Jul 24, 2012

Make the most of YouTube with these tips

Kevin Dando, PBS's director of digital marketing and communications, recently attended a "Partners Summit" during which YouTube staffers "walked us through a number of strategies and tactics for ensuring that our YouTube videos are seen by as many people as possible." He shares tips for stations here.

Chief operating officer of Alabama PTV protests firings in letter to governor

In a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Alabama Public Television's chief operating officer says "a shadow is being cast over APT by its own directors," following their sudden terminations on June 12 of longtime Executive Director Allan Pizzato and his deputy, Pauline Howland (Current, June 25). The firings sparked an ongoing public controversy, and exposed an internal struggle over the commission's push to schedule programs from the religious right for APT broadcast and revise the network's mission statement.

Charles Grantham, who has been with the station since 1978, writes that several members of the governing Alabama Educational Television Commission "have their own agendas, which may or may not have been in the best interest of APT." He said one commissioner has suggested dropping PBS programming.

"On programming and other issues," Gratham states, "at times the commissioners did not want to hear the advice of the management team — a team made up of Pauline and Allan and myself, who just between us three have nearly one hundred years combined broadcasting experience."

He also notes: "Our commissioners have caused literally thousands of dollars in private support to be pulled from the organization. Each day more and more of the citizens of Alabama, along with businesses, are pulling their support based on the actions and perceived future actions of the AETC."

Grantham told Current that the station has lost at least $25,000 in membership funds, and several major donors — "$25,000 to $50,000 a year underwriters," he said — are holding off on finalizing those agreements due to the uncertainty over APT's direction following the firings.

Read the entire letter here.

Station executives finalize WXEL-TV sale

It's finally official: WXEL Public Broadcasting Corp., a nonprofit set up by the TV station’s executives, paid nearly $1.5 million Friday (July 20) to Barry University for WXEL-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla., reports the Palm Beach Post.

The local group, headed by station President Don Sussman, CEO Bernie Henneberg and Development Vice President Debra Tornaben, received a loan from the nonprofit Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, due in five years.

The sale was finalized on the station's 30-year anniversary.

The deal has been a long time coming.  The dual-licensee went up for sale eight years ago (Current, Nov. 29, 2004). The station was nearly sold to New York City's WNET five years ago (Current, March 6, 2006) and, more recently, another local community group and school district.

WXEL-FM was sold to Classical South Florida last year for $3.85 million.

Noncom groups file comments on FCC's third-party fundraising proposal

NPR, PBS and the Association of Public Television Stations are among broadcast organizations weighing in with the FCC on its April proposal for a change in policy to allow pubcasters to raise money for charities and other nonprofits on the air without first obtaining a waiver. All three are opposed.

Other pubcasters filing comments include New England Public Radio and the University Station Alliance, which also oppose the change, and North Carolina's UNC-TV, which "generally supports" the change. Several religious organizations, including the National Religious Broadcasters, also back the proposal.

Joint comments from PBS and APTS, filed Monday (July 23), urge the FCC to limit any rule change to licensees that do not receive a CPB community service grant. "CPB-qualified stations have a unique statutory mission of public service," the filing said, "that could be undermined by a rule change allowing on-air interruptions to fundraise for third parties outside of the waiver process." That waiver process "has worked satisfactorily for decades," it added. Public TV stations "have a mission to serve all segments of a community, specifically those that are less influential, rather than select third-party organizations."

NPR's comments said that changing the rules "raises serious concerns and may negatively impact stations’ abilities to serve their communities." Removing the ban "would create the potential for stations to be inundated with requests from local nonprofits, jeopardizing relationships with potential programming partners and imposing an administrative burden on station staff." The FCC's proposed change "may also undermine stations’ ability to raise funds from their members, who are vital to stations’ economic well-being."

In supporting the proposed change, UNC-TV noted it believes that the FCC "should leave to individual [noncommercial educational] stations the decisions concerning whether or not a station participates in this activity at all, how much of its programming time will be allotted to this activity in specific situations and in the aggregate, and whether or not it merely produces and airs fundraising programs and activities or also collects and remits funds deriving from such programming and activities."