Feb 1, 2010

Obama proposes $460 million for CPB in FY13, up $15 million over FY12, but no funding for PTFP

President Barack Obama's budget for next year recommends $496 million for CPB, including a $460 million two-year advance appropriation for FY13, according to APTS. That's an increase of $40 million from this year and $15 million from FY12. Also included is $36 million for pubTV and radio digital conversion, content and services. "The proposed increase in the advance appropriation reflects a recognition of the enormous return on investment public broadcasting generates regarding education, job training and disease prevention," said APTS President Larry Sidman. But persuasive work remains, Sidman noted: The budget omits funding for the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which helps pay for public stations' equipment upgrades, and the Agriculture Department's Rural Utility Service Digital Transition Grant Program. Also, the Obama budget proposes to consolidate Ready to Learn (Current, June 23, 2008) and Ready to Teach into larger education programs, without specific funding for either. Station reps will hear all about this and more as they swarm on Capitol Hill during APTS' annual Capitol Hill Day lobbyfest Feb. 7-9.

Prairie Home Companion goes live in 500 theaters on Thursday

This week, a special Thursday edition of A Prairie Home Companion will be "cinecast" live in HD to some 500 theaters across North America. The two-hour show starts at 8 p.m., with an encore Feb. 9. It's the first time the eclectic program has tried this.

Former reporter appearing on NewsHour now editor of Washington Times

A former Time correspondent whose reports ran on the PBS NewsHour is the new editor of the Washington Times, the paper announced today. The show carried Sam Dealey's segments from Africa. The paper's top management staff was recently terminated from the Times, which is owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.

PETA files FCC complaint over Sesame link to American Egg Board

In a story headlined, "PETA Smacks Big Bird in D.C.," Broadcasting & Cable writes that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a complaint with the FCC against pubTV stations that air Sesame Street. Two problems, PETA says: The show is presenting a spot showing a sanitary poultry processing plant with children eating eggs and talking about their nutritive value. PETA has long contended that chickens raised for slaughter or egg production live in filthy, inhumane conditions. Also, PETA says the American Egg Board's work is embedded in Sesame Street segments; the board is the industry promotional group created by Congress for egg producers. PETA wants fines and/or sanctions for stations carrying the show. According to the Sesame Workshop's website, the show's "Good Egg Project," sponsored by the American Egg Board, "aims to educate families about how eggs get from the farm to their breakfast tables, along with the many health benefits of eating eggs." PETA is also undertaking an email campaign targeted at the Workshop's Gary Knell, president, and Patti Miller, veep of public policy. In a copy of the complaint provided to Current by PETA, its litigation counsel, Martina Bernstein, wrote that stations "breached their obligation to protect children from excessive and inappropriate commercial messages, in violation of the limits of the amount of commercial matter in children's programming as well as the commission's policy against host-selling." PETA wants "a forfeiture penalty or other sanctions" against the stations. A spokesperson for the Workshop told Current its only statement is at the end of the Broadcasting & Cable article: “Sesame Workshop as a practice does not comment on pending legal matters.”

KAET moves to new digital media center at Arizona State

PBS President Paula Kerger was on hand Saturday for the grand opening of KAET/Channel 8's new digital media center at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, reports the State Press student paper. Arizona PBS General Manager Kelly McCullough said the move has been planned for two years. Under three hours after staffers signed off at the former station, they were on the air from the new facility. “The transition was surprisingly smooth,” McCullough said. “There was so much that really could have gone wrong. We have had some glitches and I’m sure we’ll have a few more but the important fact is, we’re on the air on three channels in high quality in nearly all of Arizona.” The station and university have been affiliated for 49 years.