Speaking at The Media Institute today, Patrick Butler, president of the Association of Public Television Stations, reiterated his opposition to defunding public media at the federal level, recently pushed in letters by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Sen. James DeMint (R-S.C.). Butler also reached out to commercial media executives, and suggested ways public broadcasters could consolidate without sacrificing the quality of their product, according to John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable.
The Media Institute is a nonprofit First Amendment think tank (based near Washington, D.C. in Arlington, Va.) supported by major media companies, foundations, associations and individuals. Many commercial media execs were in attendance for Butler’s speech, Eggerton said.
According to Eggerton, commercial and noncommercial media alike share the same pressure to give up spectrum for wireless broadband. Butler pointed out that both have to be more efficient and effective with the spectrum that they have in order to preserve it.
On consolidation: “We’re trying to do this work [entertain and educate] more efficiently,” Butler said. “We are pursuing such initiatives as joint master control rooms, consolidated back-office operations, channel sharing, spectrum leasing, fee-for-service data and content management, and other innovations that may help us improve our service without increasing our costs.”
On the value of public broadcasting: “[We are] the civilizing force in American society, the preserver of the national memory, the greatest classroom, the grandest stage, the community center and the champion of good citizenship…Oscar Wilde once said that America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between. This is manifestly untrue, but it is important that we never sacrifice civilization for commercialization,” said Butler.