Summary of Recommendations, July 1993
These are the recommendations of the Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on Public Television, released in the July 1993 report Quality Time? The complete 188-page paperback, including a background paper by Richard Somerset-Ward, published by the Twentieth Century Fund Press, is available for $9.95 through the Brookings Institution (1-800-275-1447). See also Current coverage, Aug. 9, 1993, and list of members. On mission
The mission of public television should be the enrichment and strengthening of American society and culture through high-quality programming that reflects and advances our basic values.
A ground-floor chance to secure channel space on direct broadcast satellites is opening up for noncommercial organizations that have the wherewithal to deliver educational or informational public-service programming. DirecTV, the largest DBS system, has set a Sept. 1  application deadline for prospective programmers to be considered in its initial selection of new channels. PBS, Internews, and Free Speech TV are among the nonprofits vying for the space. DBS services–a once-crowded field of competitors that has merged down to two major players–are under orders from the Federal Communications Commission to allocate 4 percent of their video channel capacity for noncommercial educational programming.
To continue receiving CPB aid, public stations must now certify that they don’t exchange member or donor names with political groups, or sell names to them, or buy names from them. “Our goal is to restore the public’s trust in the work public broadcasting does every day,” said CPB President Bob Coonrod. The new grant rule, issued July 30 , responds to congressional condemnations of the mailing list dealings that apparently involved dozens of public TV and radio stations in recent years. A CPB survey of the 75 largest public TV stations found that 26 had exchanged member or donor lists with political groups and 33 had rented lists from political groups, Coonrod told Congress the week before. Current found that the major stations in the 10 top markets all said they had dealt in swapped or rented lists, though some did it quite infrequently [related story].