NEW ORLEANS — CPB is considering a proposal to allocate $3 million annually over six years to support collaboration among public radio stations, with the amount to be drawn from Community Service Grant incentive funds. The money would support upwards of 20 collaborations among 80 or so stations, each of which would receive an additional $70,000 to $90,000 annually. That financial boost would help stations develop content, streamline operations, plan technology and infrastructure, and undertake other collaborative activities. The program would start in fiscal year 2015 at the earliest. By encouraging collaboration, CPB hopes to “unleash the potential of the network effect,” said Bruce Theriault, senior v.p. of radio, at the Public Radio Regional Organizations Super-Regional Meeting in New Orleans Nov.
As Congress threatened to convene a hearing on how CPB distributes its money, a public TV review panel released a proposal last month to change the formula that allocates grants to stations. The fixes ought to please North Carolina’s UNC-TV, which had complained to hometown members of Congress — who pressed for the hearing — that several state networks like itself pay more in PBS dues than they receive in Community Service Grants (CSGs). The proposal would aid state nets by establishing a credit for licensees that operate three or more transmitters. If the recommendation is adopted by the CPB Board, UNC-TV would see an 80 percent increase — about $320,000 — in its base grant in fiscal year 2003, according to CPB. The changes would also reduce the gap between the dues that UNC-TV pays to PBS and the grants it gets from CPB.