Public TV funding cuts fall unevenly across the U.S.; Fundraising criticized

WASHINGTON — Public broadcasting stations face a widely disparate landscape of funding cuts, according to participants at the CCLP Washington, D.C. forum in July. One significant variable is geography and politics – and the state where the station is located: Tom Thomas, who has studied public broadcasting funding for decades, noted that there are five states that devote $70 million to public TV and radio – more than $10 million per state, far more than the other 45 states. So if one of those five states were to cut funding significantly, or zero it out entirely, it would have a…

Journalists, arts organization leaders explore social media's impact on arts journalism at CCLP forum in Washington, D.C.

The impact of social media and changing audiences were primary concerns of arts journalists and leaders of cultural institutions who gathered at a Communication Leadership Policy Forum at the University of Southern California's Washington, D.C. Center on August 1. "Arts journalism is struggling for its life," said Jaime Bennett of the National Endowment for the Arts. "It's no surprise that journalists are taking to the blogosphere to share their reviews." Organized by senior fellow Adam Clayton Powell III (pictured right) and Tim Page, the USC Annenberg journalism professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning former music critic for The Washington Post, the forum…

Media executives, policymakers and scholars assess public media’s future

Public broadcasting executives, journalists, policymakers, and others met in USC's Washington, DC office on Monday, July 25 to discuss growing threats to public broadcasting stations across the US. The program featured opening remarks by Geoffrey Cowan, director of the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy and was organized by Adam Clayton Powell III, CCLP's senior fellow who has served in top positions at several commercial and public news organizations. USC Annenberg's Dean Ernest J. Wilson III also participated in the forum. Tom Thomas, Co-CEO of Station Resource Group, observed that while public broadcasters have always had aspirations that exceeded available…

PBS loses a 4th station; public television local news commitment questioned

WASHINGTON — The Public Broadcasting System has been abandoned by a fourth station, WIPR-TV in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As previously reported, KCET-TV in Los Angeles dropped its PBS programming in January of this year. Two public television stations in Florida followed suit in early July. WIPR canceled its PBS affiliation after an unsuccessful year-long negotiation over the amount the station would pay for programming, according to an article in Current magazine. That was exactly the same pattern as in Los Angeles, according to KCET President and General Manager Al Jerome in an interview late last week with CCLP. In…

Fund cuts for public television lead to mergers; is there life after PBS?

WASHINGTON – Coping with reduced funding by state governments and other sources, public television stations are pursuing diverse options ranging from mergers and consolidation to dropping PBS network programs. As reported in early July, funding cuts led to the demise of the New Jersey Network of PBS stations, which were merged into New York's WNET. The station had earlier acquired WLIW on Long Island, so currently, WNET controls PBS programming on stations well to the east and south of New York City. New York is not unique: San Francisco's public television station, KQED, acquired KTEH, serving San Jose and the…

NJ Public Television Signs Off; Other PBS, NPR Stations Threatened by Cuts

WASHINGTON — While the nation celebrated the holiday weekend of independence, New Jersey's public television network signed off for the last time and many other PBS stations around the US may soon follow suit. The reason: cuts in funding from state governments across the country. As I had written about on the blog last December, NJN has finally come to the end of its broadcasting days. The final New Jersey newscast on NJN was Thursday night. At its end, viewers saw a simple sign, "New Jersey Network. April 5, 1971 – June 30, 2011." As of that night, 130 employees…

Copps offers rebuttal to FCC report on the future of news

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission member Michael J. Copps is calling for reinvigorated federal regulation of broadcasting to encourage more, and more serious journalism. Expanding on his June 9 remarks following the release of the FCC's staff report on the information needs of communities, Copps criticized the report's optimism about the Internet. "What we have gained on the Internet," said Copps (pictured left), "does not match what we have lost" due to cutbacks in newspaper and broadcast newsrooms. And he urged new FCC regulatory initiatives to help create new and strengthened forums for journalism and debate….

USC forum explores new FCC transparency & accountability requirements

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission will propose a new "streamlined web system" regulatory regime for broadcasters, requiring licensees to file all information on the Internet in a publicly accessible and searchable form. That promise came from Steven Waldman (pictured left), senior advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who spoke at a Washington, D.C. forum organized by USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism to discuss the report, The Information Needs Of Communities: The changing media landscape in a broadband age which was released on June 9. First came the good news: the U.S. is close to having "the best…

Public TV stations face challenges on West, East Coasts

All of the PBS TV stations in the state of New Jersey may go off the air entirely early next year. The New Jersey network's governing authority meets on Wednesday to consider how to survive – or sell. Kept alive by a subsidy by state taxpayers that is scheduled to end shortly, one option on the table is a merger with New York City's WNET and/or Philadelphia's WHYY. This news comes as KCET in Los Angeles prepares to drop PBS programming in three weeks in favor of an independent public TV schedule that starts next month….