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View Diary: The Chronicles of Mitt: Oct 5, 2012 (45 comments)

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  •  CORPORATION for public broadcasting (1+ / 0-)
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    mdmslle

    The history of PBS is one track -- a history inexplicable from the 1980's without its evil twin -- the other track is the history of the CPB and its growth in control over PBS and its being meddled with and controlled by culture warriors out to "balance" the former.

    What's worse is that each state has its own -PB. Some of those are on a mission. Where they have made the state a single network, the entire state will have one point of view.

    Go watch "Frontline" in Georgia or Alabama. "POV" will be on at 2:00 or 3:00 AM, after four hours of "miracle brain" infomercial or "groovy bands of the 1960's, made safe." The old "decide by the states" strategy (instead of by station) seems to have been an organized strategy.

    If money is the root of all evil, then what is Mitt Romney?

    by The Geogre on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 04:54:58 AM PDT

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    •  well, actually that's not entirely accurate. (1+ / 0-)
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      The Geogre

      originally, the idea was for local stations/communities to have the freedom to decide what was relevant to their audiences. In In some states, like Alabama, the public broadcasting stations are too small and their viewing audiences not affluent enough to survive individually on their own and yes, they are all one "station" for the whole state - or rather they all receive the same feed. It's not a conspiracy. And BTW, the programming managers have no requirement to run any of the PBS flagship programming. That is, they don't have to run POV at all if they don't want to. And they have to pay for the privilege of airing it, believe it or not. It's a very different system than broadcast commercial television.

      Now, I think there's some value in allowing local community programming directors to have some discretion about the programming that is relevant within his/her own community. In fact, given the nature of media today, I (and some other pretty smart people) actually am of the opinion localizing news and programming is actually going help traditional media survive. But that's too in the weeds, unless you want to talk about it. I'm happy to engage. And I also believe that PBS' survival (and ability to thrive) into the future may require some very major shifts in how things are done. I don't expect those shifts to happen naturally. PBS is a bit bureaucratic and will not change until they absolutely have to, IMO. I think part of the change they need to make is a shift toward the model used by broadcast networks - one where certain times of day, affiliate stations are required to air certain programs. I think it's important for their future. Any similarities in program schedules you see today is either planned at the individual level (program managers each choosing those times to air a show because they know others are choosing that same time) or in some rare cases the show/series producers (and even sometimes PBS) requires it to be aired at a certain times.

      I think there's brand value in people knowing that no matter where they are "this popular show" comes on at 7 p.m. on Sundays. The PBS model doesn't really support that. It's much more locally oriented. Program decisions are made at the local level.

      I think there's a balance to be struck between the two. As I said, I don't expect to see any shift in a different direction with regards to this longstanding policy any time soon.

      For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

      by mdmslle on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:06:11 PM PDT

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      •  The presumed weak stations of the 'rural' (1+ / 0-)
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        mdmslle

        Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina all have state wide feeds. In each state, there were flourishing PBS stations on television prior to the establishment of these state networks in the 1980's - 90's.

        Most of them had a "state" common schedule during the day for "educational programming," and I am old enough to remember that programming being actually educational for grade levels rather than purely pre-school. However, once the state -PB came along, a dumbed down feed came along, and a lever for meddling.

        Atlanta has independent stations that subscribe to PBS, as it would, but the rest were cowed.

        There is a long history of efforts at "reforming PBS" by putting in political appointees at the national level. These are nothing compared to the efforts at the state level. When we add in the presumption that the blue haired ladies will only pledge during a "Rockin' with Motown as Remembered by the All-Star Nelson Riddle Orchestra" and a "Make your Brain Young Forever," and you've got the end of education, news, and value on the television side. (Anyone else remember when "Nova" had hard science in it?)

        If money is the root of all evil, then what is Mitt Romney?

        by The Geogre on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:06:51 PM PDT

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        •  Well something else happened in the 80s (0+ / 0-)

          And 90s that I think you're not taking into account: the proliferation of cAble networks.

          Prior to the early 80s it was just abc, NBC, CBS, and PBS.

          Discovery changed that. And it ushered in some major shifts in entertainment delivery.

          PBS might've been the first with a cooking show, Julia child, but eventually there was the food network.

          A&E was actually arts and entertainment back then.

          Nature programming wasn't constrained to Sunday night Mutual of Omaha wild kingdom.

          My point is that the market changed and PBS failed to. Now, with the Internet presenting more segmentation, PBS' old model is killing it. It's really not a viable sustainable system as it stands right now. This is why you get crappy infomercials instead of good programming. It's why the Koch brothers are a major funder of nova. It's why they can't pose off those blue haired ladies who've pledged legacy gifts the minute the drop dead. They've failed to evolve with the entertainment landscape. If they don't change, they won't be around in 20 years, once all the blue haired ladies are dead.

          This is all to say that today there's literally no way for all those previous separate stations to support themselves. Not the way things are right now. So they have to consolidate. There's no other solution.

          For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

          by mdmslle on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:45:35 PM PDT

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    •  and THIS statement, I don't know what you (0+ / 0-)

      mean:

      The history of PBS is one track -- a history inexplicable from the 1980's without its evil twin -- the other track is the history of the CPB and its growth in control over PBS and its being meddled with and controlled by culture warriors out to "balance" the former.
      I don't understand what you're talking about here. Care to elaborate?

      For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

      by mdmslle on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:07:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And finally, yes, there are far too many (1+ / 0-)
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      The Geogre

      thinly veiled (or not so thinly veiled) infomercials on PBS. As I said in my original comment, PBS is dangerously close to corporate control. there are many reasons for that, but the primary one is the lack of government support for production of programming. Other westernized countries public broadcasting systems have a much higher per citizen contribution than the U.S., which sits at about $1.45/per person. Canada is almost 7 or 8 times that. UK and Norway are 10+ times that. And

      The model for funding production is that producers have to raise their own funds to make shows. That was fine back in the 70s and 80s but today, when corporations have so many options to reach their potential buyers (on- and offline) many companies find PBS not to be the best investment of funds. I say this from experience as a producer. This means only the existing popular shows can find corporate underwriters. Shows like NOVA and Sesame Street - shows advertiser know have huge viewership. The flip side of this model is that you get no new shows produced. New shows have a hard time finding production funding, especially since any of the 365+ PBS stations nationwide can choose NOT to run the program or series. So there's no guarantee of viewership, even with a series or show that's been produced. So that means PBS stations end up with lots of space to fill, and productions that are cheaply created (cooking shows with non-professional "hosts" that look like they were filmed in someone's actual kitchen; fishing shows that are literally a bunch of dudes on the water ad libbing with a camera; and lots of "informercials": people with a produce to sell who can afford to produce their own infomercial and spin it to look like it has some cultral value so it can be aired on PBS).

      This is a dangerous thing for PBS. It lowers viewership and decreases loyalty to the brand. Many of the shows people like, like Downton Abbey, come from UK's public system. It's shameful that we aren't producing our own series through our own system. Ultimately if we don;t change the model of how shows get produced, PBS will sink into near irrelevance within 20 years. It's originally why I founded PPPTV.org. To try to do something to bring new audiences into the PBS fold by creating a funding mechanism for the production of new programming.

      Sorry to be so long about this but I've learned a lot about it over the years. And what I learned inspired me to dedicate myself to fixing what I think is wrong and making it better.

      For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

      by mdmslle on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:24:50 PM PDT

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