Apr 23, 2012

Maine Public Broadcasting pondering role in saving three classical radio stations

Mark Vogelzang, president of Maine Public Broadcasting, told the Bangor Daily News that the pubcaster is following the bankruptcy proceedings of Princeton, N.J.-based Nassau Broadcasting "very closely," especially concerning its three classical radio stations in Maine. “We have no intention of making a bid — this is serious money,” Vogelzang said. “But if we could play a role, we’d be very interested in saving classical music in Maine. How we might do that, I don’t know.”

Nassau went into bankruptcy last year, reportedly owing nearly $284 million to various lenders. It owns 50 stations in the northeast, including 10 in Maine. Three comprise its WBACH classical network. “WBACH is an important classical outlet, and because it is such a key partner with many of Maine’s cultural organizations, it really plays an important role — just like MPBN does — in the cultural life of Maine,” Vogelzang said, “so we think that it would be very important not to lose classical music on the radio dial.”

'Education Station' KLCS in Los Angeles launches first-ever fundraising drive

KLCS-TV in Los Angeles is conducting the first fundraising drive ever in its 40-plus year history, hoping to replace $1.4 million for fiscal 2012-13 cut from its $4.6 million budget by its licensee, the Los Angeles Unified School District, reports the Los Angeles Daily News. The newspaper said a text-to-give campaign begins this week, with a goal to raise $100,000 by November, when a traditional pledge drive will start.

Previously, the school district had provided $2.8 million, Los Angeles County gave $150,000 and the remainder of the budget came from CPB and other philanthropic and government grants. The cash-strapped school district currently is in the midst of public hearings over its recent decision to lay off some 9,500 teachers.

The PBS affiliate broadcasts from 6 1 a.m. Its programming includes educational shows (Homework Hotline, College Buzz) PBS fare (Sesame Street, Downton Abbey), coverage of school board and county Board of Supervisors meetings, and original shows about district programs and classes. The station is one of three in the Los Angeles market — along with PBS SoCal/KOCE and KVCR — collaborating in the wake of KCET's departure (Current, Dec. 12, 2011).

If it's spring, it's Great TV Auction time in Milwaukee

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming Channel 10 Great TV Auction, now in its 44th year of raising funds for Milwaukee Public Television. Local news site reports that the auction began in 1969 with a goal of $50,000; now, it raises more than $1 million annually, handling more than 20,000 items throughout its weeklong run. "During the auction, between the phone banks and everything, we have over 3,000 volunteers," said Auction Director Sharon Fischer-Toerpe. "It takes a lot of volunteers. There are volunteers who plan their vacation around the auction just so they can be here." This year's auction runs April 27 through May 5.