Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Death of PBS?

The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility has recommended cutting the funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting financing to zero, saving the nation approximately $450 million a year.  This funding cut would have a devastating affect on PBS and the programs they produce.

Cheaper-TV take: PBS provides a valuable public service, but I also understand the need to reduce the deficit.  The fact of the matter is, there isn't a huge audience for thoughtful tv.  If given the choice between watching a Nova show about Unlocking the Mysteries of the Stonehenge or watching MTV's the Jersey Shore, most people will watch the latter.  Advertisers will spend their money on the program that gets the most eyeballs.  This will leave very little funding for educational shows.

Here's a thought... fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with the proceeds of government spectrum auctions.  In 2006, the government took in 13.9 billion dollars in spectrum auctions.  Some greedy politicians are trying to help fund elections with some of this money (10% or 1.3 billion).   I would rather these funds be used to fund PBS and it's educational programming instead of funding more political ads that serve no public good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Following Election Results Without Cable TV

I am a news and political junkie, so election night is a big deal for me. So how did I do without cable this election season... not bad!!!  Polls closed at 8 PM in my home state of Pennsylvania, but national coverage on the networks didn't begin until 9 PM.  During the hour between the polls closing and the national news coverage kicking in, I watched a local news station. The production quality wasn't as good as the major networks, but they were covering the local elections in which I was most interested.  So by the time I went to sleep at 11 PM, I watched one hour of local news and two hours of national news... more than sufficient "free" news coverage.

This morning I woke up, hit twitter on my smartphone and saw the election results for the west coast.  I watched a half an hour of "Good Morning America", and now I'm ready to head to work... fully and freely informed!