PubTV multicaster V-me faulted for airing ‘ordinary commercials’

V-me, the Spanish-language multicast channel carried by 42 public TV stations, pulled underwriting spots from its schedule last month amid complaints about potential violations of FCC standards for noncommercial sponsorship. V-me Media, a for-profit venture in which New York’s WNET has a minority ownership stake, is in the process of reviewing all sponsorship spots under tightened underwriting guidelines. RoseLynn Marra, director of station relations for V-me Media in New York, told Current that V-me has heard from “three to five” stations about its underwriting credits since January, and is working to address their concerns. She declined to identify the stations or the specific problems they raised. But V-me’s leadership moved abruptly last month to ensure the channel was in compliance with FCC underwriting rules.

New channel in Pittsburgh: All-pledge, all the time

WQED has come up with an idea that initially might make some public broadcasters cringe: an entire multichannel fully devoted to fundraising. Yes, all pledge shows, running 24/7. That’s exactly what WQED Showcase will be. The Pittsburgh station will debut its fourth channel possibly as soon as November. Station President Deborah Acklin came up with the concept for the potential revenue stream, which appears to be a pubcasting first.

Many stations packaging their own kids’ channels

With the all-digital future arriving, if haltingly, and a bigger share of viewers likely to come through DTV multicast channels, public TV stations are reconsidering how to use their bitstream, making over their channels, and in some cases adding new services to woo audiences. The wee audience, for one. Little kids and their parents are a vital audience and constituency for public TV, and mockups of the stations’ future DTV menu often featured a dedicated channel for them. To supply it, stations had access to a 24-hour PBS Kids feed, packaged by PBS. That changed in 2005 when the network acceded to the desires of its two biggest producers for children and joined a partnership to package Sprout, a cable channel for preschoolers.