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What Would Happen If PBS Loses All Of Its Government Funding?

Would it be the end of PBS? Or would they just start airing commercials?

by Anonymousreply 5310/12/2012

It's only a matter of time for them anyway. The major networks are struggling to keep ad revenues and looking for other ways to keep afloat. Once the current generation of old people are gone, who will even be making contributions to PBS? Todays kids aren't going to be sending in checks at pledge drives... that in and of itself is an antique notion.

by Anonymousreply 110/10/2012

I just don't see what the big deal is about PBS. Yes, they were important when it was the only alternative to network, commercial TV, but the proliferation of niche cable stations has really made it unnecessary. The good shows won't go away; things like Sesame Street and Nova, etc, will just be picked up by cable channels.

by Anonymousreply 210/10/2012

PBS started to get beat down by Nixon.

I rarely watch most of it now as it seems to be mostly health shows that seem an awful lot like infomercials.

by Anonymousreply 310/10/2012

My local PBS station seems to never have anything interesting on. That 'kids trying out for Broadway' show didn't air here even though it aired everywhere else recently on PBS. It's just constant geezer fare like music from the 60's. Or it is Celtic/Irish/Folk music reruns. So fucking boring. Who cares if they go away for good? I'm already watching series 3 of Downton Abbey. It's available to download all over the net.

by Anonymousreply 410/10/2012

Most of their funding comes from corporate giving and local fund raising. The amount the government provides is relatively low (which is why they have those pesky fund raisers.)

by Anonymousreply 510/10/2012

What will kill public broadcasting is if the FCC takes away their stations, which is really what they've had a hard-on to do all along. Not so much broadcast TV, which is a dying medium since they forced HDTV down our gullets, but radio, which is still an essential tool in the right-wing propaganda arsenal.

by Anonymousreply 610/10/2012

They would ultimately go the way of the Learning Channel and show Honey Boo Boo.

by Anonymousreply 710/10/2012

Sometimes Frontline can be good.

Is that Bill Moyers show still on? That was good.

PBS and NPR are important to have some kind of alternative information (even though there is a lot of boring crap on PBS as R4 noted). They have been trying to kill them for years and are doing so bit by bit.

If they are gone, the US becomes even more right-wing and backward.

by Anonymousreply 810/10/2012

I would imagine a lot of local stations would convert to some other network. A lot of programming would be shut down.

I always thought that the purpose of PBS was to be free to citizens. That if you bought a tv, took it home and plugged it in, you would at least get PBS. If you wanted more (cable, pay per view, etc.) then you had to pay, but PBS was provided for free mostly to educate the poor. It's a noble cause, like a library. Do current tvs still have this function, just plug in and watch something? Or has that concept gone out with the rabbit ear antenna?

by Anonymousreply 910/10/2012

R2 is why I loathe so many Americans.

I just need to have this country divided between blue and red and if you subscribe to R2's mentality, go to a red state.

I'm even at a point where I wish the internet was separated so I wouldn't even know an R2 existed.

by Anonymousreply 1010/10/2012

PBS in theory is a good and necessary thing, but PBS in reality is increasingly irrelevant and it has been politicized and corporatized for years (thru foundation and corporate funding.)

Old queens like me (59) remember the days when PBS really told you things you'd never hear or learn about by listening or watching 'regular' TV or radio.

I think there's still a need for a public broadcasting outlet, but R6 pointed out the real agenda. There are radio/TV stations all over America that will come up for grabs if they kill PBS.

There are "advisory boards" for these agencies. Just for the hell of it, look to see who was on such boards during Bush's time and try to see when they expire. We have to work very hard to shovel away all the bullshit and find out what's really going on in our "democracy."

Always, always ask yourself "Who benefits?" when you hear Republicans propose anything. Never accept the obvious. Never. Look behind everything to see the who & why, the real not the smokescreen.

by Anonymousreply 1110/10/2012

See WNED, they interrupt many programs with requests for donations, also they became a bi-national TV station, now calling themselves WNED Buffalo/Toronto, pulling donor money from the (locally) much larger Canadian market.

by Anonymousreply 1210/10/2012

The Obama campaign has been told to stop using Big Bird in their television commercials.

Yep,PBS is worried about what will happen after the election.

by Anonymousreply 1310/10/2012

R2 here. I'm loathed? I haven't even had my coffee yet. Truth is, I'm probably one of the most liberal people on here. I'm crazy left. But the thing is, you just don't need PBS anymore. It's a relic of the day when there were no options on tv, other than the commercial networks. That world doesn't exist anymore, so tell me, those who loathe me, what need does PBS fill now that cable stations don't do better? Don't be a kneejerk asshole. THink about the options and what makes the most sense.

by Anonymousreply 1410/10/2012

No more EastEnders, sigh.

by Anonymousreply 1510/10/2012

'Yes, Minister' is the least funny show I've ever seen. Why is PBS running it? Or is it just my local station?

by Anonymousreply 1610/10/2012

PBS's days are numbered regardless of federal funding. Their brand was non-network programming, unfortunately, cable took over that brand and PBS has never been able to find a new niche.

Is anyone really itching to buy TV stations? Broadcast stations are going the way of the Walkman. It is much cheaper to operate a cable channel than maintain a network of TV stations

by Anonymousreply 1710/10/2012

Only old people pay for cable tv. I don't know anyone my age or younger who has cable and we do watch pbs and stream tv shows online.

by Anonymousreply 1810/10/2012

R2?! The point of PBS is that it's *free of charge* (and free of advertising). Cable *costs money.*

by Anonymousreply 1910/10/2012

Not all of us are willing to pay $150/month to wade through all the trash on cable.

Before PBS allowed corporate sponsorship to impact its programming content, it was the best source for news and other independent programming.

They now dedicate every other month to fundraising. Aside from seeing Lincoln Center filled with tuxedo-wearing Dick Cheney lookalikes singing Desperado, there's no watchable entertainment during those months.

by Anonymousreply 2010/10/2012

r18, and what are you going to do if the day comes when you can't afford internet service?

by Anonymousreply 2110/10/2012

I agree cable TV is a dated medium.

Use the internet and get anything, in real time, then stick a digital antenna up for 30 free channels.

Cable is for people who live in a bygone world and don't know of the other options for media.

by Anonymousreply 2210/10/2012

I'm ancient, but why is PBS now censored? Who's idea was this? The FCC or PBS itself? They bleep swear words and show little or no nudity anymore. Don't think they'd ever show Moll Flanders (1975) uncut or even Therese Raquin. Masterpiece these days is so tame compared to the 70s and 80s. It sucks.

by Anonymousreply 2310/10/2012

If they take away "Antiques Road Show", my DVR will basically have nothing to do.

by Anonymousreply 2410/10/2012

[quote]free of advertising

Made possible by Viking River Cruises!

by Anonymousreply 2510/10/2012

Does Helena Rubinstein still give?

by Anonymousreply 2610/10/2012

I watch it for the science/space shows which would probably be picked up by other networks. Surely Nova could survive on basic cable with commercials.

by Anonymousreply 2710/10/2012

Cable TV is the fax machine of the 21 century.

by Anonymousreply 2810/10/2012

I like PBS, or at least the memory of PBS, and support them regularly. Admittedly that support is more from force of past habit more than my current viewing habits.

Clearly it's on its way out, at least in its current method of funding, and I wonder if it wouldn't be better to gear up and yank the Band-aid off rather than to drag out the inevitable.

PBS has largely lost its unique position in terms of unique programming. It still wants to be what it was when there three commercial networks and PBS and maybe a handful of local UHF channels, and it clings to entertainment that's increasingly out-of-touch: Lawrence Welk-ian assisted living facility fare, and absurd hours-lomg infomercials to buy Suze Orman books or box sets of Rick Steves' European travelogues or The Three Tenors or Yanni at the Acropolis...

PBS relies on on aging audience who remember when the network was an alternative, when "without commercial interruption" was unique. In offering [bold]new[/bold] U.K. and non-U.S. series and documentaries and films, it's now outdone in programming by HBO and Audience and IFC and Sundance and others (though if it's 40-year-old episodes of "Are Your Being Served?" that never tire of, by all means send them some money.)

The idea that poor people sit in front of their little black-&-white TV sets waiting for the next Ken Burns series unable to afford to watch anything else is completely antiquated.

It wants to be all things to all people and as a result doesn't always aim high enough. Moreover, in a time of niche programming, it gets increasingly lost because it's neither fish nor fowl: it's a "go-to" channel for fewer and fewer people, rather it's something to stumble upon now and again.

I wish the best of PBS could be strengthened and developed into a viable HBO-style subscription and/or corporate sponsored channel, offering a mix of original and unusual fare, but my idea of what PBS does best is (understandably) not always aligned with what they they want to put forward, and they are too stuck in doing as they have done to develop into something better.

by Anonymousreply 2910/10/2012

[quote]If they take away "Antiques Road Show", my DVR will basically have nothing to do.

Do they still make that show? The last ones that were labeled "new" were many years old. All they did was update the valuations given for items to today's lower values. BFD.

by Anonymousreply 3010/10/2012

So what is PBS, exactly? It's a non-profit consortium owned by its 354 member stations, and it is a national treasure. Why are the Republicans hell-bent on destroying this recipient of a miniscule amount of the federal budget? It's very much a part of their dumbing down of America, removing us from our own culture and memories, and killing yet another source of truth-telling in favor of Fox and CNN.

Look at what happened on the commercial side of this kind of programming. Exactly what does A&E, TLC and Discovery actually show that's true to their original missions of providing uplifting educational and cultural content? Honey Boo Boo? Fact is, profit-driven cable programming is shit for a reason.

Some of you lunkheads want to see PBS fail...really? Those local stations you envision going away have great market value to religious ministries, for instance. By God, let's have AFA pay top dollar for their rotting husks...Bryan Fischer wants 'em bad, so he can further control his braindead minions who would like to destroy you. Yea, that's JUST what you want!

by Anonymousreply 3110/10/2012

R21, I'll read books printed on paper. Fuck ereaders, the illiterates who love them and absolutely fuck licensing the right to download a file.

by Anonymousreply 3210/10/2012

R32 is really a miserable old asshole.

by Anonymousreply 3310/10/2012

R33 can't read or follow this thread, clearly.

by Anonymousreply 3410/10/2012

It would be simply


which is what the Republicans want.

by Anonymousreply 3510/10/2012

PBS provides television for children and folk over 50 which is not so bad in itself since the other networks only care for viewers 18-49.

by Anonymousreply 3610/10/2012

If PBS loses government funding, they can borrow from NPR.

by Anonymousreply 3710/11/2012

NPR is where it's at.

by Anonymousreply 3810/11/2012

Nothing. They have tons of money for donations, but they are wasteful with their money because they can be.

by Anonymousreply 3910/11/2012

Big Bird would be plucked!

by Anonymousreply 4010/12/2012

There was a time when networks like A&E, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and the Learning Channel were giving PBS a run for its money. Unfortunately, those channels now seek the lowest-common denominator by running mostly dumb reality shows. On the other hand, you can rely on PBS to give us quality programs.

by Anonymousreply 4110/12/2012

Frontline just ran a program analyzing the backgrounds of Obama and Romney. I trust their show a lot more than a news show on a commercial network. Really, now that we have some idea of how fucked our country is by corporate media, now you want to cut PBS' funding?

by Anonymousreply 4210/12/2012

I spent twenty years in commercial broadcast television. I recall very well a time when public TV and radio was an alternative to commercial television offering programming which we (commerical) could not offer. NOVA and Dr Who come to mind immediatly. Now there is a market for these shows. People including advertisers will pay for science and "Discovery" programming (and it is some of the most widely seen programming on cable now) and don't even get me started on Dr Who.

My point being that tax dollars could keep being spent on this or they could be diverted to something that isn't being "sold" for a fair price.

by Anonymousreply 4310/12/2012

"No more EastEnders, sigh."

I stopped watching Eastenders when one of my local PBS stations, Channel 31, became PAX. Then "Eastenders" was aired on PBS' Channel 21, but they started screwing with the night it would be aired.

Last I heard it was moved to Weds on Channel 21. My mom was a huge fan and even she couldn't deal with the bouncing schedule changes.

Years ago, BBC America had the more recent "Eastenders" shows on for about a year, then they abruptly took it off. No explanation, nothing, they simply stopped showing it.

As far as A&E, yes, they were the cable equivalent of PBS, they were considered a 'cultural' TV channel. They had many Masterpiece Theater type shows, now it's all reality show trash.

If anyone thinks we don't need PBS or a cultural TV channel, look at the trash which has now permeated cable TV! Nearly every cable channel airs a reality TV show, from tattoo reality shows to hair salon reality shows,enough is enough. People are lazy, if you don't like this trash, complain, otherwise there will be more reality shows in 2013!

The only cable station which airs the types of shows which PBS aired at the height of it's popularity is OVATION, but not all the cable systems air this channel. OVATION used to be a 24 hour cable station, but now it's been airing infomercials late night.

When OVATION is on, the shows are great, documentaries about artists, wonderful obscure movies and just recently a series on Johnny Cash. They did take Jools Holland's "Later" off, it was on every night, but his show is now on Palladia, the music channel. Palladia is basically what MTV used to be, minus the annoying VJs.

With Sundance and IFC now airing commercials, you do have to wonder what is going on with cable TV and it seems it's only going to get worse.

by Anonymousreply 4410/12/2012

Years ago, the big draw with becoming a cable subscriber was the lack of commercials on the non-network stations, but they all now air annoying commercials.

TRIO was another wonderful cultural TV channel, it went off years ago.

Other channels such as Fear.Net, which was a free thriller movie channel, as well as Encore, another free movie channel, are now premium channels in the Time Warner line up.

We continue to be screwed over by corporate America.

Then only reason I keep cable is because my co-op signs four year locked-in-rate deals with Time Warner, otherwise, I wouldn't have it.

by Anonymousreply 4510/12/2012

[quote] Unfortunately, those channels now seek the lowest-common denominator by running mostly dumb reality shows.

The 'quality' programming was not bringing in the ratings. Those reality shows are.

It is about appealing to the broadest audience possible.

Cause at the end of the day, it is all about the bottom line.

by Anonymousreply 4610/12/2012

I just love all the folks who make smartassed remarks about the "elderly" and "old" who don't get all their media from online sources.

What are they going to do when/if the government decides to restrict bandwidth, censor or shut down the internet, or make it so expensive that only the wealthy can afford it?

The "young" can be so foolish.

by Anonymousreply 4710/12/2012

I grew up with PBS, esp local programming by WGBH in Boston. Julia Child, Maggie Littvin, that exercise/yoga woman, Thalassa Crusoe in the garden, and of course Zoom. It really was great programming. When i watch the old episodes now I'm amazed how well they hold up.

PBS and NPR have had too much pressure from the right, and it's very troubling. The Frontline show on 9/11 was especially craven; they sidestepped all the critical issues.

by Anonymousreply 4810/12/2012

R9, R20, R29. - really funny. I still watch PBS. Next to the BBC, NPR, and Al. Jazeera - PBS has the balanced reporting that I trust.

My favorite television program is "American Experience" . If you want lust, greed, fame-whoring, action, great gossip, and good old fashioned sin watch American History unfold.

And PBS is the home of Ernie and Bert and Mr. Hooper and Oscar. And " Hey You Guys !". Also the first place I was exposed to great literature. And opera and science.

But it should go commerical to a greater degree. It is really a win-win marriage .PBS brings clout and the companys keep them a float .

Our country has to decide what type of sponsorship the government should have toward culture in this country. Like health care - is that the government's responsibility to the nation?

by Anonymousreply 4910/12/2012

[quote]If anyone thinks we don't need PBS or a cultural TV channel,

My local PBS station must be different from most of yours. I would not call music of the 50's and 60's, celtic women screeching awful songs, ancient folk singers from the 60's and The New Red Green Show the height of culture.

by Anonymousreply 5010/12/2012

"My local PBS station must be different from most of yours. I would not call music of the 50's and 60's, celtic women screeching awful songs, ancient folk singers from the 60's and The New Red Green Show the height of culture."

I was talking about the PBS of my youth: the original "Upstairs, Downstairs" and other great Masterpiece Theater series, the wonderful foreign films (Fellini, Truffaut etc) you could only see on PBS, the documentaries about all types of musicians and artists (I heard about avant garde artists such as Nam June Paik on PBS), the original reality show "An American Family"(with the first gay man on a weekly series, the late Lance Loud) and other types of shows you couldn't find anywhere else. PBS was the place for cutting edge viewing, they also showed films uncut, which meant nudity, which was unheard of on network TV.

The type of shows they air now, the ones you've listed, must be due to their lack of contributions from viewers, though PBS appears to have a huge hit with "Downton Abbey".

by Anonymousreply 5110/12/2012

R47, exactly! Do they really think the internet, other than for shopping, will continue as it has or even expand more? If you look at what is ging on in Washington, the groundwork is already being set for substantial limits.

by Anonymousreply 5210/12/2012

[quote] Yes, they were important when it was the only alternative to network, commercial TV, but the proliferation of niche cable stations has really made it unnecessary.

You mean those cable stations that bring us crap like Honey Boo Boo and the Kraptrashians? THAT is what happens to programming when educational television is produced for a profit.

So, no. There will be no more Sesame Street or other QUALITY, true educational programming.

by Anonymousreply 5310/12/2012
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