Jun 10, 2009

CapHill reality show fizzles

Looks like a possible PBS reality show, Agents of Change, probably won't happen, according to D.C.'s The Hill newspaper. Producer Gabe Gentry had contacted at least two U.S. Reps about participating. The program would follow teams of young supporters conducting nationwide town halls to determine issues of concern. The teams would help draft legislation, the public would vote on what bill they most wanted, and lawmakers would take it from there. But one government watchdog found the idea "wholly inappropriate" and said it would “would undermine the credibility of the institution.” At least two legislators expressed interest to Gentry awhile back, but he's finding no support now. PBS told the paper it hadn't yet funded the show -- so it does indeed look like it's probably dead.

WDUQ campaign includes appeals for NPR

WDUQ in Pittsburgh launched its year-end fundraiser last week with a special appeal to its listeners: forgo thank-you gifts for your contribution and the NPR News and jazz station will send 10 percent of the pledge to NPR. General Manager Scott Hanley, who announced the special fundraising appeal during the NPR Board meeting last month, said he has a “six-figure problem to resolve” in closing the station’s year-end budget gap, but folks at WDUQ are “very concerned about what is happening at NPR.” As much as the station’s supporters “love coffee mugs and tote bags, they love NPR more.” Prior to the campaign’s launch on June 4, Hanley blogged about the cutbacks undertaken at NPR this year, adding: “The most stable source of income for NPR is fees for programs from stations like WDUQ. But, in times like these, it isn't enough.” Contributions from WDUQ’s campaign will “be on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in programming fees that DUQ has already committed to pay to NPR," Hanley wrote. It's not huge, but it's a start.”

Another cash infusion for, the social network in which American Public Media holds a controlling interest, announced yesterday that it has secured $5.3 million in equity financing. Investors include Allen & Company, American Public Media, former chief executive officer of Lotus Development Corporation Jim Manzi, former Hill Holiday chief executive officer Jack Connors, Kevin McClatchy, Andrew Tobias and the Gerace family. The Boston-based company benefited from a big surge in "engagement marketing" bookings, according to this news release. The investors' cash will "fund operations at its current run rate through to profitability expected in early 2010." Paidcontent reports that Gather has raised "at least $25 million over the years since being founded in 2004."