Field guide to CPB’s conflicting mandates

When Congress adopted the Public Broadcasting Act 40 years go, it put its contribution to public TV and radio into the hands of the nonprofit Corporation for Public Broadcasting with a structural characteristic and two mandates that have caused conflict and inertia ever since. The law has the President nominate the CPB Board and the Senate confirm the CPB Board. Rather than keeping political appointees off the board, it splits them almost equally. The majority are chosen by the White House from its own party and the minority of board members named, in practice, by Senate leaders of the other party. The appointment has become a mid-level plum for political appointees.

Wilbur Mills to LBJ: ‘We ain’t gonna give money to folks without some strings attached’

Congress doesn’t work that way, said Wilbur Mills, the formidable chair of the House Ways and Means Committee in the late 1960s. Bill Moyers, then a young aide to President Johnson, recalled the upshot of the Public Broadcasting Act: Congress created CPB but left it without a dedicated revenue source, destined to lobby unceasingly for annual appropriations. This account is excerpted from Moyers’ speech to the PBS Showcase Conference in May 2006. (The full text of the speech is also on this site.)
… When he signed it, the President said that the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 “announces to the world that our nation wants more than just material wealth; our nation wants more than ‘a chicken in every pot.’ We in America have an appetite for excellence, too….

The Hidden Medium: A Status Report on Educational Radio in the United States, 1967

With support building for federal aid to public TV, the advocates of public radio found they had to act quickly to make their case. National Educational Radio, a division of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, hired Herman W. Land Associates to study the field and its potential. The resulting book, The Hidden Medium: A Status Report on Educational Radio in the United States, was published in April 1967. Overview and Summary
The oldest of the electronic media, going back in service to experimental beginnings as station 9xm in the year 1919, educational radio, almost a half century later, remains virtually unknown as a communications force in its own right. Overshadowed first by commercial radio, then by television, it has suffered long neglect arising from disinterest and apathy among the educational administrators who control much of its fortunes.