Apr 7, 2011

St. Louis Beacon garners $2.6 million in donations

The nonprofit St. Louis Beacon, housed inside the city's PBS member station KETC (Current, March 30, 2009), has received $2.6 million in gifts and pledges. “These gifts don't eliminate our need to fund raise by any means," said Beacon g.m. Nicole Hollway. "We see it as an infusion of capital. These gifts give us the resources to invest in areas that tie directly to earned revenue.” The money will go toward business and technology infrastructure.

Former CPB Board vice-chair to head Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Christy Carpenter, a former vice-chair of the board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is the new c.e.o. of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in Morrilton, Ark. Carpenter recently served as e.v.p. and c.o.o of the Paley Center for Media, overseeing operations in New York and Los Angeles, and is a member of the KCET Board of Directors. Carpenter was appointed by President Clinton in 1998 to the CPB Board.

Public-access channel returning to Albany, N.Y., due to public demand

While many PEG (public, educational and government access) channels are going dark nationwide, the city of Albany, N.Y., is creating a new one. The Common Council approved assembling an 11-member Public, Education and Government Access Oversight Board for the development and operation of a public-access studio in the basement of the Albany Public Library's main branch, reports the local Times Union. "Residents have clamored for a public-access outlet in the city since its last station, also located at the library, shut down in the 1990s amid city budget cuts," the paper notes.

Virginia Senate spares pubcasters from deep funding cuts

The Virginia Senate voted to partially restore funding for public broadcasting yesterday, rejecting Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to cut $1.7 million supporting educational programming of the state's public TV stations, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Instead, aid to Virginia pubcasters will drop 10 percent. The governor's proposal to slash pubTV state subsidies by 50 percent was approved by the Virginia House of Delegates. WVPT President David Mullins told WSHV-TV News that his station, which serves Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley, would have lost grants totaling $305,000.

Modern-day "Freedom Riders" selected to retrace route

American Experience has chosen 40 student Freedom Riders who will travel the original bus route of the legendary civil-rights activists who used public transportation to challenge segregation in the South in 1961. The students reflect the original Freedom Riders group, PBS said in a statement today (April 7): They are culturally diverse, come from 33 states and the District of Columbia, and attend various schools from community colleges to the Ivy League. All were selected through an essay competition with nearly 1,000 entries. From May 6-16, they'll retrace the route of the original Freedom Rides from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, accompanied by filmmaker Stanley Nelson, several original Freedom Riders and others along the way. Nelson's "Freedom Riders" premieres on PBS on May 16.

New "Vine Talk" show makes conservative point that PBS is elitist, Slate review says

"Any budget-cutter or culture warrior hoping to rig an argument that federally funded television exists to serve the coastal elite need only have told her audience get a load of Vine Talk, debuting this month on PBS," writes Troy Patterson in Slate today (April 6). On the show, host Stanley Tucci and other celebs (such as writer Nora Ephron and actors John Lithgow and Julianne Moore) sample various wines, as a sommelier answers their questions and provides advice to them and the studio audience.

Don't miss the comments below the review, such as: "I think this article makes a great point — PBS's programming is generally geared towards the intellectual, more refined, probably wealthier crowd. Most conservative Republicans don't fall into that crowd, which is why there is the Hunting Channel."