Hearing For New CPB Board Members Set

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The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Sept. 21 on the nominations of three new CPB board members.

In June, the White House proposed to nominate former Senator David Pryor, KQED San Francisco board member Chris Boskin, and conservative National Review contributor Warren Bell. Bell was somthing of a surprise nominee--even to himself. He has been a TV writer and producer on such shows as Coach, Ellen, and According to Jim.

However, while the brief bio on the bottom of one of Warren's 2005 online entries for National Journal ends "He is barely even noticed anymore" that is no longer the case. According to public broadcasting insiders, the controversy over his nomination is building, and it stems from some of his past conservative writings.

The board is currently three members shy of a full contingent.

Clinton-appointed CPB board member and former chairman Katherine Anderson exited the board in February after eight years. Her term was up this year, but she could have stayed through the end of the year or until a replacement was appointed. Her departure left the board with only six members for nine slots, and two long-standing vacancies.

Six members leaves room for deadlock, as happened this week when the board could not agree on a new vice chairman.

Pryor is seen as a tough, but fair, moderate who could bring more Blue State backbone to the board. Clue: He was the dean of the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark., before exiting Feb. 15.

The board has been instituting new oversight policies in the wake of CPB Inspector General criticisms of hiring and outside contracting practices.

That investigation stems back to the tenure of then board Chairman Ken Tomlinson, who was heavily criticized for trying to add conservative programming to balance what he said was a liberal bias.

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