The San Diego PBS station began its daily, 6:30 p.m. Evening Edition broadcast 15 months ago and is attracting both viewers and underwriters with its formula of more in-depth coverage and interviews. Starting at the end of the month, the station will move it up to 5 p.m. with a repeat at 6:30, sandwiched in among BBC World News and PBS NewsHour.
Several months ago, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals created shockwaves throughout the noncommercial broadcasting community by holding that the Communications Act’s prohibitions against the sale of advertising time by noncommercial stations was unconstitutional when applied to political advertising. That decision may be short-lived, as the full Court of Appeals, in reviewing the decision of the initial three judge panel, has indicated that the case should not be relied on as precedent in any other court decision until the full court can complete its review.
If the recent court decision allowing paid candidate and issue ads on noncommercial TV and radio is upheld, there are a myriad of ramifications for both commercial and public stations. For now the court’s ruling affects only the Ninth Circuit, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, but everyone should stay attuned to further developments, especially from the FCC. Better to anticipate potential changes than to be surprised by them.
The commission is asking whether noncommercial educational radio and TV stations should be routinely permitted to interrupt their regular programming for fundraising activities for the benefit of any nonprofit entity other than the station itself. Interruption of regular programming might be permitted without a prior waiver; reporting and certification requirements are also in play.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in April that federal law prohibiting public broadcasters from airing political or issue advertising is unconstitutional, even though the same court said a ban on commercials by for-profit products could stand. The U.S. Justice Department must decide by next week whether to ask the court to reconsider its divided decision, or bring an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Two years after selling WXEL-FM Palm Beach, Fla., for $3.85 million, Barry University has agreed to sell its public TV sister station for $1.44 million. The buyer is the WXEL Public Broadcasting Corp., a nonprofit set up by the TV station’s executives.
Baylor University is selling noncommercial KDYW Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas (DMA 89), to Community Television Educators of Waco, headed by Marcus and Joni Lamb, owners of the religious Daystar network and station group, according to an FCC filing seeking approval. The purchase price is $250,000. M.C. Alcamo & Co. advised the seller.