“Inspire Nebraska” capital campaign raises $25 million

The NET Foundations for Television and Radio have exceeded a five-year, $25 million capital goal for their “Inspire Nebraska” campaign. “It was a major-giving campaign, but members grew tremendously,” said foundations Executive Director Jeff Beckman. “And, even more important, we are now positioned to raise more major and planned gifts in the future.”

Since the push began in 2007, NET membership revenue has grown by 50 percent, the number of members has increased 35 percent to nearly 25,000, and assets of the endowment have topped $10 million, Beckman said. The campaign concluded June 30. The campaign will fund both television and radio programs, including NET News and NET Sports productions, which cover more than 200 hours of local high-school and collegiate sports annually.

NET’s Bates to retire, NPR’s Seabrook departs, Bodarky elected PRNDI prez, and more…

Bates, a producer/director who rose through the ranks to become network chief in 1996, announced his retirement plans June 22, initiating the second leadership transition for the state network’s top job since its founding 58 years ago. Bates arrived at NET in 1975 as a producer/director working on a one-year assignment. He ended up devoting his career to NET, earning a promotion to senior producer and eventually moving into fundraising. He became director of development for Nebraskans for Public Television Inc. in 1985 before being appointed to succeed Jack McBride, NET’s founding general manager, in the mid-1990s. “Rod Bates’ leadership has brought NET to the highest level of service in our history,” said Ron Hull, a semi-retired NET veteran who hired Bates as a TV producer more than three decades ago.

James Day, 89

He put San Francisco’s KQED on the air in 1954 — with Jon Rice, the station’s legendary first program director — and in 16 years demonstrated much of what “public television” could become, years before the Carnegie Commission put forth the new name for educational TV.

An Age of Kings: an import becomes public TV’s first hit

It was public TV’s first unqualified national success, a smash hit. Before Masterpiece Theatre, American Playhouse or Hollywood Television Theatre, there was An Age of Kings, Shakespeare’s history plays in 15 parts, a chronicle of Britain’s monarchs from Richard II (1399) to Richard III (1484).