When Duquesne University declined to accept bids for WDUQ-FM by its staff and supporters, an alliance of Pittsburgh foundations stepped in to put the sale on hold May 4. Adding an unusual time-out to the high-stakes playbook of colleges divesting broadcast properties, the foundations acquired a 60-day option to develop plans recasting the station with a stronger focus on news and information. “The foundations’ goal is to give the community time to put forward the best possible bid” and not to purchase the station, said Grant Oliphant, president of the Pittsburgh Foundation. Local foundation leaders want to explore possibilities for a “much more aggressive news and information focus” for WDUQ, he said. “We are trying to gather intelligence on where public media seems to be going and how Pittsburgh could become an example of the very best of the breed.”
The foundations hired Charlie Humphrey, executive director of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, to plan a news-focused service and lay the groundwork for a new bid.
Too many couples were splitting up before the offspring came along. Or they lived together grumpily, keenly aware they shouldn’t have had that second date. Ellen Schneider and her crew saw it was time for an intervention. Schneider’s San Francisco company, Active Voice, has published a 25-page booklet to turn things around: “The Prenups: What Filmmakers and Funders Should Talk About Before Tying the Knot.”
Woodward A. (Woody) Wickham, 66, a strong supporter of independent documentary films and public media producers, died of cancer Jan. 18  at his home in Chicago. In more than a dozen years at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 1990 to 2003, Wickham helped support such projects as Kartemquin Films’ documentary Hoop Dreams, the Creative Commons alternative to copyrights, and Dave Isay’s StoryCorps, for which Wickham was the founding board chair. With MacArthur’s money, Wickham was a consistent supporter of P.O.V. and Frontline, local media arts centers and Kartemquin, says Alyce Myatt, who worked with him at the foundation. Wickham also supported the foundation’s work in human rights, aiding the International Criminal Court, and media reform groups such as the Media Access Project.
KCET in Los Angeles unveiled a multimillion-dollar initiative to help prepare kids for kindergarten by training the adults who care for them. Two new daytime talk series — one produced in English and the other in Spanish — are centerpieces of the project. Through daily broadcasts of A Place of Our Own and Los Ninos in Su Casa, KCET aims to provide skills, information and inspiration to unlicensed caregivers and enlist them in the important work of nurturing early learning skills. These friends, neighbors and relatives of parents often work in isolation and have little access to training. Shaped by input from leading educators and formative research on its target audiences, the station’s education initiative has raised $20 million so far, including the largest grant in KCET’s history—$10 million from the energy company BP.
A 15-member commission created in 1965 by a major foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, released its report, Public Television: A Program for Action, on Jan. 26, 1967, popularizing the phrase “public television” and assisting the legislative campaign for federal aid to the field. (Public radio was added later by Congress.) See also Summary of the report’s recommendations. The commission chair, James R. Killian Jr. (1904-88) had already played a prominent public role as the first White House science advisor, 1955-57, advocating emphasis on science education, the creation of NASA and greater funding for the National Science Foundation as the Eisenhower administration responded to Washington’s post-Sputnik panic. At MIT, Killian was a former Technology Review editor and wartime R&D leader who became the school’s president, 1948-59, and chair, 1959-71.