Jun 10, 2011

Board readies sale of KCSM-TV in San Mateo, Calif.

The licensee for KCSM-TV is preparing to sell the California public broadcasting station. The board of the San Mateo County Community College District on Wednesday (June 8) "directed staff to prepare putting KCSM on the market," according to the San Jose Mercury News. The board cited the station's projected $800,000 structural deficit. "I'm disappointed," KCSM General Manager Marilyn Lawrence said. "The station has been a legacy to the college. It'll be a great loss to the community." The television station already has drawn interest from four possible buyers and could sell for around $5 million, Lawrence said. 

Ahoy, Capt. Clack!

Tom and Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk got out of the garage and headed for the Charles River for WBUR's annual Spring Festival at the Community Rowing Inc. boathouse in Boston on June 5. The two, known on the air as Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, turned up as boat captains; above, Capt. (Ray) Clack signs autographs. Some 1,000 fans turned out to meet the Car Talk guys and other WBUR celebs such as On Point's Tom Ashbrook. The boathouse set a record for the day, teaching more than 500 persons how to row. (Image: WBUR)

WMFE-TV says its "cash reserves are limited" and delay in sale "would be devastating"

Orlando's WMFE-TV this week said in comments to the Federal Communications Commission that a delay in its sale to religious broadcaster Daystar "would be devastating," and that its “cash reserves are limited and most have already been consumed" to keep the pubTV station running over the past few months, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The FCC has received 525 objections to the impending sale. Read WMFE-TV's "Opposition to Informal Objections" here (PDF).

Looks like Maine pubcasters won't be zeroed out of state budget after all

Maine Public Broadcasting Network got very good news late Thursday (June 9) when the state legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted unanimously to provide the pubcasters with $1.95 million for fiscal 2012, which Gov. Paul LePage (R) proposed eliminating. The committee also recommended a slightly reduced total, $1.75 million, for FY13. "It has been truly gratifying to see the support from so many of you who believe in MPBN's contribution to the very fabric of all of Maine," said Jim Dowe, network president, in a letter to supporters on MPBN's website. "Your many and diverse voices were heard loud and clear in Augusta! Thank you!" The biennial budget goes on to the full legislature and governor for final approval.

Nashville Public Radio adds second channel; Vanderbilt dumps radio

As in Houston, a student station in Nashville will move from broadcast to the Web, and the local pubradio station has doubled its over-the-air capacity, moving to separate news and classical channels. Vanderbilt University’s campus media group, majority-controlled by students, opted to receive $3.35 million, selling its 91.1 MHz channel to Nashville Public Radio, the Tennessean reported. The buyer will be able to go all-news with WPLN and play music on the acquired frequency, resolving a conflict that has pained the mixed-format station, General Manager Rob Gordon told the Tennesseean: “We’d have people call in and say, ‘It’s Saturday afternoon, I was wondering if Mubarak had resigned, and I turn on WPLN and you’re playing opera.’” The student station, WRVU, will be heard online. At Vanderbilt, as elsewhere, some decision-makers assume that young people wanting music will go to the Internet, not to radio. The sale of WRVU, expected by observers, is part of a gradual sell-off of stations long operated by universities.

Heads up, producers: Your annual Academy approaches

Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 Producers Workshop at WGBH, part of the CPB/PBS Producers Academy. It's open to producers who want to create content for pubcasting, either through a  station or independently. Application deadline is July 8 for the October workshop in Boston. Want to know more? Check out what alums are doing on the Producers Workshop Online.

WHYY pulls out of the red into the black

WHYY overcame a deficit of $3.9 million to end the last fiscal year with a $1.7 million surplus, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. WHYY's new audited financial statement shows that the station received $8.9 million in program contracts and other project revenue in fiscal year 2010, $4.9 million more than the previous year. Meanwhile, personnel and fund-raising costs dropped — including station President William Marrazzo's base compensation, which fell from $506,157 in FY09 to $448,161 in FY10.

"We must defend" public broadcasting, Moyers says

In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, longtime PBS newsman Bill Moyers sounds a warning. "Public broadcasting, which remains a place that treats you as a citizen and not a consumer, is ... threatened," he said. "We must defend it. We must call it back to its heights. We must continue to support it, because without it, we’re at the mercy, totally, of corporate power."