Jan 2, 2009

Cooney No. 2 of 2008's top donors

Pubcasting pioneer Joan Ganz Cooney and her husband are the second largest donors of 2008 on The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list. Cooney and her financier husband pledged $1 billion to his Peter G. Peterson Foundation in New York, which focuses on issues including budget deficits, national and personal savings and the national debt.

Quirky KZMU a true volunteer station

Radio Moab, a Utah pubradio station powered by solar panels, boasts a somewhat rare title: A station run by volunteers. KZMU operates on about $100,000 annually with a few part-timers, none of which receive benefits. The s.m. once arrived at the station in a bath towel to cope with glitches in its 500-watt signal; the p.d. calls herself a "communitarian"; the music director is barefoot year-round and boasts several toe rings. A story in The Salt Lake Tribune captures the station's distinctive charms.

Center for Social Media eyes pubmedia agenda

The Center for Social Media has made suggestions to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team for advancing the "public media 2.0" agenda. In addition to working to increase broadband capacity, the center, part of American University's School of Communication, advises that CPB be awarded stimulus funds "for digitally-savvy staffers to build social networks at local pubcasting stations." Actions should be taken immediately, the center adds.

Coalition protesting DTV patent license fees

CUTFATT, the Coalition United to Terminate Financial Abuses of the Television Transition, is petitioning the FCC to change rules on digital TV patent licenses. The consumer advocacy group contends that manufacturers are overcharged for the technology, which raises the price on digital sets. CUTFATT wants the FCC to use a "patent-pool" system in which TV manufacturers would pay a flat rate of about $1 per set for the rights to all the necessary patents. Manufacturers in Europe and Asia are charged that fee. In the United States, the group says, manufacturers are charged $20 to $30 for the rights.

CPB partnering in Patchwork Nation

Support from new partner CPB is enabling the Patchwork Nation project to continue in 2009, past its original focus of the election year. The project examines the issues of concern and politics in 11 types of communities across the nation: Monied ’Burbs, Minority Central, Evangelical Epicenters, Tractor Country, Campus and Careers, Immigration Nation, Industrial Metropolis, Boom Towns, Service Worker Centers, Emptying Nests, and Military Bastions. The project's other partners are the Knight Foundation and The Christian Science Monitor.