Pubcasting finds itself put ‘in play’ — briefly

When public broadcasters awoke on Jan. 23 [1995], they saw the headlines and their heads started spinning. Newspapers reported that Bell Atlantic [later renamed Verizon] was interested in a partnership with CPB “that would have the Baby Bell step into the funding role now played by the federal government,” as the Wall Street Journal put it. That news came from Sen. Larry Pressler who revealed on CBS’s Face the Nation that the company and other telecom firms were interested in buying or partnering with public broadcasting after Congress privatizes it. To people who thought they understood media economics, it made no sense.