Jan 28, 2009

Stimulus bill, with broadband funds, passes House

President Barack Obama's $800 billion-plus economic stimulus package has passed the House. The bill includes around $6 billion funding for broadband improvement and building-out projects. Senate passage could come as early as next week.

House rejects DTV delay

The House has voted down a bill that would have delayed the DTV transition date until June 12, The Associated Press reports. The vote, 258-168, fell short of the two-thirds threshold needed for passage. GOP legislators contend a delay would confuse consumers as well as trouble wireless companies and public safety agencies waiting to use their incoming spectrum. The Senate unanimously approved the bill on Jan. 26.

CPB cancels in-person Leaders Meeting but plans virtual meeting of minds

CPB has canceled its annual National Leaders Meeting after hearing that many of the invited professional and lay leaders would not be able to attend in March because of fiscal problems. “Clearly, it is not the time for ‘business as usual,’" CPB President Pat Harrison wrote to invitees. CPB will go online to achieve some of the meeting’s objectives, she said. Participants in a two-hour online “dynamic inquiry” will discuss how public service media can most effectively serve the public. The meeting had been scheduled for March 18-20 in Washington, D.C.

PBS buys stake in National Public Media

PBS has purchased a 10 percent equity share in National Public Media, the national on-air and online corporate sponsorship rep whose clients include NPR, and public radio and TV stations across the country. Formerly known as National Public Broadcasting, NPM was established in 2007 when WGBH and NPR bought NPB. NPR owns 80 percent of the company,  and WGBH owns the rest. As part of the new agreement, PBS President Paula Kerger will be seated on the board along with Vivian Schiller, president of NPR, and Jonathan Abbott, president of WGBH. 

CPR revises plan to expand local news show

Colorado Public Radio has scaled back its plans for Colorado Matters, a 30-minute weekday news show that was slated to expand to one-hour and be paired with a local call-in. Since purchasing an FM channel to serve as the broadcast home of KFCR, an NPR News outlet serving Denver, CPR has been unable to sell 1370 AM, the outlet that until last year was the primary CPR news service in the market, according to the Denver Westword blog. In addition, CPR's listener-sensitive revenues are starting to soften. Programming veep Sean Neathery says CPR now plans to expand Colorado Matters to a one-hour show that airs four days a week, with the call-in airing in the same timeslot on Fridays. CPR is recruiting a senior producer, a producer and one part-time production assistant to help with the expansion.