CPB gives $2.5 million to Firelight Media diversity initiative

Firelight Media, the documentary filmmaking nonprofit founded by Stanley Nelson, received a $2.55 million grant from CPB Aug. 20 to expand Producers’ Lab, a public television documentary mentorship project. Producers’ Lab recruits filmmakers and producers from underrepresented regions across the country to work with Nelson and Firelight Media to create documentaries that include a more diverse range of voices. The grant will allow the lab to add 30 to 40 more producers to the program over three years and expand its recruiting to all regions of the country. The program’s goal of adding more diversity to public TV’s airwaves was a main selling point for CPB, according to Joseph Tovares, senior vice president of diversity and innovation at CPB.

WKGC dropping NPR affiliation, picking up BBC, APM shows

WKGC in Panama City, Fla., will replace NPR’s newsmagazines with BBC news programs distributed by American Public Media. The station, which is also dropping its NPR membership, cited duplication of NPR programs in the market as the reason for the schedule change, which takes effect Oct. 1, reports the local News Herald. During morning and afternoon drive times, BBC World News and NewsHour will air on the WKGC instead of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. WKGC is licensed to Gulf Coast State Community College and shares its service area with WFSU in Tallahassee, operated by Florida State University.

Salt Lake City’s KCPW cites program costs, duplication in canceling NPR programs

Salt Lake City pubcaster Wasatch Public Media, licensee of KCPW-FM, will drop all NPR programs June 24, a schedule change intended to save money and differentiate its service from other pubcasters in the market. “A lot of the decision just came down to sheer economics – NPR is just getting more and more expensive,” said Wasatch C.E.O. Ed Sweeney. “And, when you already have NPR in the market with other stations, it just gets harder and harder to set yourself apart when pitching to sponsors and underwriters.” The University of Utah’s KUER-FM is KCPW’s primary competitor for NPR news listeners. “We were just looking more and more alike, and you can’t stay in business doing that,” Sweeney said.

Al Rose

Al Rose, 70

Albert E. Rose, former program director of New Jersey Network and later the program distributor who brought nightly British news programs to U.S. public TV, died of lung cancer June 16, 2010, at a hospice in Newtown, Pa.

Local talks and new national rules aim to end wasteful overlap of stations

From here on out, it will be a lot harder to volunteer a public broadcasting station into existence. For a quarter-century, you mainly needed an FCC license that nobody else had snapped up yet, plus a minimal bankroll to show you had local support, and you could lay claim on a small share of CPB’s federal appropriation. The ordeal of starting a station was itself a test of mettle, but the field had no self-imposed or government-imposed criteria to select licensees, or national plans for rational siting of stations for universal coverage of the population. It may soon have such rules. Battered by claims that they are fat and wasteful, and facing the loss of some or all of their federal aid, pubcasters are pursuing cost-saving pacts with colleagues in Louisville, Denver and elsewhere.