Feb 14, 2011

FCC reaches out to state broadcasting groups for spectrum webinars

The Federal Communications Commission has sent invitations to webinars on spectrum auction to 15 state broadcast associations, reports the CommLaw Blog. The notice says that FCC Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake and Rebecca Hanson, senior adviser on broadcast spectrum, will describe "the financial opportunities offered by voluntary incentive auctions, as proposed in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan." They'll also discuss "new business model options" that stem from voluntary spectrum givebacks. The Virginia Broadcasting Association announced stations there may take part March 17. No other details are available, the blog noted.

President's proposed budget adds $15 million to CPB funding for 2012

President Barack Obama released his budget today, and support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is safe through fiscal 2014. In fact, funding actually increases from $430 million in FY11 to $445 million in 2012, points out MinnPost media reporter David Brauer. The president does propose cutting $80 million in CPB grants for digital transition, station interconnection infrastructure and station fiscal stabilization, which the system received during the recession (Current, Dec. 14, 2009).

Want to check out the CPB section of the president's budget? Click here (PDF) and search on "Corporation for Public Broadcasting," or go to the bottom of page 1203.

MinnPost plays out scenario of lost federal aid for MPR

How real is the threat by Republicans in Congress to defund public broadcasting, and what difference would an end to federal aid make for Minnesota Public Radio? David Brauer, media writer for MinnPost, assessed the impact of the proposed cuts and the odds that they'll garner support among Senate Democrats after MPR began telling its listeners about the looming House vote. Washington University Professor Steven Smith says pubcasting's allies in the Senate and the White House will only be able to do so much to protect public broadcasting: “Senate Democrats will not go for cuts as deep as the House, but it is possible that CPB will take a significant hit as a part of the ultimate deal,” Smith says. If MPR's $4 million annual CPB grant is cut-off, Brauer reports the funding loss will have ripple effects on the statewide pubradio service and its national programming arm -- especially since it will arrive on the heels of $14 million in revenue losses in 2008-09.

NBR looking to radio show, multiple bureau partnerships

Nightly Business Report is "strongly pursing" a national radio deal, and is hoping to open up to multiple bureau partnerships with pubcasting stations by the end of the year, NBR owner Mykalai Kontilai tells the News on News website. The radio program would be a half-hour audiocast of the weeknight NBR, with an addition 30 minutes of NBR-produced content. "It would involve both of our hosts or some other radio talent," Kontilai said. NBR also has seven proposals out to pubTV stations for bureau partnerships. "We’ve received some positive feedback," he said. "I would hope by the end of the year, we’d have three to five new bureaus opened, one in the Rocky Mountain region, one in the Southwest, one in Southern California, one in Washington, D.C. and one in Chicago. It would put a reporter on the ground to cover breaking stories. We’ve got contracts out for people to review. So we’re pretty late in the process." Kontilai's acquisition of the show in 2010 was big news in the pubcasting system, as reported by both Current and, subsequently, the New York Times.