Where the Crossroads films and funding went

CPB’s big America at a Crossroads initiative 20 independently produced documentaries on aspects of the post-9/11 world, at a cost not wildly above the predicted $20 million. [This list tracks the 21 grants to producers and the resulting 20 broadcasts. See also <em>Current</em>’s related 2009 article and timeline.]
The funding
Costs of the project’s major phases:
$2,520,724 — for R&D on proposals from 36 producing teams, the first cut in the grantmaking process,
+ 12, 629,507.— for production of the final 20 selected projects, and
+ 5,644,158 — for WETA’s work as “Crossroads entry station” including packaging and promotion of the series and outreach efforts. = $20,794,389 — total cost
Here’s a boxscore counting the productions. Links go to pages about the programs on PBS.org.

‘Public trust is the rating that matters most to PBS’

Pat Mitchell, then president of PBS, delivered this talk May 24, 2005, at the National Press Club, in the midst of escalating news coverage of the conflict between public TV and Kenneth Tomlinson, then chair of CPB. Mitchell was preparing to announce recommendations for public TV’s future, but the Digital Futures Initiative report was delayed until December 2005, after Tomlinson had quit CPB and the dust was clearing. Since becoming president of PBS, I’ve often been at podiums like this one, with audiences like this one, although perhaps not as well informed or well prepared as a National Press Club gathering or one with so many familiar faces, those of friends and colleagues in public broadcasting. I appreciate the presence of national and local leaders of this great institution of which we are the current caretakers, and along with them, I am grateful to have this opportunity to make the case for the value and relevancy, and in fact, essential need for a vital and viable public broadcasting service in a democracy. Leading PBS at any time comes with bragging rights to be sure.

Congress reacts hotly to station donor-list swaps with Democrats

Suddenly, pubcasting is in for a severe talking-to, if not a whupping. The House subcommittee that held such a congenial hearing on CPB’s long-overdue reauthorization a fortnight earlier is now preparing a second hearing July 20 to take pubcasters to task for swapping donor mailing lists with the Democratic Party. House Republicans were angry last week when they learned that Boston’s WGBH did it this spring, and angrier when they heard there were other times. And tempers will rise as similar reports come in from other stations. WNET in New York and WETA in Washington told reporters late last week that they’ve traded lists with both Democratic and Republican groups.

The emperor’s old clothes:
it’s time to retailor CPB

Nearly three decades of observing CPB close-up have convinced me that only an essential change in the way CPB Board members are selected offers some prospect of achieving the bright future projected for the organization by the first Carnegie Commission and the Congress in 1967.