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine.” (“Breathless and Burdened” also won the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting presented by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for CPI’s Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Jim Morris and Chris Zubak-Skees plus Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz of ABC News; it was presented March 5 in Boston.)
The 19th annual BiB awards will be presented March 29 at the SABEW conference in Phoenix.
With pubcasting no longer a political football, station reps meeting with lawmakers started off on better footing this year.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence put pubcasting funding in his first state budget in 2013, the first time an Indiana governor had done so in eight years.
With the unique opportunity presented by the auctions, proper due diligence certainly requires PTV leaders to weigh the potential one-time upside from selling.
In an exchange with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, public television’s top lobbyist sought to dial back expectations for channel-sharing pilot tests involving KLCS-TV in Los Angeles. Patrick Butler, president of the Association of Public Television Stations, responded to a blog post in which Wheeler enthusiastically described the experiment as mapping a “future” of broadcasting in which TV stations use “50 percent less bandwidth to produce a picture with increased quality of up to 300 percent.” “We appreciate Chairman Wheeler’s enthusiasm about the channel-sharing pilot in Los Angeles, and we were honored to have him visit public television station KLCS, where the pilot is being conducted,” Butler wrote in a Feb. 12 statement issued by APTS. “But we should be clear that this pilot is not intended to prove that all broadcasters can get by with half the spectrum they’re currently using.
APTS President Patrick Butler is warning public broadcasters of continued threats to their federal funding this summer as Congress takes up work on appropriations for the next federal budget. During an appearance at the Public Media Business Association conference this morning, Butler recalled a private meeting with a key House Republican from Georgia who opposes federal aid to CPB. Rep. Jack Kingston, chair of the House appropriations subcommittee with oversight over CPB, told Butler that he plans to zero-out CPB funding. “He told me point blank, in January, that he was going to do everything he could to eliminate our funding,” Butler said during a PMBA breakfast meeting at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. Public TV’s top lobbyist expects Kingston to introduce the bill in June. “I’m sure there will be a big zero in his bill for public broadcasting,” he said.
President Obama released his fiscal 2014 federal budget proposal April 10, and recommended $445 million in two-year advance funding for CPB. This is a level amount compared to previous federal funding levels for CPB.
Public television’s strongest case for preserving tax-based support for stations and CPB centers on informing political leaders about the full range of public-service work that stations deliver to local communities, particularly in the field of education, according to the field’s lead advocates in Washington, D.C.
Former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise was honored for his work supporting public media’s educational service. Wise is president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a partner in CPB’s ongoing American Graduate project to reduce the drop-out rate among high school students. He also chairs the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Gov. Wise spent 10 years in the U.S. House before serving as West Virginia’s governor from 2001 to 2005. The CPB Thought Leader Award honors U.S. leaders who help pubcasters serve the public in the areas of education, journalism and the arts.
The Association of Public Television Stations handed out Champions of Public Broadcasting awards during its Public Media Summit in Washington, D.C., Feb 24–26, recognizing Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) and Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R). APTS also gave EDGE Awards to Twin Cities Public Television and New Jersey’s NJTV and recognized individuals with Advocacy Awards. Mikulski, who replaced recently deceased Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been an ardent defender of public broadcasting in the Senate and was a vocal defender of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program before it was eliminated in 2011. As chair of the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet, Walden has helped secure federal aid for public broadcasters to help defer costs related to spectrum legislation. As he accepted his award, he told summit attendees that increased competition from cable and digital channels has made public TV less relevant to television viewers, and he suggested that public broadcasters support cuts to government-entitlement programs in order to salvage their own funding.
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.
Representatives from four sectors of the public service community made a case for more partnerships with public television during the opening session of the Association of Public Television Stations’ 2013 Public Media Summit Feb. 24 in Arlington, Va. Jane Oates, assistant secretary of employment and training administration with the U.S. Department of Labor, was the most vocal of the panel as she urged public television to collaborate more with local and state government workforce-training programs as a way of sharing key information to the nation’s legions of unemployed workers. “Think how much better we could do if you joined with us. Everybody listens to you,” Oates said, pointing to the proven workforce-training success of Vegas PBS as an example of what other stations could accomplish.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is replacing the recently deceased Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where she will command the task force of senators that determines federal spending on many endeavors including public broadcasting, Mikulski’s office announced Wednesday.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s pledge to defund PBS, which he reiterated during the Oct. 3 televised presidential debate, set off a flurry of advocacy activity by pubcasters working at both the national and local levels. PBS had already spent several months developing its ValuePBS.org site, trumpeting the importance of public TV, and sped up its launch to the day after the debate. Stations sprung into action to alert their viewers and listeners, sending waves of them to the grassroots-advocacy 170 Million Americans website — which has since garnered 50,000 new fans. “Thousands of people are coming to our aid,” particularly on Twitter and Facebook, said Pat Butler, president of the Association of Public Television Stations advocacy organization.
NPR, PBS and the Association of Public Television Stations are among broadcast organizations weighing in with the FCC on its April proposal for a change in policy to allow pubcasters to raise money for charities and other nonprofits on the air without first obtaining a waiver. All three are opposed. Other pubcasters filing comments include New England Public Radio and the University Station Alliance, which also oppose the change, and North Carolina’s UNC-TV, which “generally supports” the change. Several religious organizations, including the National Religious Broadcasters, also back the proposal. Joint comments from PBS and APTS, filed Monday (July 23), urge the FCC to limit any rule change to licensees that do not receive a CPB community service grant.
Two of pubcasting’s chief critics on Capitol Hill have revived their bids to end CPB funding. Republican lawmakers Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colo.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) circulated letters last week asking colleagues to help them “permanently defund” CPB. They are targeting the $445 million advance-funded appropriation proposed for CPB in 2015. CPB’s requested appropriation “represents no reduction from its prior year appropriation level,” the lawmakers wrote. “While so many Americans are making sacrifices around the country to make ends meet, CPB appears unwilling to do the same.” They said the country is more than $15 trillion in debt, and ending support of CPB “should be one of the easier decisions to make.”
The lawmakers point to compensation of two top pubcasting execs to bolster their political case.