Jan 27, 2009

Lesson from WMUB: more stations must "back away" from subsidies

Too many public radio stations rely on subsidies from government and/or their university licensees, writes pubradio marketing consultant John Sutton, offering WMUB-FM in Oxford, Ohio, as a case in point. Miami University can no longer afford to operate WMUB as an independent station and on Jan. 22 announced a pending agreement to convert the outlet into a repeater of Cincinnati Public Radio's NPR News service. "Maybe this is the future of public radio," Sutton writes on his blog. "The consolidation of costs by having fewer independent operations is an option." If localism is as important to the future of public radio as many say it is, then more stations need to "back away from the subsidy trough" and take steps toward financial "self-sufficiency," Sutton writes. He calls on CPB to help lead the way.

Top donor advises nonprofits on funding

Lorry Lokey, consistently one of America's top donors, answered questions from nonprofits in a Chronicle of Philanthropy online chat Jan. 27. Lokey, who committed $45.7 million to nonprofits in 2008 alone, answered questions such as: How can a nonprofit best prove it is most worthy of a corporate donation? And, what is the biggest mistake development officers make when first meeting a new prospect?

P.O.V. film wins award at Sundance

Natalia Almada, director of the upcoming P.O.V. film El General, won the directing award for U.S. documentary at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Her film--a co-production with Altamura Films and ITVS in association with Latino Public Broadcasting--looks at the legacy of Almada's great-grandfather, former Mexican President Plutarco Elias Calles. Almada's film El Otro Lado, about drug traffickers and musicians on the U. S./Mexico border, aired on P.O.V. in 2006.

Live again in theaters: This American Life

This American Life will again stage a national video telecast to hundreds of specially equipped theaters this spring. Tickets to the April 23 event (8 p.m. Eastern time plus a delayed feed at 8 Pacific time) were offered at a discounted price to stations, PRI announced. Tickets go on sale to the public March 6. The net said that more than 35,000 fans turned out for the show's first live-to-theaters telecast last May 1.

APTS announces president

Attorney Lawrence Sidman, a longtime telecom advocate, is the new APTS president. Sidman has been involved in the industry for decades, serving in the late 1980s as chief council of the Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee of House Commerce and Energy under longtime pubcasting advocate Edward Markey (D-Mass.). Most recently, Sidman has been chairman of the government affairs group of the law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker's DC office. In 2003 he was named one of the 10 top telecom lobbyists by Telecommunications Reports. Sidman replaces John Lawson, who departed for Ion Media Networks in March 2008. Sidman takes over Feb. 1, in time for the group's annual Capitol Hill Day, Feb. 8-11.