With projects on hold, PBS hunts spendable cash, tweaks primetime schedule

Don’t tell the county fire marshal, but the president of PBS keeps working while her staff evacuates the building in deference to a fire alarm. Kerger travels, meets future donors, smiles dazzlingly at galas, and works some more with the determination of a distance runner, which she is.Here she tells readers:

PBS will propose hot-switching station breaks to help build audience flow, though the new practice would make it hard for stations to slide programs around the schedule,
The network needs to raise immediately spendable money, though she wants it to start accumulating an endowment,
Why PBS didn’t promise Bill Moyers a slot on Friday night in particular. Kerger spoke with Current editors in her conference room at PBS headquarters in Arlington, Va. The transcript is edited. Current: The proposed PBS budget for next year makes a point of concentrating attention on primetime.

‘What we try to do . . . is say something new’

“The best of American television can be traced to this one man,” said NovaExecutive Producer Paula Apsell, referring to her boss and the latest winner of CPB’s annual Ralph Lowell Award — Peter S. McGhee, who retires this month as v.p. of national production at WGBH, Boston. McGhee accepted the medal at the PBS Annual Meeting in June as recognition “of my work, and of your work, of all our work,” he said in acceptance remarks. He has overseen and in many cases launched some of public TV’s most ambitious documentaries as well as enduringly popular entertainments — no less than a third of the PBS schedule.He worked in public TV nearly four decades, since four years after earning his master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University. McGhee joined National Educational Television, New York City, in 1964 and moved to WGBH in 1969, becoming manager of its national production effort in 1975. Since then he has helped build on the earlier successes of Nova and Masterpiece Theatre while launching Frontline, American Experience, Antiques Roadshow and numerous landmark limited series.

Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on Public Broadcasting

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 and list of task force members, Aug. 9, 1993. 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.

The Public Radio Study, 1969

This study — partially funded by CPB and the Ford Foundation during CPB’s first year and released in April 1969 — recommended creation of a public radio network and a national production center (a year before the founding of NPR), restructuring of the noncommercial FM band, and formation of a radio division at CPB to look out for public radio’s interests. The study was headed by Samuel C.O. Holt, who later served as programming chief at NPR. Holt’s recommendations are here. Summary
The Public Radio Study was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Ford Foundation at an important time for the medium. We have tried to gain a feeling for noncommercial educational radio and its problems, to get from the station managers and others who work in the medium something of their attitudes toward their field and its future, and to make recommendations to meet some of the problems we encountered in our field work.