The Declaration of Interdependence, 2001

Facing the first major station struggle of her 16 months as PBS president — over the perennial public TV issue of common carriage — Pat Mitchell introduced a “Declaration of Interdependence” at the network’s annual meeting June 14, 2001. The document summarizes major public TV objectives, gives a deep bow to stations’ local role and refers to a recent refinement: the aim to build “social capital” in American communities. See also Current coverage of the 2001 meeting. There comes a time in the history of public television, when the people we serve demand of us something more;

Because, they hold these truths to be self-evident:

Americans are first and foremost citizens, not consumers. Americans have an unalienable right to free access to content that challenges their minds, lifts their spirits, and stirs their souls.

Rumors rampant as Ottenhoff steps down

Chief Operating Officer Bob Ottenhoff is leaving the No. 2 position at PBS after eight years working for Ervin Duggan and the previous president, Bruce Christensen.

News of the change, already circulating in heavy rotation at the PBS Annual Meeting when Duggan announced it during the June 6 opening session, mystified station executives and even some PBS Board members. It added a new story element to what one former board member called “a range of colossally uninformed mispeculation” that Duggan was either (a) confidently moving ahead, (b) soon to lose his own job, or (c) both. High-ranking board members said nothing. Beth Wolfe, PBS’s chief financial officer since 1988, will take oversight of Ottenhoff’s departments, with the new title of chief administrative officer.