Show me a better deal than public TV

Two years after the CPB funding crisis began to subside, public TV’s assigned public-policy representative, the president of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), was giving variations on this stump speech at meetings of pubcasters. This is an edited version of David Brugger’s remarks to the FirstView instructional TV screening conference in August 1998. One of the important revelations to station professionals and lay volunteers during our last Capitol Hill Day was that their members of Congress often fed back the message they had heard from the more than 85 percent of their constituents in your home towns who said they wanted continued or increased federal funding — this, in many cases, from members of Congress who had been ardent opponents of federal funding just 18 months before. Last summer’s Roper survey showed that Americans see public radio and public television as their second- and third-best values in return for tax dollars spent. This is even higher than during the 1995 funding crisis when we were No.

Slain in a broadcast underground

Michael Taylor believed in second chances — he was living proof that they come along. Before the early 1990s, the Los Angeles resident had been an addict, a dealer, eventually homeless. But one day he decided to turn his life around, and achieved the miracle — sobered up, straightened out and found his legitimate passions: community activism and radio. He became a reporter and later an occasional host of public affairs programming on Pacifica station KPFK. So he was a felt presence among Los Angeles’ South-Central community of leftists and grassroots organizers at the time of his cold-blooded murder over nothing more than a low-power radio transmitter, in April 1996.

Pubcasting on the Web, three years later

PBS Online is celebrating its third anniversary this week with a doubled
staff, an expanded mission, an upgraded teachers’ service that opens next
month, and a much faster connection with the Internet, to be turned on this
month. In the three years since PBS launched its site, the Web has grown to 39
million users a week in this country, with online ad sales approaching $1
billion. During the same period, public broadcasting’s largest web site,
PBS’s, has built an audience of more than 2 million unique visitors a month,
who choose among some 50,000 pages. Things have moved so fast, says PBS Online
chief Cindy Johanson, “it seems like it was 10 years ago, not three.” PBS expanded its Internet connection by one-third last February, and demand
soon had it hitting the ceiling again.