Funding would eliminate “countless hours” of pledge, ex-WNET president says

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William F. Baker, president emeritus of WNET, writes in a opinion piece in The Nation (via the CBS News site) that the way forward toward a vital public media is through existing pubcasting entities. Baker, the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor and Journalist-in-Residence at Fordham University, notes that for more than half a century, “the American people have shown, through their generous donations, that they support the idea and the reality of public media. The government should acknowledge those decades of widespread support by funding NPR and PBS both more extensively and more efficiently. By increasing direct allocations to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is responsible for disbursing funding to public TV and radio affiliates across America, the inherent inefficiencies of fundraising via public appeal would be eliminated, and countless hours of airtime would be liberated from pledge drives. It would also mean that Americans would get more in return for the money they already pay to maintain the public media distribution network, which delivers NPR and PBS to 100 percent of the country.” Baker served as president and CEO of WNET from 1987 to 2007.