PBS to host first international broadcasting conference since 1997

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Next week PBS will host the annual conference for Public Broadcasters International (PBI), expected to draw hundreds of broadcasters from around the world.

This year’s event will be Nov. 6-8 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. PBS last hosted in 1997.

The agenda includes panels on “Public Media in Times of Public Challenge,” children’s programming, digital-content opportunities, historical and cultural documentaries, and financial sustainability. The audience will hear from broadcasters such as PBS President Paula Kerger; Noel Curran, director general of Ireland’s RTÉ; Masayuki Matsumoto, president of Japan’s NHK; Jane Vizard, legal director of the European Broadcasting Union; and Ralph Rivera, the BBC’s director of future media.

Participants will have an opportunity to tour NPR’s new headquarters.

The event, sponsored in part by PBS and CPB, is closed to the press. “These are candid and proprietary discussions,” said Anne Bentley, PBS spokesperson. “No press were involved when hosted last year by the BBC, and we are following the same practice.” Press covered the 2011 conference in Singapore.

PBI was created in 1990 by PBS and Canada’s CBC and TV Ontario. Early members included England’s BBC, NHK, RTÉ, the Korean Broadcasting System, SVT (Sveriges Television) in Sweden, DR in Denmark, Norway’s NRK, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and France Télévisions. Now more than 80 public-service broadcasters representing all continents belong to the organization.