Pisaneschi moves up to lead Idaho Public Television in August

The next general manager of Idaho Public Television is Ron Pisaneschi, now its director of content. Pisaneschi takes over Aug. 5 from Peter Morrill, who announced his retirement in March. The State Board of Education announced Pisaneschi’s appointment today. “Idaho PTV is fortunate to have someone with Ron’s passion for public television and expertise in programming and operations ready to step up and lead the organization,” said Don Soltman, board president.

USDA grants back equipment upgrades at 10 rural pubTV stations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $3.2 million in grants to 10 pubTV operators serving rural areas, assisting with equipment upgrades that will replace aging equipment, strengthen broadcast signals, or build capacity for digital production. The USDA grants are earmarked for digital conversion and were awarded as part of a larger package of federal aid to 24  projects improving broadband access, telecommunications infrastructure and public TV’s digital broadcasts. Each of the pubTV operators have already converted their primary transmitters to digital. In some cases, the grants will help pay for upgrades of older, analog equipment, enhance  their master control operations or strengthen their digital  signals. Since the elimination of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which backed technical upgrades of both public TV and radio stations until Congress zeroed it out in 2011, the USDA funds have become increasingly important for rural pubTV stations.

Public TV privatization drive falters in Idaho

The campaign to throw Idaho Public Television out of the state budget seems to have run out of oomph. On Feb. 20 [2001], the legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee okayed IPTV’s funding requests almost without change — without raising the privatization issue. And five days earlier, the state Board of Education, licensee of the state network, voted 5-2 to advise the legislature against privatization. “I am fairly certain the issue is dead for this year,” says Jennifer Gallagher Oxley, who reported on the struggle for Boise’s Idaho Statesman.

Idaho bans public TV programs that ‘support’ law-breaking

Idaho’s state legislature has imposed extraordinary restrictions on the state public TV network, in delayed reaction to its broadcast last September of the gay-friendly documentary “It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School.” The state House of Representatives passed the restrictions March 27 [2000] by a vote of 50-16, as part of an appropriations bill that gives $2 million for DTV instead of the $3.9 million requested by the network. And the same legislation passed the state Senate April 4. It will order the State Board of Education, licensee of the network, to monitor “programs expected to be of a controversial nature,” and to reject any program that “promotes, supports or encourages the violation of Idaho criminal statutes.” In a state where sodomy is illegal, the bill could be interpreted as forbidding Idaho Public TV to rebroadcast “It’s Elementary,” a program about classroom treatment of the subject of homosexuality.