Dec 9, 2009

Congress committee passes omnibus; 8.1 percent more for pubcasting over last year

A House and Senate conference committee has approved a package of six unfinished fiscal 2010 spending bills, including funding for CPB and other pubcasting programs. The $446.8 billion omnibus appropriations bill is expected to pass muster with the House soon, then proceed to the Senate and on to President Barack Obama for his signature. The omnibus gives CPB a $445 million advanced appropriation for FY 2012; $36 million for digital conversion; $25 million for the public radio interconnection system and $27.3 million for Ready To Learn for FY 2010. It also provides $25 million in “fiscal stabilization” grants to pubTV and radio stations. If signed into law, the proposed FY 2012 CPB funding would represent a $15 million, or 3.5 percent, increase over CPB’s FY 2011 levels, and the RTL funding would be $1.9 million, or 7.5 percent, more than FY 2009. In total, the funding represents an increase of $41.7 million, or 8.1 percent, over in last year’s appropriations legislation.

Alvarado exits CPB for American Public Media

Joaquin Alvarado, senior v.p. of diversity and innovation at CPB since June, has resigned to take a similar position at American Public Media in St. Paul, the corporation announced this afternoon. Alvarado, a leading advocate for broadband expansion, will be senior v.p. of digital innovation at APM, focusing primarily on its Public Insight Journalism project, according to a spokeswoman. APM is the national distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio. Alvarado will continue to advise the CPB Board's digital media committee. His interim successor at CPB will be Joseph Tovares, acting v.p.

Early in his short tenure at CPB, Alvarado was involved in retooling the PBS World digital channel into what he called "World 2.0," a multimedia service for a younger, more diverse audience. During a meeting with pubTV station execs in August, Alvarado described World 2.0 as a "transmedia platform" where "innovation starts to happen." But PBS withdrew its support for the project this summer and turned World back over to the two stations that originally developed it, WNET in New York and WGBH in Boston.

Pubcasters to speak on "Kids @ Play"

Participants at the upcoming "Kids @ Play" include Susan Zelman, education s.v.p. at CPB; Rob Lippincott, education s.v.p at PBS; and Terry Fitzpatrick, e.v.p. of distribution for Sesame Workshop. The session is part of a larger meeting, "Living in Digital Times," at the January International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Other speakers are as diverse as the "chief information and logistics bear" from the Build-A-Bear Workshop to the under secretary for the U.S. Department of Education. The other summits: Digital Health, Mommy Tech and HigherEd Tech.