WTCI plans to launch a new multicast channel of local programming with seed funding from the city of Chattanooga. The Voyager channel will carry live coverage of civic events, such as city-council meetings throughout the region and issue-focused town hall events. It will also feature a new weekly series on arts and culture. Local documentaries and WTCI’s own five weekly series would also get additional plays on the channel. Content will be accessible across multiple platforms and promoted via social media.
Bill McCarter, who headed Chicago’s WTTW for 27 years before retiring in 1998, died of complications from cancer April 21. He was 81. Newton Minow, a former FCC chair and WTTW trustee, recruited McCarter from WETA in Washington, D.C., to run WTTW in 1972. “I have a very high opinion and respect for Bill,” Minow once said. “He is everything you could want in a person, a broadcaster and leader.
San Francisco’s KQED-TV remains one of the most-watched public TV stations in the country, but, in the 1980s and ’90s it suffered under the expectations of a viewership that recalled its early years. David Stewart reminds us of KQED’s fertile ’50s and ’60s. In his history of public TV, The Vanishing Vision, James Day recalls that the first year of KQED/San Francisco, 1953, was nearly its last. Its headquarters was in the back seat of a station wagon. Day, the president, and a staff of eight had managed to keep the station on the air, but the board, alarmed by its increasing debts, had decided to call it quits.
[The Boston Consulting Group study for CPB] … gave public broadcasters an unfamiliar profit/loss sketch of their major functions. Local program production, which the report calls PTV’s largest single activity, takes 35 percent of its spending but brings in 16 percent of its revenue and accounts for 7 percent of its air time
A bold strategic study for public TV, commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, recommends that stations spend less on local program production and more on achieving high quality in national and instructional programs.If PTV fails to “invest fully in national programming,” it will see a “downward spiral” in program quality, audience and revenues, according to the report by Boston Consulting Group, a business strategy firm. The study, whose earlier drafts have been discussed for months in high-level meetings, was presented publicly for the first time at public TV’s Pacific Mountain Network and Central Educational Network annual meetings earlier this month. “Most of the managers say, ‘It’s terrible news, but I’ve known it’s there — I’ve felt it,”‘ says Joseph Zesbaugh, president of PMN, who devoted a day and a half of his annual conference to discussions related to the study. Despite the bad news, the consultants’ presentation won “far and away the highest marks” given by attendees in their evaluations of the PMN meeting, Zesbaugh said. The consultants gave public broadcasters an unfamiliar profit/loss sketch of their major functions.