Mar 23, 2010

"An American Family" heads back to 1973, once again

The stars of TV's very first reality series, PBS's An American Family, are reliving their 1973 lives as consultants on Cinema Verite, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of their family's groundbreaking doc. The Hollywood Reporter says that the film, written by David Seltzer (The Omen), will be directed by Shari Springer Berman and Bob Pulcini (American Splendor). HBO updated the family's story in 1983, and in 2003 PBS aired Lance Loud!: A Death in an American Family, which focused on the family during his final months. WNET rebroadcast the 1973 doc in 1990 (Current, Nov. 5, 1990).

Move carefully on spectrum, FCC commissioner warns Congress

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps advises Congress to move carefully in reclaiming spectrum from broadcasters because of the potential harm to a diversity of voices, reports Broadcasting & Cable. His comments come in his testimony prepared for a Thursday House Energy & Commerce Committee oversight hearing on the National Broadband Plan (Current, March 22 issue). "I will be urging great caution," he tells the committee, "because of the possibly detrimental effects of reallocating spectrum from those stations currently using it to serve diverse audiences. Every local voice that disappears runs against the grain of localism, diversity and competition." The Plan recommends that Congress set up a spectrum auction to gain bandwidth for the growing number of mobile devices.

Private nonprofit corporations: Tough to define

Rick Cohen of the Nonprofit Quarterly, who blogs on the intersection of nonprofs, politics and policy, asks the question: "When is a nonprofit organization sort of like a public agency for the purpose of levels of transparency and disclosure beyond what all nonprofits (above a specific threshold annual revenue level) provide to the Internal Revenue Service in their Form 990s?" The New Hampshire State Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously that nonprofit quasi-public corporations, such as the Local Government Center in Concord (providing advocacy support for municipal governments) are subject to that state's Right to Know, or "sunshine," law, reports the Nashua Telegraph. A justice wrote that while the Center's workers aren't public employees in a strict sense, their wages are paid mainly by tax dollars and much of their work is to benefit taxpayers. But the New Hampshire House just voted down legislation would have defined nonprofits as public agencies if they generated more than $100,000 in annual revenue and received at least half their funding from the state or local government, according to the Eagle Tribune.