Feb 14, 2007

Chester seeks recommitment to noncommercialism

While urges its troops to back "permanent funding and independence from partisan meddling" for pubcasting, media reform activist Jeff Chester wants to see a trust fund only if it supports a "truly noncommercial" system. Such a system would reserve 30 percent of its funds for news and public affairs, air kidvid without commercial underwriting and bring in half of its programs from independent producers. He advises: "We shouldn't help save 'Big Bird,' if all the public is going to get is more of the same of what we have today." Chester discusses his recommendations in Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy, just published by the New Press.

Johanson gets her direction

Former PBS interactive chief Cindy Johanson will join the George Lucas Educational Foundation next week as chief operating officer. The new position reports to Milton Chen, executive director and former education topper at San Francisco's KQED. Lucas, the director of Star Wars, said he wants Johanson's help in making the foundation's website "the best archive of films, articles and tools for creating successful schools."

APTS seeks DTV channel carriage by satcasters

House Telecom Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told pubTV managers yesterday that he'll support their call for satellite TV operators to carry the digital TV signals of local pubTV stations. APTS wants DirecTV and EchoStar to carry their local signals if it carries those of any stations. APTS achieved a digital carriage agreement with large cable operators in 2005 after seeking federal action. A deal with smaller operators is expected soon, APTS said.

NAB urges satcasters to stop using FM modulators

National Association of Broadcasters has asked the XM and Sirius satellite radio companies to stop using tiny FM transmitters to connect their satellite receivers with the audio systems in subscribers' cars. NPR also has objected to the gizmos.

Eye to eye, wing to wing

In March many public TV stations will air Winged Migration, the hit 2003 theatrical release that put the viewer in the sky, flying alongside geese and other twice-yearly migrants. The distributor, American Public Television, is recommending (PDF, page 3) Jacques Perrin's doc for broadcast on Earth Day, April 22.