Public Broadcasting

October 29, 1999 • Volume 9, Issue 41
Should the government subsidies continue?
By Adriel Bettelheim


The long-runing “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” is among public broadcasting's most popular shows. (Photo Credit: Walt Seng, PBS)
The long-runing “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” is among public broadcasting's most popular shows. (Photo Credit: Walt Seng, PBS)

Revelations last summer that PBS stations exchanged donor lists with Democratic political organizations triggered a new round of debate over public broadcasting. Critics question whether the Corporation for Public Broadcasting should continue to receive government subsidies when member stations receive hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate underwriting and millions more from pledge weeks and sales of books and videos. Some also question whether PBS has “sold out” its original mission of alternative programming by broadcasting more innocuous fare that attracts big corporate sponsors. Public broadcasters staunchly defend the subsidies and their programming, saying they provide a unique and valuable service in an era of multi-channel cable systems and increasingly questionable commercial TV offerings.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 19, 2021  Hollywood and COVID-19
Apr. 11, 2014  Future of TV
Nov. 09, 2012  Indecency on Television
Aug. 27, 2010  Reality TV
Jun. 20, 2008  Transition to Digital TV
Feb. 16, 2007  Television's Future
Mar. 18, 2005  Celebrity Culture
Oct. 29, 1999  Public Broadcasting
Aug. 15, 1997  Children's Television
Dec. 23, 1994  The Future of Television
Mar. 26, 1993  TV Violence
Sep. 18, 1992  Public Broadcasting
Oct. 04, 1991  Pay-Per-View
Feb. 17, 1989  A High-Tech, High-Stakes HDTV Gamble
Dec. 27, 1985  Cable Television Coming of Age
Sep. 07, 1984  New Era in TV Sports
Sep. 24, 1982  Cable TV's Future
Apr. 24, 1981  Public Broadcasting's Uncertain Future
May 09, 1980  Television in the Eighties
Oct. 25, 1972  Public Broadcasting in Britain and America
Mar. 26, 1971  Video Revolution: Cassettes and Recorders
Sep. 09, 1970  Cable Television: The Coming Medium
May 15, 1968  Television and Politics
Mar. 01, 1967  Financing of Educational TV
Dec. 16, 1964  Community Antenna Television
Oct. 21, 1964  Sports on Television
Feb. 28, 1962  Expansion of Educational Television
Aug. 28, 1957  Television in the Schools
Jan. 18, 1957  Movie-TV Competition
Sep. 06, 1955  Television and the 1956 Campaign
May 18, 1954  Educational Television
Sep. 03, 1953  Changing Fortunes of the Movie Business
Apr. 20, 1953  Televising Congress
May 31, 1951  Television in Education
Jan. 26, 1949  Television Boom
Jul. 12, 1944  Television
Libraries and Educational Media
Regulation and Legal Issues