Do We Need PBS And NPR?

24 02 2008

You betcha we do.

In an editorial in the New York Times last week, this question was posed as the current White House Administration goes for the eighth year running to cut in half the funding for the two traditional entities.

This has been a running problem for PBS and NPR affiliates around the country and as a whole, and there isn’t any doubt that we are going to see some fundraising efforts that have ultimately saved both the television and radio networks.

PBS is now competing in a market of hundreds and hundreds of cable networks who have specialized in niches of programming. There isn’t any doubt that PBS has an uphill battle in competing with, let’s say, Discovery. But on the other hand, PBS’ distinctive voice represents not only tradition but a level-head. NPR’s audience has grown incidentally.

And the, “it’s so liberal” argument doesn’t work anymore:

In public television especially it used to be axiomatic that attacks on the budget were retaliation for perceived liberal bias. Newt Gingrich was quite upfront about punishing PBS when he began his budgetary onslaught back in 1995. By now, though, that war ought to be over. These days the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is run by Republicans, and a few years ago, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who was chairman of its board, wasn’t the least bit shy about trying to arm-wrestle stations into running a program whose host was Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Unless you count occasional outbursts of hand-wringing earnestness on the part of Bill Moyers or David Brancaccio on “Now,” it’s hard now to see anything resembling liberal excess on PBS, if there ever was such a thing.

I love me some Bill Moyer hand-wringing earnestness, but I digress.

As for NPR, we lost our affiliate about two years ago here in northwest Tennessee and it’s now a Contemporary Christian station that I believe is also satellite based. I can now only pick NPR if the sun is in the right position and the winds are blowing in from Bakersfield, if I’m lucky, out of Senatobia/Memphis.

NPR grows and still has a wonderful vibrant and calm voice in a sea of satellite radio. As for PBS, our local station offers local programming and allows us a window to the world outside of our rural community which is more than just being another television station.

It’s a part of us.

PBS has taken some hits, there isn’t any doubt. But less money isn’t going to help, campers. And watchers and listeners do their part in raising funds.

And although the editorial doesn’t mention it, the children’s programming in invaluable.

So, do we need PBS and NPR.

Yes. Yes we do.

It’s something to think about.

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7 responses

24 02 2008
LeBlanc

Without PBS where else can I watch “Are You Being Served?” or “Keeping Up Appearances”?

24 02 2008
holly

Um, hello…Sesame Street?

That’s all I got to say about that.

24 02 2008
Don Jones

PBS-NPR,The most trusted news in radio and television ! I listen to many news programs. But, if I want the real story and want to hear both sides…it PBS and NPR.

24 02 2008
Glen Dean

No, no we don’t. But it really doesn’t matter that much. The majority of their funding comes from private donations and they do have some good programming. Not really worth fighting about. Bigger fish to fry.

24 02 2008
newscoma

Glen, I knew you’d say that. 🙂
Actually, we do. The PBS affiliate in our community is a viable piece of northwest Tennessee. It’s the only television station in northwest Tennessee. It does a ton of philanthropy work and it’s vibrant for us on a variety of levels and we do what we can locally to keep it going. In our economically depressed community, it gives us a great deal.
Just another point of view …
We agree though that they have really good programming.

25 02 2008
cravensworld

Where else but NPR can you hear Jazz on sunday afternoons. Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, Opera at the Met, World Beat, the BBC. I miss those things. Now we are in a Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey void with no hope of rescue. Nothing on the radio except classic rock, oldies, country and of course the Christian stations. As for PBS, I grew up on it. Hello, Wild America, Nova, Austin City Limits.

25 02 2008
Michael

We need PBS to continue if only to show new generations Dr Who…:)

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