Toward the end of NBC News' recent visit to the People's Republic of China, Betty Lord, the wife of the U.S. ambassador, organized a meeting at the embassy of young journalists and college students ...

She then asked NBC anchor Tom Brokaw to speak to them on the general subjects of how America operates and what he does on television ...

Brokaw took his audience through an explanation of where he was born and lived as a youngster, his work experiences in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington before joining the network in New York, and tried, at some length, to explain the American political process. After expressing the hope that what he had said had some meaning for them, he opened the floor to questions ...

A young woman in the back raised her hand: "Do you make more money," she asked, "than Dan Rather?" ...

(Brokaw said he "roared" with laughter and finally responded that "we both make enough to get through the year." "They were very sophisticated," Brokaw recalled yesterday. "They have access to tapes of both the NBC and CBS newscasts and the occasional copy of Time magazine") ...

President Reagan's sudden decision yesterday to hold a press conference tonight, moving network schedules up a half hour, knocked out plans for an appearance on ABC News' "Nightline" later in the evening by defrocked evangelist Jim Bakker ...

When Jim and wife Tammy appeared together May 27, Ted Koppel's interview show registered its highest rating ever, a 13.9 Nielsen count and a 41 percent audience share ...

Which explains why Bakker was immediately rescheduled late yesterday for next Tuesday night (Oct. 27) ...

President Reagan will mark the 20th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 this afternoon when he meets at the White House with the current board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a photo opportunity ...

The 10-member board, appointed by the president, is currently two members short ...

The CPB members should have big smiles on their faces today, anyway ...

The Senate Commerce Committee yesterday approved the fiscal 1988 budget reconciliation bill that establishes a trust fund that, starting in fiscal 1991, would add $50 million a year to CPB funding, starting at $304 million annually ...

The legislation establishes a transfer fee on all holders of spectrum licenses (TV stations, radio stations, cellular phones, microwave systems, satellites, etc.). The first two years, fee revenues go to the general treasury for deficit reduction ...

Starting in 1990, fees go into a public broadcasting trust. In fiscal 1991, CPB will be authorized at $50 million above the fiscal 1990 level of $254 million and each subsequent year the $50 million will be on top of the previous authorization ...

The public broadcasting authorization will be in perpetuity ...

The expanded FCC fees would be 2 percent on the purchase price of a license, 4 percent if a license is transferred within three years of purchase. The fee becomes 5 percent if the person disposing of the license has willfully violated the Fairness Doctrine (which the Commerce Committee bill also codified) ...

The bill also authorized $36 million in fiscal 1989 for the public telecommunications facilities program (equipment) and additional funding levels beginning in 1990 ...

Starting in 1991, public broadcasting will receive $40 million annually for five years to replace its satellite system ...

A euphoric Baryn Futa, acting president of the National Association of Public Television Stations, called the committee's action "incredible" ...

Douglas Bennet, president of National Public Radio, said yesterday, "We are delighted and thrilled that public broadcasting has a chance for predictable, long-term support. We are deeply grateful for this vote of confidence to the Senate Commerce Committee and to chairmen Hollings and Inouye" ...

Also in the News

ABC News president Roone Arledge, at a New York press conference yesterday, said he is only a couple of days away from a new contract for "World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings ...

He would not specify what P.J., who reportedly made about $944,000 annually under his expired pact, will get under the new contract but said he "will be paid even better" (CBS' Rather reportedly makes at least $2.5 million annually, NBC's Brokaw about $2 million) ...

Arledge also said he has yet to talk specifics on a new contract for Ted Koppel, whose current pact expires in December ...

He confirmed that he has also talked to CNN and Mutual Radio talk show host Larry King about hosting a show that would follow "Nightline" but ventured no details ...

King, incidentally, has a date on the West Coast this week to tape an episode of "ALF," who watches a debate of current presidential candidates, finds them inadequate to the job, and dreams he runs for the presidency ...

King, as himself, will interview ALF on the episode, which airs later this season ...

Channel 32 will carry the Howard University homecoming football game with Morehouse College Saturday afternoon, Nov. 7 ...

The broadcast will start with a coaches show that will feature Howard head coach Willie Jeffries and star player Harvey Reid ...

Howard boosters have tried to promote a weekly coaches show this season on local TV (Channel 50, which already carries shows featuring coaches from Maryland, Air Force Academy, Army and Navy, has been particularly interested) but production facilities at WHMM haven't been available and promoters of the show so far haven't been able to secure an alternative production site ...

WHMM general manager Arnold Wallace said earlier this week that some six university-related TV projects, in addition to three Channel 32 public affairs shows now in production, have tied up WHMM facilities this fall ...

"We wanted to do the coaches show and broadcast the whole football season this year," Wallace said. "We started talking about it last April but we couldn't get underwriting sufficient for the cost of renting a master control truck. They cost $6,000 a day and you need it both Friday and Saturday to get everything set up. The homecoming game alone is going to cost us $20,000 before it's over" ...

"We hope to do something next year for football," he added ...

In other news from Channel 32, the Howard University station was named winner of three CEBA awards by the World Institute of Black Communications at its 10th annual awards banquet at the New York Hilton hotel last week ...

WHMM won first place in the dramatic productions category for "All Things Considered ... Black"; a first in the interviews for studio, non-drama category for an "Evening Exchange" interview with Maya Angelou; and a second place in the public relations/public affairs (less than 15 minutes) category for a background report special on literacy ...

James Tripp-Haith was executive producer of all three winners. CEBA stands for "communications and excellence for black audiences" ...

Thoughts

While revisiting last week's primetime program rankings:

Last season, ABC News' "20/20" averaged a 14.2/24 in the 10 p.m. Thursday timeslot. After four weeks this year, at 10 p.m. Fridays, the magazine show has averaged 12.3/23, falling to 47th place in last week's national rankings (each rating point represents 886,000 TV homes) ...

CBS' "The Equalizer," 15.4/26 last year, averages 13.8/23 after four weeks and had its lowest ratings yet last week, 12.7/22 and a 49th place finish ...

CBS "Tour of Duty," up against NBC's number one combo of "The Cosby Show" and "A Different World," is averaging a 10.8/18. So far, ABC's "Sledge Hammer!" and "The Charmings" have averaged an 8.6/14 against Cosby & Co. ... better than ABC's "Our World" did a year ago at 6.5/10 ...

CBS has trouble with other new series. "Oldest Rookie" last week tied with "Wiseguy" for 52nd, "Tour of Duty" was 58th and "Leg Work" tied for 68th ...

But "Beauty and the Beast" has climbed steadily and finished 33rd last week with a respectable 27 share. And "Jake and the Fatman" has survived a dreadful second week against the season premiere of "Moonlighting" to flirt with respectability in the top 40 the last two weeks ...

And "Frank's Place," just holding its own on Monday night, is also in the Top 40 and had its highest rating of the season so far last week, a 13.8/22 ...