Financing of Educational TV

March 1, 1967

Report Outline
Proposals for Expanding ETV Resources
Development of Educational Television
Potentialities of Television in Schools

Proposals for Expanding ETV Resources

Educational television, sometimes highly praised but never adequately supported, may soon receive the financial resources it needs to fulfill its promise. In recent months, the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television have offered detailed plans to provide a large, steady source of income for an expanded educational TV system. President Johnson, in his January 10 State of the Union message to Congress, said that “We must develop educational television into a vital public resource to enrich our homes, educate our families and to provide assistance in our classrooms.” The President added that he would propose legislation to increase federal support of educational TV.

Educational television has lived from hand to mouth since its inception 15 years ago. Cincinnati's WCET, the first licensed non-commercial television station in the country, was nearly forced to stop broadcasting when city voters rejected a public school levy last November. The station was saved only by an emergency $50,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. WGSF in Newark, Ohio, with a budget of $40,000 a year, was only recently able to buy a television camera of its own. Of the 124 educational television stations in operation at the end of 1966, only about one-third had enough money to broadcast on weekends.

Report of Carnegie Commission on ‘Public TV’

The report of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television, made public last Jan. 25, is expected to form the basis of the proposals for ETV legislation that President Johnson will submit to Congress. James Reston likened the report to the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the system of land-grant colleges. “What the Carnegie Commission is saying,” Reston wrote in the New York Times, Jan. 25, “is really a modern version of what Rep. Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont was saying at the University of Illinois over a hundred years ago: A nation that acts by the will and judgment of the people must make available to the people the knowledge and spirit of the civilization they are expected to sustain and develop.”

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