Public Broadcasting in America Turns 50

Posted by Dale Fisher on

In signing the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, President Johnson expressed the hope that one day, public television and radio stations would satisfy “America’s appetite for excellence” and “enrich man’s spirit.”

That legislation created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which today supports nearly 1,500 public media stations across the country by distributing federal funding amounting to roughly $1.35 per citizen, per year. At the Nine Network, this investment is critical to our operations. We leverage federal funding — many times over — to provide a welcoming space for childhood education and lifelong learning, the arts and culture, history, science, and civil discourse in our region.

Our ongoing series and specials continue to strengthen the St. Louis community. National programs, like PBS NewsHour, Nova, and Nature, along with our beloved local series like Living St. Louis and Donnybrook have educated, informed and inspired generations.

Public broadcasting was born during the height of the Vietnam War, which may explain our determination to find common ground on even the most difficult and divisive issues. Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s most recent documentary series, The Vietnam War, is a prime example. We used the film as an opportunity to foster dialogue by helping our veterans and their families share their stories. For some of them, it’s the first time they’ve talked about their experience.

Despite the disruption and rapid changes shaping today’s media environment, public broadcasting’s mission is more necessary than ever. The Nine Network is proud to support that mission in St. Louis for 63 years, especially today as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.