Jul 10, 2009

House subcom okays $40M in station funds

Emergency funds for pubcastingcleared an important hurdle today, as the House's Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcom approved $40 million in "meaningful, urgent relief directly to local stations," according to an APTS statement. President and CEO Larry Sidman added, “All of public broadcasting is deeply grateful to Chairman [David] Obey [D-Wisc.] and his subcommittee members for providing desperately needed support to stations battered by the most prolonged recession since World War II.” Next steps: The bill progresses to that chamber's Appropriations Committee, and on to the House floor. The Senate also needs to weigh in. On Capitol Hill Day in February, APTS and station reps lobbied for a $211 million supplemental appropriation for FY2010, or what Sidman termed "an emergency infusion of funding" (Current, Feb. 17).

Pubcasting show's ideas didn't help retailer Smith & Hawken

High-end outdoor accessories retailer Smith & Hawken is going out of business. What does that have to do with pubcasting? Founding partner Paul Hawken was producer and host of the 17-part series Growing a Business that aired on PBS; it focused on owning and running a socially conscious company. According to Hawken's biography, the program ultimately played in 115 countries and was watched by more than 100 million viewers. Ten 30-minute episodes ran from November 1987 to November 1990 on PBS.

Donor foundation "concerned" about WQED's future

WQED's cutbacks are affecting not only station personnel, but also donor foundations' confidence in the station, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We are concerned about WQED's future and we care about its mission," said John Ellis, spokesman for the Pittsburgh Foundation, which has donated more than $600,000 over the past five years. "Like most public service TV stations across the country, WQED needs to develop a sustainable model for public service television in this region and we hope they're successful in that endeavor." WQED Multimedia President George Miles promised to present foundations with a new strategic plan
by July.

Fervent fans follow pubcasters, including NPR's Kasell

Carl Kasell, media elite. That's according to the Power Grid on It ranks personalities by audience, blog entries and Twitter groupies. In all, 12 PBSers and 13 folks on NPR are there, from the expected (Tavis Smiley, Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill) to the slightly more unexpected, such as the longtime authoritative NPR voice Kasell -- no doubt, he's developed a whole new fan base with all those home answering-machine recordings via Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

I put them in my digital pocket ... somewhere ... I know they're here ...

Think digital coupons. That’s one interesting suggestion that emerged from the Public Radio Development & Marketing Conference in San Diego. Blogging the confab is Keith York, a KPBS programmer who writes the Public Media Digest. York reports that Paul Jacobs of Jacobs Media told a packed session that use of digital coupons is surpassing printed coupons, so stations could offer listeners online coupons and discounts for sponsors. A leader in digital coupons, Safeway, added them to its loyalty card effort last month, the database marketing blog DM News reported. Forbes said some digital coupons fail to offer meaningful savings and even charge memberships to prospective users.