After accepting the terms of an $8.5 million loan from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on Thursday, the board of National Public Radio yesterday began working on the network's future.
Jane Couch, vice president of development, reported that NPR has raised one-third of the board's fiscal 1984 goal of $1.5 million in grants and contributions from the private sector. The financial problems of NPR did not slow down those efforts, said Couch.
"Since the April report we have gotten $409,000 in new commitments. Also, one of the real wonders of this is the renewal of the Bank of America Foundation, which in the midst of this crisis gave the second installment for the NPR News and Information Fund. This year they gave $250,000."
Meanwhile, Donald Mullally, the interim board chairman, said the network is only $1 million shy of funding its $17.65 million budget for the next fiscal year.
The $8.5 million loan is designed to retire all of NPR's current deficit.
On Monday NPR starts a "first time ever" national fundraiser. The first portion of money raised will remain with the individual stations to make up for the federal money they have redirected to NPR.
After they reach their own goals, they will forward money to NPR.
The board selected MSL International Ltd., an executive search firm and a division of The Hay Group, to search for a permanent chief executive to replace Frank Mankiewicz, who stepped down in April as president and chief executive officer. Mankiewicz's resignation came after the 14-year-old public radio network discovered enormous cash flow problems and deficits, which were expected to reach $9.1 million before the end of fiscal 1983 in September.
An interim management team, headed by Ronald Bornstein, a chancellor at the University of Wisconsin, was hired to help NPR out of its financial difficulties. Bornstein's contract expires Oct. 1.
Thursday's agreement between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR, which is expected to be finalized Tuesday, saved the network from bankruptcy and enabled it to keep its prize-winning programs on the air. CPB also gave NPR an advance of $500,000 of its monthly federal payment so it could meet yesterday's payroll.
H. Melvin Ming, former vice president of finance and administration for the National Urban Coalition, was named as the new director of finance and administration. Those duties formerly were held by Arthur Roberts, who has resigned. Ming, an accountant, worked for 12 years with Coopers & Lybrand, the accounting firm that did a preliminary audit of NPR's books.
The board accepted the resignation of Richard Hodgetts, president of NPR Ventures, a group that has sought to find business partners in profit-making activities. Hodgetts said yesterday he had informed management of his decision two weeks ago and it was not linked to the financial questions and uncertainty surrounding an NPR deal with National Information Utility Corp.
"The direction we are taking at NPR is small equity participation. I would want to run one of those operations," said Hodgetts, who added that he had "several options" to be involved in management of a firm. Hodgetts said he had been aware of the financial state of NIU since March and added, "that's not unusual with start-up ventures."