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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, May 1999

By David Haugland

Dear IDA Members:

The National Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting Producers seeks your feedback!

In 1988, Congress established the Independent Television Service (ITVS) to bring independently produced programs to public television. This action, in response to wide-spread grassroots pressure from public television audiences, promised to foster programs that involve creative risk and address the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, particularly children and minorities. In the past decade, ITVS has funded 171 single programs, 19 limited series, and 55 kids spots, totaling 260 hours of programming.

The National Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting Producers, a dedicated group of media representatives from across the country, was created by the same enabling legislation which created ITVS. The Coalition serves two important functions: 1) to appoint members to the ITVS board of directors and 2) to serve as a "watchdog" through political challenges, controversies and changes in the independent media landscape. The Coalition works to assure that ITVS fulfills its hard-won place in support of makers and audience alike.

In 1998, three membership organizations (the Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers, Film Arts Foundation and IDA) became permanent designees of the Coalition; joining AIVF, FAF and IDA representatives will be two independent representatives from the field. During the transition in the fall of 1998, Lous Massiah (of Scribe Video Center), Lillian Jimenez (representing the previous Coalition) and Dee Davis (as a departing ITVS board member) served on the Coalition.

The First and very important task this newly-configured group undertook was to nominate to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting five ITVS board members to serve alongside those board members whose terms expire in 1999 and 2000. The newly appointed board members are Juanita Anderson (independent producer, Boston), Cynthia A. Gehrig (Jerome Foundation, St. Paul), Kevin Martin (KERA, Dallas), Cara Mertes (independent producer, New York) and David Rosen (media consultant, San Francisco).

Appointing ITVS board members and watchdogging ITVS's activities are ongoing responsibilities. In this spirit I'm asking you to make the success of the Coalition—and the future of ITVS—a high priority.

The newly restructured Coalition holds great promise to represent the interests of independent producers. Your comments, questions and ideas are welcome, to maximize the future potential of Independent Television Service.


Very sincerely,

David Haughland,
IDA President