CPB board mulls getting information more directly to public

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The CPB Board, meeting at headquarters in Washington, D.C., today pondered an intriguing concept: Using advertising, or even scrolling information at the bottom of commercial TV news broadcasts, to bring more attention to the important work being done by pubcasting. In a conversation sparked by talk of the new CPB-funded fluportal.org, several members commented on the need to get that H1N1 resource directly to the public, not relying entirely on local stations to push it out to local viewers. CPB is “continually frustrated” by the public not knowing how connected it is to communities, said CPB head Pat Harrison. “We need to take a look at what we can and can’t do, and how much money it would require.” Is it possible for the flu portal address to be included in a scroll beneath, say, newscasts on MSNBC, FOX or CNN? Or advertising directing consumers to the portal on commercial networks? Billboards, or ads in airports? But then there’s the sensitive issue of tax money being used to buy advertising. But as outgoing Board Chair Chris Boskin noted, “Taxpayer money is paying for this information, which is important to taxpayers.” Member David Pryor discussed approaching billboard companies for free ads as a public service. Harrison suggested the board explore the advertising issue for both the flu portal as well as the systemwide economic outreach initiative that grew out of the mortgage crisis project (Current, July 14, 2008).

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