Mar 13, 2012

Attention RSSers: Exclusive to Current, commentary from outgoing APM exec Joaquin Alvarado

Public media's officially designated ambassador from (to?) the future was laid off this month amid American Public Media budget cuts. In a parting Current commentary he reflects warmly about rank-and-file station staffers but finds the decision-makers too risk-averse and homogeneous to prevent the system from being eclipsed. "The ratio of risk-takers among the stakeholders is not high enough in public broadcasting to motivate significant change," he writes.


  • "People tend to take risks when we have to. . . . But so far public broadcasting has not run out of options."
  • "The lack of diversity in public broadcasting should be someone’s responsibility. Whose is it? Who gets fired when we fail on our public commitments to diversity?"
  • "The architecture of public media has to be reimagined immediately or the millennials will build their own parallel universe separate from the public broadcasting universe their Boomer grandparents live in."

Attention RSSers: ITVS, PBS meeting over Independent Lens ratings drop

A 42 percent drop in ratings this season over last has prompted ongoing high-level negotiations between the Independent Television Service (ITVS), which strives to bring diverse voices into the schedule via Independent Lens and other shows, and PBS, which is reworking its primetime lineup to retain audience from one show to the next. See Current's story, now online.

Development pro Becky Chinn joining Lewis Kennedy Associates as a partner

Becky Chinn, senior director of membership and marketing at Oregon Public Broadcasting, is leaving the station to become a partner with Portland-based Lewis Kennedy Associates, effective May 1. Chinn has worked in fundraising, marketing and communications for more than 20 years, 17 of those at OPB.

At LKA, "she will focus her energies on helping clients remain at the leading edge of fundraising and communications while effectively maximizing results," the firm said in a press release. She joins partner Nova Hamar, and founding partners Helen Kennedy and Jim Lewis at the company, which provides fundraising and direct marketing services to organizations in public broadcasting, healthcare, arts and culture, education, social services and conservation.

In her years in the pubcasting system, Chinn served on the PBS Development Advisory Committee, the PBS Funding the Vision Station Advisory Council and the Contributor Development Partnership Advisory Council. Chinn was an original member of the PBS Leadership Development Program, a master teacher for PBS Membership and Pledge Academies, and has presented numerous sessions at national conferences.

UPDATE: In a memo to OPB staff, Dan Metziga, s.v.p., development and marketing, named Paul Loofburrow, marketing manager, as the new director of marketing. Metziga announced Chinn's departure "with great sadness," and added that Chinn "excelled" in her various positions at the station. As marketing director, "she has recruited a number of new members for the marketing team, and she has always exceeded her fundraising goals," Metziga said.

Romney won't be at OPB debate, his campaign confirms

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has pulled out of the debate this coming Monday (March 19) at Oregon Public Broadcasting, the network has announced. The debate sponsors — OPB, the Oregon Republican Party and the Washington Times — said that a Romney campaign aide confirmed the candidate will be in Illinois on March 19, the eve of that state’s primary. Organizers are still talking with the other candidates. The only confirmed debate participant so far is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The debate, which would be the first produced at a public broadcasting station, was sanctioned by the Republican National Committee in October 2011.