Jane Krutz, an enthusiastic advocate for the Arkansas Educational Television Network for more than 47 years, died March 25 in Little Rock. She was 86. “It is literally true that there might not have been an AETN without her,” said Allen Weatherly, executive director of AETN, in a tribute to Krutz on the network’s website. “In fact, she was advocating for a public television station for Arkansas years before we finally made it to the air in the mid-1960s.”
Krutz frequently appeared during membership drives, testified before Congress for public broadcasting in 1995, served since 1996 on the AETN Commission, and received the PBS National Volunteer of the Year award. The state network’s original studio, still in service, is named for her.
Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating an April 2 transmitter fire at KUAR in Little Rock, Ark., as possible arson. [Two weeks later, the station said it was still operating at 75 percent of its usual power.]
The fire, which crippled the station’s signal right before its spring pledge drive, was started by an intruder who stripped copper wiring at the transmitter site, used accelerant to start a blaze, and then put a new padlock on the building to prohibit anyone from entering. Copper wire theft is “a huge problem for radio stations,” according to Ben Fry, g.m.
Fry said he finds it hard to believe that the perpetrator specifically targeted KUAR. The station has not received any threatening voicemails or emails, Fry said. The transmitter and its tower are part of the Shinall Mountain tower farm along with facilities of Little Rock’s major broadcasters, he said.
Nebraska ETV canceled a senatorial debate broadcast in August , and Iowa PTV was taken to court last month as the ripple effects of a federal circuit court decision involving Arkansas ETV spread throughout the Midwest’s Eighth Circuit. As it did in 1994, the circuit court had ruled on Aug. 21,  that the Arkansas network had no right to exclude independent congressional candidate Ralph P. Forbes from a Republican-Democrat debate that it was sponsoring and broadcasting in 1992. Richard D. Marks, attorney for the Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska networks, called the decision “a grave threat to public broadcasting.” In the parallel case in Iowa, pubcasters were elated with two rulings last week: first, a U.S. District Court said Oct.