Funding and the Politics of Programming
This chapter examines the funding picture at public television and explores its impact on programming. Since the Carnegie Commission report in 1967, the funding of public television has been one of the central issues in both popular and industrywide discussions of the future of public broadcasting. The ideal-typical model of public television does not have to sell its programming to corporations, nor does it allow commercial considerations to affect its programming decisions. In public television, uncertain and unstable funding is a major obstacle to producing creative or "risky" programming. Although there were other obstacles named, the need to attract funding, largely on a project-by-project basis, was cited as one of the primary mechanisms keeping programming "safe." The influence of corporate funding on public television continues to serve as a major area of concern for proponents of noncommercial broadcasting. The focus of this concern revolves around the fact that major corporate hinders are also large advertisers on commercial television.