Monday roundup: CPB Board gets nominee; public TV funding rebounds

By Current Staff

• President Obama has nominated Dr. Judith Davenport to serve as a CPB Board director, the White House announced Friday. Davenport, a retired dentist, co-founded Pittsburgh, Pa.–based Sheridan Broadcasting Corp. with her husband Ronald in 1973. She also serves on several other boards, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the Andy Warhol Museum. The nomination goes to the Senate for confirmation.

• State funding for public television increased over the past two years, APTS President Pat Butler tells the New York Times. In 2008, 38 states appropriated around $277 million; this year, 35 states have set aside around $191.5 million. That’s up $10 million from last year and $13.5 million since appropriations hit a low of $178 million in fiscal 2012, Butler said.

• CPB has restored Vermont Public Television’s eligibility to receive its Community Service Grant, according to Vermont Public Radio. The eligibility for federal funding was temporarily halted during recent investigations over allegations that members of the VPT Board met in secret, violating CPB’s open-meetings rules. The board approved stricter open-meeting rules last month.

• While SXSW is an important festival for documentarians eager to create buzz around their work, it’s tough to find films there “that creatively leap over the de-facto segregation of class and race in American culture,” writes Patricia Aufderheide, who directs the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University. (Disclosure: Current is another independent journalism center at AU.) Aufderheide examined the SXSW lineup and found it lacking in diversity. “I don’t think film festivals showcasing documentary generally are featuring work by or about people of color or the working poor or even working issues generally,” she writes, “even though the fundamental inequalities of this society — which visit themselves on the unflavored most harshly but are shared one way or another by us all — make for gripping conflicts.”

• This American Life plays a bit part in the new Veronica Mars movie. A scene early in the movie takes place in the TAL office, portrayed in the film by KPCC in Los Angeles. Host Ira Glass has a few lines, and staffers play themselves as extras in the background. “Here’s what I learned about filming a scene with Kristen Bell and Chris Lowell (who plays Piz),” Glass wrote on the TAL blog. “At the end of nearly every take, one of them or both would do a little fist-pump thing and go ‘Nailed it!’ which was a joke but I have to say was completely contagious. Now in the studio sometimes when I’m doing the radio show, when I finish an intro, the mic goes off and that’s what I say.”

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