Amanda Hirsch asks if the “value proposition” for public media is different today from what it was in the 1960s, and if tax dollars are essential in support of noncommercial media (Current, Oct. 22). I was there in the 1960s, making the case along with a great number of others who believed in the “educational broadcasting” that was at that point the core of our movement. The notion of federal funding came only after all other options had been declared politically or financially impossible. Many of us continue to worry that in our treasured democracy public money in support of any mass medium is precarious at best and downright dangerous at worst.
There are now enough public radio stations to reach more than 90 percent of the American public, and pubcasters have adding specialized stations to increase listening options in areas where pubradio already exists. So it's rare that all-new stations arise, especially in the East, or can afford to get going with sparse populations. An exception: the twin stations of Cape & Islands Public Radio, WCAI on Cape Cod, Mass., and WNAN on Nantucket Island. Founder Jay Allison, a nationally prominent independent radio producer, surveyed colleagues nationwide for advice on the stations' sound. A selection of the responses:
It was raining in Baltimore Sept. 23 when independent producer Jay Allison delivered his “benediction,” the traditional closing speech of the Public Radio Program Directors annual conference. The bleary, conferenced-out audience listened closely. Allison, who learned the nonfiction radio craft when NPR was a startup and went on to start up a few radio institutions himself, reminded attendees why perseverance matters. They gave Allison a standing ovation before dispersing under the dark sky.
See also Current coverage. Alabama network's mission statement before the Alabama Educational Television Commission revised it June 12, 2012
Alabama Public Television Mission, Vision, Values, and Diversity Statement
Each of us is born with a natural desire to learn. We seek to explore our world and to understand life and the people around us. Alabama Public Television is a center of discovery for people of all ages. We motivate children to learn, empower students and teachers to succeed, and provide a lifelong path to knowledge.
47 USC § 396, or U.S. Code, Title 47, Chapter 5, Subchapter III, Part IV, subpart d, § 396
This compilation of federal law was posted freely by the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School. See LII for the latest preliminary (subject to revision) and final versions. (a) Congressional declaration of policy
The Congress hereby finds and declares that—
(1) it is in the public interest to encourage the growth and development of public radio and television broadcasting, including the use of such media for instructional, educational, and cultural purposes;
(2) it is in the public interest to encourage the growth and development of nonbroadcast telecommunications technologies for the delivery of public telecommunications services;
(3) expansion and development of public telecommunications and of diversity of its programming depend on freedom, imagination, and initiative on both local and national levels;
(4) the encouragement and support of public telecommunications, while matters of importance for private and local development, are also of appropriate and important concern to the Federal Government;
(5) it furthers the general welfare to encourage public telecommunications services which will be responsive to the interests of people both in particular localities and throughout the United States, which will constitute an expression of diversity and excellence, and which will constitute a source of alternative telecommunications services for all the citizens of the Nation;
(6) it is in the public interest to encourage the development of programming that involves creative risks and that addresses the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, particularly children and minorities;
(7) it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to complement, assist, and support a national policy that will most effectively make public telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States;
(8) public television and radio stations and public telecommunications services constitute valuable local community resources for utilizing electronic media to address national concerns and solve local problems through community programs and outreach programs;
(9) it is in the public interest for the Federal Government to ensure that all citizens of the United States have access to public telecommunications services through all appropriate available telecommunications distribution technologies; and
(10) a private corporation should be created to facilitate the development of public telecommunications and to afford maximum protection from extraneous interference and control. (b) Establishment of Corporation; application of District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act
There is authorized to be established a nonprofit corporation, to be known as the “Corporation for Public Broadcasting”, which will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government. The Corporation shall be subject to the provisions of this section, and, to the extent consistent with this section, to the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act.
Third Draft Recommendations of Core Working Group, October 1997
In the process of founding the Forum, this was the Core Working Group's final draft, released Oct. 14, 1997, before the Convention of Stations, Nov. 5, where the Forum was voted into existence. Our Goal
Our goal is to change the way station CEOs communicate, think and interact with one another on issues and opportunities that affect all licensees. Thus, our intent is to create a framework and process that enables public television senior executives to discuss and address critical opportunities and issues — and make collective decisions when necessary.
Second Draft Recommendations of Core Working Group, September 1997
In the process of creating the Forum, public TV's Core Working Group circulated this draft to its Circle of Advisors on Sept. 5, 1997. After revisions, the group circulated a third draft, Oct. 13. To the Circle of Advisors:
We thank you for your thoughtful and timely feedback to our August 4th draft proposal and survey.
Phase II: The Search for Paradigms
Five months before public TV stations voted the Forum into being, this paper was prepared by their facilitators, the consulting firm BMR Associates. Released June 17, 1997. I. Introduction
During Phase II of Countdown '97, BMR Associates studied approximately 20 different organizations. The goal of the research was to discover whether other organizations — similar in structure to public television — had established frameworks and processes that enabled them to make decisions and work together in a coordinated manner. In identifying organizations to explore, BMR focused on organizations that met the following criteria:
The organization consisted of autonomous units, locally owned and operated.
Phase I: Overview of Conclusions and Their Implications
Early in the year-long process of founding the Forum, the facilitating consultants, BMR Associates, prepared this summary of findings, released in October 1996. The goal of Phase I was to lay the foundation for Countdown '97" as described in our project proposal. Phase I consisted of 49 interviews with public broadcasting industry leaders and managers, plus two facilitated workshops and two focus groups. As defined in the RFP, the project included all of public broadcasting. However, midway through Phase I we determined that we should focus our efforts on public television because public radio did not exhibit the same level of need for changes in governance and organization.