Afternoon roundup: SoCal Connected returns; Johnson to lead Colorado pubTV

By Andrew Lapin

Johnson

Johnson

• SoCal Connected is bringing along old friends with its return to KCET in Los Angeles. The station will reintroduce the award-winning investigative newsmagazine May 14 for a sixth season, with a new format after a 14-month hiatus imposed by a lack of funding. The show returns with support from underwriters including the Ahmanson Foundation and Chapman University.

Host Val Zavala and senior producer Linda Burns, who worked on the program in its earlier incarnations, return without EP Bret Marcus. KCET laid off Marcus after its 2012 merger with LinkTV. New staff includes Zach Behrens, digital editor-in-chief of KCET’s website, as multimedia e.p. and Cara Santa Maria,  a former host of Huffington Post Live, as science correspondent.

• Colorado Public Television has hired Kim Johnson as c.e.o. She will be the network’s first female president. Johnson joined CPT in 1989 as a production manager and became c.o.o. in 2010. She has served as CPT’s interim g.m. since April 2013, following the retirement of longtime president Wick Rowland.

• State funding for public broadcasting in Kansas is once again in jeopardy. The Republican-controlled House is seeking to eliminate all state subsidies to pubcasters for the coming fiscal year, while Gov. Sam Brownback and the state senate support a reduced $600,000 allocation, reports the Kansas City Star. Brownback last sought to end state aid to pubcasters in fiscal year 2012 before backing off and settling on reduced appropriations. The subsidies make up less than one percent of Kansas’s budget but up to 12 percent of budgets at some of the state’s smaller pubcasters, the Star reports.

• Former Georgia state Sen. Chip Rogers, who left a six-figure job at Georgia Public Broadcasting just over a year after joining the network, reportedly may have been let go due to his work in another job. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained emails sent to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff sharing details of Rogers’ second job as a “government affairs guru” for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. AJC reports that many politicians knew about the job, but the governor’s office did not. Deal’s staff informed GPB President Teya Ryan of Rogers’ activities, and his dismissal soon followed.

• Three journalists with public media and nonprofit news organizations are among Harvard University’s 2015 class of Nieman Fellows. Melissa Bailey, managing director of the nonprofit New Haven Independent; Gabe Bullard, director of news and editorial strategy at Louisville’s WFPL; and Morning Edition supervising senior editor Kitty Eisele will attend classes at Harvard and pursue independent fields of study. Bailey will look into online degrees in higher education, Bullard will pursue “the changing perceptions of American history in politics and culture,” and Eisele will examine visual storytelling in news, as well as the early history of slavery in the U.S.

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