Third Draft Recommendations of Core Working Group, October 1997
In the process of founding the Forum, this was the Core Working Group’s final draft, released Oct. 14, 1997, before the Convention of Stations, Nov. 5, where the Forum was voted into existence. Our Goal
Our goal is to change the way station CEOs communicate, think and interact with one another on issues and opportunities that affect all licensees. Thus, our intent is to create a framework and process that enables public television senior executives to discuss and address critical opportunities and issues — and make collective decisions when necessary.
Second Draft Recommendations of Core Working Group, September 1997
In the process of creating the Forum, public TV’s Core Working Group circulated this draft to its Circle of Advisors on Sept. 5, 1997. After revisions, the group circulated a third draft, Oct. 13. To the Circle of Advisors:
We thank you for your thoughtful and timely feedback to our August 4th draft proposal and survey.
Phase II: The Search for Paradigms
Five months before public TV stations voted the Forum into being, this paper was prepared by their facilitators, the consulting firm BMR Associates. Released June 17, 1997. I. Introduction
During Phase II of Countdown ’97, BMR Associates studied approximately 20 different organizations. The goal of the research was to discover whether other organizations — similar in structure to public television — had established frameworks and processes that enabled them to make decisions and work together in a coordinated manner. In identifying organizations to explore, BMR focused on organizations that met the following criteria:
The organization consisted of autonomous units, locally owned and operated.
Dozens included the Core Working Group, the Circle of Advisors and consultants from BMR Associates. Countdown ’97 Core Working Group (CWG)
The Core Working Group, consisting of 13 public television station chief executives, developed plans for the ongoing CEO Forum created in 1997. For background on how the Core Working Group was selected, the goal of the project and other details see Questions and Answers about Countdown ’97. Carole Cartwright, WYCC, Chicago, IL
Bryce Combs, WMVS/WMVT, Milwaukee, WI
Trina Cutter, WNIT, Elkart, IN
Mark Erstling, WPSX, University Park, PA
Ginni Fox, Kentucky Educational Television, Lexington, KY
Dennis Haarsager, KWSU, Pullman, WA
Mike Hardgrove, KETC, St. Louis, MO
Al Jerome, KCET, Los Angeles, CA
Bill McCarter, WTTW, Chicago, IL
George Miles, Jr., WQED, Pittsburgh, PA
Jim Pagliarini, KNPB, Reno, NV
Al Pizzato, WSRE, Pensacola, FL
Mel Rogers, KOCE, Huntington Beach, CA
Circle of Advisors
The Circle of Advisors was a group of 38 individuals including 33 public TV licensee chief executives and five other public broadcasters who participated in discussion groups and reviewed document drafts.
This charter, which created the ongoing CEO Forum, was adopted in public TV’s Convention of Stations, Nov. 5, 1997. I. The Vision
Technology is bringing a sea change to the broadcasting industry, but nowhere more profoundly than in public television. Stations will be free to specialize where they now dabble; to excel where they now experiment. In the one-channel analog world, stations of necessity can excel mainly in one mission.
This concise document, making the case for the Forum, was prepared by public TV’s Core Working Group and released in this revised form in September 1997, two months before the Forum was established. See also other Forum documents. 1. The community of PTV stations needs a new process and a framework to address key business opportunities and issues. a. We are faced today with the need to address important issues brought about by advancing technology and increased competition.
This is the record of recorded votes taken during the Convention of Stations, Nov. 5, 1997, in Austin, which established the Forum, amending and adopting its original charter. Voters “present” include chief executives voting by proxy. Vote on the Forum charter
113 votes were cast, including 7 not present
On a one licensee/one vote basis:
90 voted yes, representing 85 percent of those present,
16 voted no, representing 15 percent of those present,
7 not present for the vote, representing 4 percent of those present at the convention. On a system-wide purchasing power basis:
576 purchasing power units voted yes, representing 86 percent of the units present,
68 purchasing power units voted no, representing 10 percent of the units present,
26 purchasing power units were not present for the vote, representing 4 percent of the units present
Vote to join the Forum
117 votes were cast, including 11 not present and 26 abstains
On a one licensee/one vote basis:
73 voted yes, representing 62.5 percent of those present
7 voted no, representing 6 percent of those present
26 abstained or were not present, representing 22 percent of those present
11 were not present for the vote, representing 9.5 percent of those present at the convention
On a system-wide purchasing power basis:
465 purchasing power units voted yes, representing 65 percent of the units present,
24 purchasing power units voted no, representing 3.5 percent of those present,
183 purchasing power units abstained, representing 25 percent of those present,
46 purchasing power units were not present for the vote, representing 6.5 percent of those present at the convention.
As public TV’s Core Working Group worked to build consensus around creation of the Forum in 1997, it published this Q&A, both on paper and on its web site. “Countdown ’97” was the group’s name for its consensus-building process. Questions and Answers about Countdown ’97
Here are questions typical of those we’ve heard general managers and others in the public television community ask about Countdown ’97, along with answers from John Hershberger, Senior Associate with BMR Associates, the San Francisco consulting firm guiding the Countdown ’97 process. Countdown ’97 will conclude with a Convention of Stations in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 5.
Five years after setting it up as a way of helping public TV make decisions with new decisiveness and agility, members voted decisively and nearly unanimously this month to shut it down. The National Forum for Public Television Executives, which never had a full-time staff and is folding with 87 public TV licensees — about half of the total number — as members, had held useful discussions but never proved itself indispensable, leaders said. Fifty of the 55 member stations voting in a recent ballot favored closing the forum, said Chairman Gary Ferrell last week. The forum’s governing council decided to call for the vote in June. They modeled the vote after a “sunset” vote required by the forum’s charter after its first year.
Austin, Tex. — The Convention of Stations on Nov. 5  created a Forum for public TV’s national decision-making, opening the way for new cooperation in the fragmented field as well as new varieties of bickering. The new Forum may find itself locking horns with PBS’s board, for instance. Several backers spoke of the Forum as a means of giving guidance to PBS and reallocating functions in the field.