Public broadcasting is as American as apple pie

Fifty years ago, on Nov. 7, 1967, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act, creating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and local Democrats are calling for support of the Great Society program as knowledge and reason remain essential to human survival.

The law that established PBS and NPR as the national distribution networks for public television and radio, transformed our national media landscape and today, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting supports nearly 1,500 local public radio and television stations. 

Sesame Street was created to provide early access to education for all children, which is as vital now as ever,” said Jennifer A. Perry, Sesame Workshop’s vice president. “PBS has made our program available to all Americans for almost 50 years, playing a vital role in helping the most vulnerable kids get access to quality preschool education.”

Today, Sesame Street reaches children in 150 countries and each month, more than 95 million people watch their local PBS stations.

The first show broadcast on NPR was All Things Considered, which made its debut on May 3, 1971, and more than 37 million people listen to NPR each month.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides federal dollars to approximately 1,500 TV and radio stations.

Federal funding provides $445 million that ensures that public media serves rural, small town and urban communities alike, and makes possible stations’ service in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions.

“For 50 years, public media has served as an important part of our country’s knowledge infrastructure—trusted, valued and depended upon by the American people,” said Patricia Harrison, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Only through the federal appropriation can public media serve every American wherever they live, whatever their economic circumstance, free of charge and commercial free.”

With partisan attacks on journalism growing more frequent, public media is at risk.


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