Public Broadcasting Act of 1967

Enacted less than 10 months after the report of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Broadcasting, this law initiates federal aid to the operation (as opposed to funding capital facilities) of public broadcasting. Provisions include:

extend authorization of the earlier Educational Television Facilities Act,
forbid educational broadcasting stations to editorialize or support or oppose political candidates,
establish the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and defines its board,
defines its purposes,
authorize reduced telecommunications rates for its interconnection,
authorize appropriations to CPB, and
authorize a federal study of instructional television and radio. Public Law 90-129, 90th Congress, November 7, 1967 (as amended to April 26, 1968)
Title I—Construction of Facilities
Extension of duration of construction grants for educational broadcasting

Sec. 101. (a) Section 391 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 391) is amended by inserting after the first sentence the following new sentence: “There are also authorized to be appropriated for carrying out the purposes of such section, $10,500,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1968, $12,500,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1969, and $15,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1970.”

(b) The last sentence of such section is amended by striking out “July 1, 1968” and inserting in lieu thereof “July 1,1971.”

Maximum on grants in any State

Sec.

The Hidden Medium: A Status Report on Educational Radio in the United States, 1967

With support building for federal aid to public TV, the advocates of public radio found they had to act quickly to make their case. National Educational Radio, a division of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, hired Herman W. Land Associates to study the field and its potential. The resulting book, The Hidden Medium: A Status Report on Educational Radio in the United States, was published in April 1967. Overview and Summary
The oldest of the electronic media, going back in service to experimental beginnings as station 9xm in the year 1919, educational radio, almost a half century later, remains virtually unknown as a communications force in its own right. Overshadowed first by commercial radio, then by television, it has suffered long neglect arising from disinterest and apathy among the educational administrators who control much of its fortunes.

The Hidden Medium, Overview and Summary, April 1967

With support building for federal aid to public TV, the advocates of public radio found they had to act quickly to make their case. National Educational Radio, a division of NAEB, hired Herman W. Land Associates to study the field and its potential. The resulting book, The Hidden Medium: A Status Report on Educational Radio in the United States, was published in April 1967. See also Jack Mitchell's account of guerrilla radio activism during the period. Overview and Summary
The oldest of the electronic media, going back in service to experimental beginnings as station 9xm in the year 1919, educational radio, almost a half century later, remains virtually unknown as a communications force in its own right.

President Johnson asks Congress to aid public television, 1967

A month after the release of the first Carnegie Commission report, LBJ announced legislation to help pay for operations of public TV for the first time. These remarks appear in his health/education proposals to Congress, between the sections on adult illiteracy and computers in the classroom, leading off a section titled "Building for Tomorrow." Before the end of the year, Congress had expanded the bill to include public radio and Johnson was signing the Public Broadcasting Act into law. BUILDING FOR TOMORROW
Public television

In 1951, the Federal Communications Commission set aside the first 242 television channels for noncommercial broadcasting, declaring:
The public interest will be clearly served if these stations contribute significantly to the educational process of the Nation. The first educational television station went on the air in May 1953.

Carnegie I: Members, Preface and Introductory Note, 1967

A 15-member commission created in 1965 by a major foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, released its report, Public Television: A Program for Action, on Jan. 26, 1967, popularizing the phrase "public television" and assisting the legislative campaign for federal aid to the field. (Public radio was added later by Congress.) See also Summary of the report's recommendations. The commission chair, James R. Killian Jr. (1904-88) had already played a prominent public role as the first White House science advisor, 1955-57, advocating emphasis on science education, the creation of NASA and greater funding for the National Science Foundation as the Eisenhower administration responded to Washington's post-Sputnik panic. At MIT, Killian was a former Technology Review editor and wartime R&D leader who became the school's president, 1948-59, and chair, 1959-71.

Carnegie I: Carnegie Commission on Educational Television, 1967

A 15-member commission created in 1965 by a major foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, released its report, Public Television: A Program for Action, on Jan. 26, 1967, popularizing the phrase "public television" and assisting the legislative campaign for federal aid to the field. (Public radio was added later by Congress.) See also the list of commission members and the Preface and Introductory Note of the report. The report's summary of recommendations:

A Proposal to Extend and Strengthen Educational Television: A Summary of the Commission's Report

The Carnegie Commission on Educational Television has reached the conclusion that a well-financed and well-directed educational television system, substantially larger and far more pervasive and effective than that which now exists in the United States, must be brought into being if the full needs of the American public are to be served. This is the central conclusion of the Commission and all of its recommendations are designed accordingly.

Carnegie I: E.B. White’s letter to the first Carnegie Commission

In this letter to the first Carnegie Commission, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker magazine essayist (1899-1985) gives one of the most compact and eloquent descriptions of what advocates hoped public television would become. (White's books included Charlotte's Web, and he co-authored The Elements of Style, familiar to many English students.)

On stationery of the magazine where he worked for years, White addressed Stephen White, assistant to the Carnegie Commission chair, James R. Killian Jr.

Chapter 1 of the commission's report begins with an excerpt from the letter shown in color below. The New Yorker
No. 23 West 43rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10036

September 26, 1966

Dear Steve:

I have a grandson now named Steven White, and I'll bet he can swim faster and stay under longer than you can. As for television, I doubt that I have any ideas or suggestions that would be worth putting on paper.  Non-commercial TV should address itself to the ideal of excellence, not the idea of acceptability — which is what keeps commercial TV from climbing the staircase.

Educational Television Progress Report, Sen. Warren Magnuson, 1965

Sen. Warren G. Magnuson (D-Wash.), then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, laid out the case for federal aid to public broadcasting in this report published a month before the creation of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television. The senator entered the report in the Congressional Record as an "extension of remarks" for Oct. 22, 1965.  Little more than two years later, President Johnson had signed the Public Broadcasting Act. Mr. President, in 1962 the Congress enacted the Educational Television Facilities Act which made it possible for direct Federal support for educational television stations. Since 1962 grants have been made under the formula set forth in the Educational Television Facilities Act on a matching basis for the development of new stations and for the expansion of existing facilities.

Educational Television Progress Report, Sen. Warren Magnuson, 1965

Sen. Warren G. Magnuson (D-Wash.), then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, laid out the case for federal aid to public broadcasting in this report published a month before the creation of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television. The senator entered the report in the Congressional Record as an "extension of remarks" for Oct. 22, 1965. Little more than two years later, President Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act. Mr. President, in 1962 the Congress enacted the Educational Television Facilities Act which made it possible for direct Federal support for educational television stations.