Mar 30, 2010

New Jersey governor endorses spinoff of NJN

Two years ago New Jersey Network leaders couldn’t get the state to transfer operation of the network to a nonprofit, as Oregon and Hawaii have done, but last week Gov. Chris Christie (R) got behind the move, according to an NJN news release. The proposed state budget for fiscal 2011 calls for the public TV and radio networks to be moved out of the budget by Jan. 1, so it allots only $2 million — half of this year’s state appropriation. Former NJN Executive Director Elizabeth Christopherson couldn’t win the support of former Gov. Jon Corzine (D) or the legislature before she left the job (Current, May 12, 2008). Interim Executive Director Howard Blumenthal said in the release: “Our goal is to provide anytime / anywhere service, incorporating television, radio, Internet, mobile devices and live events to engage a technologically-savvy, 21st century audience." Notable: the governor's chief of staff, Richard Bagger, is a former trustee of the NJN Foundation and retired longtime NJN news anchor Kent Manahan is chair of the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority.

PubTV in New Hampshire part of state broadband request

New Hampshire Public Television is part of a $66 million broadband grant proposal, reports the New Hampshire Business Review. The request is being spearheaded by Network New Hampshire Now, a collaboration led by the University of New Hampshire and the Department of Resources and Economic Development. The proposal to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program would be to fund a "critically needed broadband expansion" in the state. Part of the plan includes construction of a middle-mile microwave network for public safety, pubTV broadcasts, and mobile broadband communications on mountaintops.

Nonprofits can't revive journalism, media analyst insists

Can nonprofit news orgs step up and rescue American journalism? CPB just announced five local journalism centers in one of many efforts nationwide. It's a grant of some $10.5 million, "with an expectation that each Center will become self-sustaining by the end of the two-year funding period," according to CPB. But at least one media analyst says, nonprofits just can't achieve what needs to be done. In fact, Alan D. Mutter, a longtime newspaper editor and adjunct faculty member of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California-Berkeley, titled his blog post today, "Non-profits can’t possibly save the news." He says he can prove it using "simple math." He's calculated that "it would take $88 billion – or nearly a third of all the $307.7 billion donated to charity in 2008 – to fund the reporting still being done at America’s seriously straitened newspapers."

Wildlife engineering challenge for Public Radio Delmarva

A family ospreys nesting on an antenna tower are disrupting broadcasts of Public Radio Delmarva, which serves the Eastern shore of Maryland. The birds, also known as sea hawks, have lived on the tower for years, but the signal disruptions have become so frequent this spring that listeners are calling the station to complain, Gerry Weston, g.m., tells the Delmarva Daily Times. Problems occur when the birds use a rod at the top of the transmitter link to teach their young to fly. With its spring pledge drive only weeks away, Public Radio Delmarva has come up with an engineering fix intended to minimize disruption to the ospreys. "We don't want to harm the birds, but we want to prevent them from perching on the rod," Weston said. "We have been concerned about what effect this will have on our listening audience."