The mass shootings last year in Colorado, Wisconsin and Connecticut reawakened Americans to recurring tragedies of gun violence and rekindled a national debate about gun control — one that public radio and television have chronicled and analyzed through ongoing programs and the package of special broadcasts that aired on PBS last month.
The 18-year partnership that helped prove there’s an audience for collegiate women’s basketball came to an end last week when the University of Connecticut dumped the state’s public TV network for SportsNet New York, a regional cable network with vastly greater reach than Connecticut Public Television. Women’s basketball has been a ratings winner for CPTV, boosting its membership and underwriting revenues, and President Jerry Franklin moved quickly to try to stem the losses. Two days after UConn announced its new contract with SportsNet, Franklin unveiled a licensing deal with Connecticut Sun of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Broadcasts begin airing May 20 on “CPTV Sports.”
Still, Franklin anticipates repercussions from the loss of UConn women’s basketball — for both CPTV and UConn. “We have about 100,000 members — radio and television — and about one-third are members because of UConn women’s basketball,” he said.
Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network has signed an agreement with the Hartford public school system to establish at CPBN headquarters a hands-on lab where students will learn how to produce TV, radio and online media. Starting with the 2013–14 school year, 100 seniors in the Hartford Journalism & Media Academy will take all of their classes, including core subjects, in the new Learning Lab. “No other public broadcasting institution in the country is taking a third of its facility and building a school there,” said Jerry Franklin, CPBN president. The net plans to invest $3.5 million to convert 20,000 square feet of space into classrooms and production studios for the lab. CPBN has raised about $1.6 million so far from corporate donors and foundations.