Jun 29, 2009

CPB launches emergency readiness cooperative project

A collaboration between several pubcasting and communications groups is at the core of CPB's new Station Action for Emergency Readiness (SAFER) initiative. Helping in development are the National Federation of Community Broadcasters; NPR; PBS stations KQED, Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Atlanta Public Broadcasting; and the Integrated Media Association. There'll be online tools such as a customizable station readiness manual, as well as webinars and workshops in which experts help stations implement a response program for their community. Ginny Z. Berson, an NFCB veep, told Current the website should launch late this year, with webinars starting up in 2010. Budget for the project, three years in the planning, is $270,000.

Pennsylvania stations join forces for pubcasting Advocacy Day

Pennsylvania pubcasters are coming together for a state Public TV Advocacy Day tomorrow in an attempt to save state funding. They're asking viewers and listeners to write letters to state representatives, senators and Gov. Ed Rendell to restore the governor's proposed pubcasting budget cuts. His budget would zero out all funding -- $7.9 million -- for station operations, cut technical support from $4.34 million to $2 million, and abolish the Pennsylvania Public Television Network as an independent commission of state government. Negotiations over the budget could continue for six to eight more weeks, according to published reports. The Advocacy Day Web site also features photos of a May rally by schoolchildren supporting WQLN in Erie, Pa.

NYSE bells ring in "Super Why!" toys

The folks behind PBS Kids' Super Why! recently got to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate the retail launch of the popular program's toy line. Pictured from left are Super Why! character Whyatt Beanstalk; show creators Samantha Freeman and Angela Santomero of Out of the Blue; Lesli Rotenberg, PBS children's media guru; and Larry Leibowitz, a veep at the NYSE Euronext Group, the corporation that runs the stock exchange. Super Why! toys are now available at Toys "R" Us.

Filmmakers working to weather recession

Are you filmmaker with dwindling funds? The Independent has a good tips for surviving the recession while keeping your project going. As writer Sean Jones notes, "Many of these point the way to a new, sustainable business model that could bring independent film increasing relevance and financial promise as the economy recovers." On interesting idea is documentarian Shelly Frost’s Make a Movie Studios, which teaches kids how to create their own films. For $99, kits include everything from a script to props list and shoot schedule.

Florida writer wants to see CPB "extinct"

"Dinosaurs are extinct. So should be the CPB," says Phil Fretz, an editorial page writer for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. Fretz thinks the corporation was necessary in 1967 to create programming diversity. "But now I have an Internet radio that picks up thousands of stations, subscription-free and with crystal-clear reception," he says. He'd rather the government save the $400 million annual appropriation.

NPR crowdsourcing project: Who is that lobbyist?

For its coverage of health care reform legislation being drafted on Capitol Hill, NPR News launched Dollar Politics, a series examining how lobbyists seek to influence the debate. The reportage includes an crowdsourcing project, "Turning the Camera Around," that starts with a panoramic photograph of the audience attending a June 17 Senate hearing where lawmakers began working on the overhaul. Reporters Peter Overby and Andrea Seabrook did some legwork to identify a few of the lobbyists in the photo and they turned to the audience for help in naming others. "The response so far has been practically ecstatic--at least in the blogosphere and the Twitterverse," Seabrook says in this Q&A with Poynter Online. " And we've gotten quite a few e-mails from listeners who love the fact that we've 'turned the lens' on the real story." But lobbyists who have been identified respond quite differently, according to Overby: "Usually, their first reaction is, 'How did you get my name?'"