Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters
Final Report, Dec. 18, 1998
a.k.a. PIAC or the Gore Commission
See PDF of full report; sections of the report posted in HTML by the Benton Foundation; and the list of commission members. Executive Summary
As this Nation's 1,600 television stations begin to convert to a digital television format, it is appropriate to reexamine the long-standing social compact between broadcasters and the American people. The quality of governance, intelligence of political discourse, diversity of free expression, vitality of local communities, opportunities for education and instruction, and many other dimensions of American life will be affected profoundly by how digital television evolves. This Advisory Committees recommendations on how public interest obligations of television broadcasters ought to change in the new digital television era represent a new stage in the ongoing evolution of the public interest standard: a needed reassessment in light of dramatic changes in communications technology, market structures, and the needs of a democratic society.
Public Law 90-129, 90th Congress, November 7, 1967 (as amended to April 26, 1968)
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. 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.”
Pacifica began operation of its first and flagship station, KPFA in Berkeley, Calif., on April 15, 1949. These are early bylaws of the nonprofit organization. See also Pacifica's bylaws as of 1999. Article I
Section 1. The name of this corporation shall be PACIFICA FOUNDATION.
"... The architecture of public media has to be reimagined immediately or the millennials will build their own parallel universe separate from the public broadcasting universe their Boomer grandparents live in...."
Having lost its digital projects fund last year, CPB lacks the money to develop the American Archive much further, according to Mark Erstling, senior v.p. The next step is to find an outside institution to adopt and support creation of the proposed archive of public stations' historic audio, video and films.
That helps explain why professional archivist Matthew White left CPB Jan. 13 after two years as executive director. "It was very clear to him that things were going to change significantly," Erstling says, and White accepted an offer to lead a "significant" archiving project abroad. White could not be reached for comment. CPB declined Current's multiple requests for interviews with White over the previous two years.
Bill Moyers, in a speech to public TV program execs in Memphis Nov. 10 , compared today's public broadcasting system to the half-baked union of the nation's Articles of Confederation before the adoption of the U.S. Constitution." Forty years after the founding, our 'Articles of Confederation' aren't working all that well, either," he said and suggested that public broadcasters call the equivalent of a weeklong constitutional convention to begin a creative "rebirth" and start developing "a structure and scheme for the 2lst century." "Until we are able to say clearly and comprehensively what it is we really want to do, how much it will cost," funders won't wholeheartedly pitch in, he said. Since the second Carnegie Commission in the late 1970s, he said, "we haven't engaged in a full and frank examination of the system — the full nature of the process — top to bottom and with all the interested internal and external public and private parties participating."
I can’t tell you how glad I am to be here. Or maybe I can. Last Friday, after filming in Washington for our new series, I was waiting at Union Station for the train back to New York when a woman about my age approached me with a quizzical look on her face. She asked:
“Weren’t you Bill Moyers?”
“Once upon a time,” I answered. She said, “I’ll be darned . . .
The Public Broadcasting Service (“PBS”) is committed to serving the public interest by providing content of the highest quality that enriches the marketplace of ideas, unencumbered by commercial imperative. Throughout PBS’s history, four fundamental principles have guided that commitment. Editorial integrity: PBS content should embrace the highest commitment to excellence, professionalism, intellectual honesty and transparency. In its news and information content, accuracy should be the cornerstone. Quality: PBS content should be distinguished by professionalism, thoroughness, and a commitment to experimentation and innovation.