Lack of vision hinders bringing in new pubTV viewers, experts tell paper

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Crain’s Chicago Business today (June 21) takes a look into both WTTW’s current money woes and pubTV’s future plans. The Chicago PBS affiliate endured recent staff reductions of 12 percent. Viewership has fallen almost every year since 2005, the paper says. Member, sponsor and government revenues are all down. “The Chicago PBS outlet faces a more fundamental problem, however: attracting viewers in a digital era that’s bombarding them with options,” the paper notes. Lawrence Grossman, PBS president from 1976 to ’84 and now on the Connecticut PBS network board, provided big-picture analysis, saying that pubTV “is not going to survive unless it reevaluates where it’s going.” Former WTTW producer Frank Liebert commented, “Many of the stations in the system have chief executives who’ve been there way too long, and often that lack of vision is a significant problem to the PBS station’s survival.”

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