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Sat Oct 5, 2019, 07:49 AM

49 Years Ago Today; PBS is launched

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PBS


Early logo

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster and television program distributor. It is a nonprofit organization and the most prominent provider of educational television programming to public television stations in the United States, distributing series such as American Experience, America's Test Kitchen, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Barney & Friends, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Downton Abbey, Finding Your Roots, Frontline, The Magic School Bus, Masterpiece, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Nature, Nova, the PBS NewsHour, Sesame Street, Teletubbies, and This Old House.

PBS is funded by member station dues, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, corporate contributions, National Datacast, pledge drives, private foundations, and individual citizens. All proposed funding for programming is subject to a set of standards to ensure the program is free of influence from the funding source.

Since the mid-2000s, Roper Opinion Research polls commissioned by PBS have consistently placed the service as the most-trusted national institution in the United States. A 20162017 study by Nielsen Media Research found 80% of all US television households view the network's programs over the course of a year. However, PBS is not responsible for all programming carried on public television stations, a large proportion of which may come from affiliates, including such member stations as WGBH, WETA, WNET, WTTW, WHYY, Twin Cities PBS, American Public Television, and independent producers. This distinction regarding the origin of different programs is a frequent source of viewer confusion.

The Public Broadcasting Service has more than 350 member television stations, many owned by educational institutions, nonprofit groups affiliated with one particular local public school district or collegiate educational institution, or entities owned by or related to state government.

Overview


PBS headquarters in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia

Established on November 3, 1969 by Hartford N. Gunn Jr. (president of WGBH), John Macy (president of CPB), James Day (last president of National Educational Television), and Kenneth A. Christiansen (chairman of the department of broadcasting at the University of Florida), PBS began operations on October 5, 1970, taking over many of the functions of its predecessor, National Educational Television (NET), which later merged with Newark, New Jersey station WNDT to form WNET. In 1973, it merged with Educational Television Stations.

Unlike the five major commercial broadcast television networks in the United States, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW which compensate their affiliate stations to carry their programs PBS is not a network but a program distributor that provides television content and related services to its member stations. Each station is charged with the responsibility of programming local content such as news, interviews, cultural and public affairs programs for their individual market or state that supplements content provided by PBS and other public television distributors.

In a television network structure, affiliates give up portions of their local advertising airtime in exchange for carrying network programming, and the network pays its affiliates a share of the revenue it earns from advertising. By contrast, PBS member stations pay fees for the shows acquired and distributed by the national organization. Under this relationship, PBS member stations have greater latitude in local scheduling than their commercial broadcasting counterparts. Scheduling of PBS-distributed series may vary greatly depending on the market. This can be a source of tension as stations seek to preserve their localism, and PBS strives to market a consistent national lineup. However, PBS has a policy of "common carriage," which requires most stations to clear the national prime time programs on a common programming schedule to market them nationally more effectively. Management at former Los Angeles member KCET cited unresolvable financial and programming disputes among its major reasons for leaving PBS after over 40 years in January 2011.

Although PBS has a set schedule of programming, particularly in regard to its prime time schedule, member stations reserve the right to schedule PBS-distributed programming in other time slots or not clear it at all if they choose to do so; few of the service's members carry all its programming. Most PBS stations timeshift some distributed programs. Once PBS accepts a program offered for distribution, PBS, rather than the originating member station, retains exclusive rebroadcasting rights during an agreed period. Suppliers retain the right to sell the program in non-broadcast media such as DVDs, books, and sometimes PBS licensed merchandise.

In 1991, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting resumed production for most PBS shows that debuted prior to 1977, with the exceptions of Washington Week in Review and Wall Street Week (CPB resumed production of Washington Week in 1997).

In 1994, The Chronicle of Philanthropy released the results of the largest study on the popularity and credibility of charitable and non-profit organizations. PBS ranked as the 11th "most popular charity/non-profit in America" from over 100 charities researched in the study conducted by the industry publication, with 38.2% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing "love" and "like a lot" for PBS.

In December 2009, PBS signed up for the Nielsen ratings audience measurement reports, and began to be included in its primetime and daily "Television Index" reports, alongside the major commercial broadcast networks. In May 2011, PBS announced that it would incorporate breaks containing underwriter spots for corporate and foundation sponsors, program promotions and identification spots within four breaks placed within episodes of Nature and NOVA, airing episodes broken up into segments of up to 15 minutes, rather than airing them as straight 50- to 55-minute episodes. The strategy began that fall, with the intent to expand the in-program breaks to the remainder of the schedule if successful.

In 2011, PBS released apps for iOS and Android to allow viewing of full-length videos on mobile devices. An update in 2015 added Chromecast support.

On February 28, 2012, PBS partnered with AOL to launch Makers: Women Who Make America, a digital documentary series focusing on high-achieving women in male-dominated industries such as war, comedy, space, business, Hollywood and politics.

PBS initially struggled to compete with online media such as YouTube for market share. In a 2012 speech to 850 top executives from PBS stations, Senior Vice President of Digital Jason Seiken warned that PBS was in danger of being disrupted by YouTube studios such as Maker Studios. In the speech, later described as a "seminal moment" for public television, he laid out his vision for a new style of PBS digital video production. Station leadership rallied around his vision and Seiken formed PBS Digital Studios, which began producing educational but edgy videos, something Seiken called "PBS-quality with a YouTube sensibility." The studio's first hit, an auto-tuned version of the theme from one of their most famous television programs, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, was one of YouTube's 10 most viral videos of 2012. By 2013, monthly video views on PBS.org had risen from 2 million to a quarter-billion, PBS.org traffic had surpassed that of the CBS, NBC, and ABC web sites, PBSKids.org had become the dominant US children's site for video, and PBS had won more 2013 Webby Awards than any other media company in the world.

On May 8, 2013, full-length episodes of PBS' prime time, news and children's programs were made available through the Roku streaming player; programming is available on Roku as separate streaming channels for PBS and PBS Kids content.[30] Some content is only available with a PBS Passport member benefit subscription.

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From "The Electric Company" to "Monty Python's Flying Circus" to "American Experience", I've really enjoyed PBS over the years. One of my most valued streaming subscriptions is my WCNY (local PBS station) Passport.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:12 AM

1. The source of all our budget problems, according to the GOPee

Forget the $3 trillion the Pentagon "can't account for" - do you know what it costs to feed Big Bird!?

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:21 AM

2. kick

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:42 AM

3. I love PBS!

I watch very little TV, but when I do watch it's PBS mostly. I get four different PBS stations on my antenna, so there's always something to choose from.

It was my go-to station for my children when they were growing up. They're now in their mid and late forties. Now my toddler granddaughter loves it.

The right wing nutties have always hated PBS and mocked it because their ideology thrives if the populace is uneducated. PBS is educational TV. Sesame Street was/is "evil" in their tiny, pea-brained minds.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:45 AM

4. wow. PBS is younger than me. I feel like it's been around all my life

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #4)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:57 AM

5. Same here. I started w/ Mister Rogers in 1969...

...when I was 4.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:03 AM

7. I guess some of those kids shows I watched were on other channels: Captain Kangeroo

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:15 AM

8. "And always remember to use the magic words,...

...'please and thank you'".

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Response to Doc_Technical (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:38 AM

10. As a child, I thought Captain Kangeroo was granpa age. He was only about 40

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:15 AM

9. He was on CBS

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #9)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:39 AM

11. thanks. I recall 4 channels at the time. CBS, ABC, NBC and a local channel

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 08:57 AM

6. I love PBS and have been a sustaining member for years.

I watched the first "Sesame Street" broadcast with my oldest child and we loved it. Their childrens programs are top notch. Educational and entertaining.

They have the best documentaries and tackle subjects that no one else will touch. Their news coverage is the most honest, nonpartisan, non-sensational that I've found.

I cringe every time I hear about cutting the budget. PBS might be one of the best uses of tax dollars ever.

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