PBS vs. NPR

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					“Corporation for Public Broadcasting” And “National Public Radio”
The Similarities and Differences Of their local programming

John Doyle Political Science 296w

Public television is something special in this day and age. It is meant to be more individual, which in this world of major corporations, is distinctive. One part of this that I was not sure about was the difference between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). CPB is a private corporation created by the federal government. It does not produce or distribute programs and is funded by the federal government. PBS is a private, non-profit media enterprise owned and operated by member stations. It distributes programming to 348 public television stations across the country and is funded by CPB and member stations. NPR is a private, non-profit media enterprise owned and operated by member stations. It also produces and distributes programs but is only funded by member stations (CPB.org). So CPB helps out PBS and NPR is on its own. In this paper I will look at the different Corporation for Public Broadcasting stations. This will be about both the radio (NPR) and television (PBS). Public broadcasting has numerous companies which broadcast in the local level. To introduce the reader to this subject let me say that public radio and television are all combined under Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio. They are run individually in their respective areas. How much of a difference is there from area to area? Also, how much different are they from the major networks? Do they have the same types of programs or are PBS and NPR entirely unique? Finally, I will examine a global station to see how it covers the news compared to PBS, NPR and the major networks. There is a huge variation in the assorted localities of PBS and NPR. They each have their own unique station in their area. This is good because it makes the news more local and better suited to the viewers. PRS and NPR are also unique from the major

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networks in that they produce unique shows. The case against this is that PBS and NPR should have the same format anywhere you go. This is so because it should be run by a single company that in turn is better to suit the public. So, it should be consistent everywhere. Another point is that they are only another corporation that needs to make money. So, they are no different from other major corporations. The first issue to discuss is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The Public Broadcasting Act was enacted in 1967 by President Lyndon Johnson. He had this to say about it: “The Corporation will assist stations and producers who aim for the best in broadcasting good music, in broadcasting exciting plays, and in broadcasting reports on the whole fascinating range of human activity. It will try to prove that what educates can also be exciting. It will get part of its support from our Government. But it will be carefully guarded from Government or from party control. It will be free, and it will be independent--and it will belong to all of our people. Television is still a young invention. But we have learned already that it has immense--even revolutionary--power to change, to change our lives.” (Johnson, 1967). This is still the view that public broadcasting is supposed to have. The next issue to discuss is about how these public stations organize programs. The first stop will be Connecticut Public Television (CPTV). This is on several stations in the state of Connecticut. Let‟s discuss the kinds of programs that CPTV had on during an average Monday. It began with “BBC World News” and then some Yoga. After that, were children‟s shows from 7am until 6pm. Next came the news programs; then, it was primetime. This is where the majority of people are watching T.V. One show was the “Antiques Roadshow” and the other was “Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples

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Temple” This show examines the story behind the November 1978 mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, where more than 900 people were led to their deaths by cult leader Jim Jones (CPTV.org). After this was a profile of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who won the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. This show featured his childhood and early adulthood; and his humanitarian work in Africa. (CPTV.org) Following this was more news and during the late late night another interesting show. “When Parents are Deployed” was a program about the children of deployed parents, focusing on efforts by “Sesame Street” producers to help approximately 700,000 children under age 5 who are waiting for a deployed parent to come home from military service. Cuba Gooding Jr. hosted. (CPTV.org). Interesting how this show was on so late. On other days during prime time were shows about the sciences and world wide issues. “NOVA” is a popular show as well as “Mystery!” Then there is, of course “Frontline” which gets into political questions and current issues of the times (CPTV.org). The next stop here is to look at some other PBS stations that can be seen in Connecticut. CPTV is the only one produced out of Connecticut. There are others that can be seen in Connecticut that are produced elsewhere. WGBY is from western MA and produced in Springfield, Massachusetts. The majority of the shows are the same as they still feature many children‟s shows during the day. During prime time though they have something different. At 7:30pm every night they feature local programs. These consist of political debate programs such as “Watercooler” and “The State We‟re In” (a program dedicated to fine watercolor art.) There are also two programs about youth. There is “Making it Here: Teenstyle” and “As Schools Match Wits”. One more program is about

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“Doctors on Call”. (WGBY.org). So, this shows that not all public stations are the same and there is one difference between the shows of CT and those in MA. Now to look at one more station that can be viewed in CT. This is from the eastern part of MA and is known as WGBH out of Boston, MA. The same as all the other stations this one begins the day with a plethora of children‟s programming. This runs from 6am until 6pm Monday through Friday. After this, the programming was similar to CPTV but also had “This Old House”. This program about building houses was on WGBY as well. I was not able to find WBGH on my TV although I do remember watching it when I was a child. Possible from all my trips to Boston. This station has two different „channels‟ it comes in on. There is channel 2 and channel 44. These are both different as channel 44 stops the children‟s programming at noon and, that has shows like “NOVA and Frontline”. (WGBH.org) So, I have looked at three different CPB stations that can be viewed in CT. They all are similar in more ways than they are different. The next place to look at these public stations will be the radio. This is about NPR and there are several stations to look at. There are eight stations that can be heard on the radio from the center of CT. According to the website NPR.org signal strength is as follows. WPKT-FW: 90.5 have the best signal and WFCR-FW: 88.5 are in the medium range. With a weak signal it says that WESU-FW: 88.1, WECS-FW: 90.1, WSHU-FW: 91.1, WNPR-FW: 89.1, and finally WAMC-FM: 90.3. Then there is the AM station of WPNI: 1430. (NPR.org). I disagree with this because I listen to 90.3 and 90.5, both of which come in fine. I can never get 88.5 to come in and the other one I listen to is 88.1. These stations are scattered across the state.

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The first one here to discuss will be WPKT-FW: 90.5. This is part of WNPR radio. On an average week-day this station begins with news from the BBC. Then at 5am there is the show “Morning Edition” followed by “Where We Live” that focuses on issues about the state of CT. After this are several talk shows that feature the „finer‟ things in life. The “Faith Middleton Show” is one well known program which has a featured guest and very stimulating conversation. At 4pm comes the program “All Things Considered” which is three hours of local news. There are pet shows and, there is food shows discussed. (WNPR.org) This station really does not have any music and is almost all about talk. The next station to discuss will be WAMC: 90.3. These two stations are next to each other on the dial and I have found that if 90.5 begin to fade I can simply turn to 90.5 and it is usually the same, with a small delay. So, a lot of the programs are similar. It begins with “BBC World News” and then has “Morning Edition”. After that the programming is different with show such as “The Roundtable” which features guest that discuss current issues. Then there is “The Book Show” where guesses are asked to discuss their newly published books. Later on come the same media shows that the other stations consist of "All Things Considered", “Marketplace”, and “Fresh Air” (WAMC.org). One last radio station to discuss will be my favorite. That is WESU-FW: 88.1 out of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Established in 1939, WESU is one of the oldest non-commercial radio stations in the United States. (WESU.org). the same as all the other stations that I have discussed the first thing that is on the station is “BBC World News”. This station does have some talk shows but because it is a college station it has

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music on it. Some of the best music shows that I particularly enjoy are “Fusion Radio” with James Fusion that features the best in hard acid tribal techno. Then there is “The Vault” with DJ Anton Banks that is an electronica genre clash of many different types of modern electronic music. (WESU.org). This makes me wonder why 91.7 (the UConn Radio station) was not listed under the area of Manchester under NPR.org. One final station to discuss will be our own UConn Radio WHUS: 91.7. “Radio for the People”. (WHUS.org). I had to compare the different stations that colleges have. This station surprisingly enough did not start with “BBC World News”. It features many different kinds of music and at 7am there are several different public affairs shows depending upon the day. Then, at noon is “Democracy Now” where they discuss the current state of democracy in our nation. This is followed by more music and then at 5pm is “Free Speech Radio News” where more about democracy and what is means in this country is discussed. So, this station has every kind of music you can think of and only three talk shows on an average day (WHUS.org). Interesting how college radio is more about music and the other public radio stations are about talk. The last and final issue I wanted to cover was something that almost every station featured. That is the “British Broadcasting Corporation”. The first thing that comes up on their website is the soccer scores. BBC is made up of several different stations. On the television there is BBC America, BBC World News, BBC Prime, BBC Food, and BBC channels 1-4. On the radio there are BBC stations 1-7 as well as several that are featured in many different languages. (BBC.co.uk). this shows how they focus on local news in European nations but also reach out to many different nationalities. BBC is

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something that public radio must have looked at to see how to be so diverse in their programming. In conclusion, PBS and NPR are very different, not only from coast to coast but also from state to state. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting focuses a lot of their time on children‟s programs. After that it consists of shows ranging from the sciences to politics. National Pubic Radio is very different. The average station is all about talk shows while the college stations are all about music. This is a positive way to produce more viewers. They are local entities that deal with local issues and this is essential. My personal stance is that PBS and NPR are needed in America to focus on local issues and tackle the opinions that the major networks are afraid of. They are similar to global stations such as the BBC in their way of displaying the truthfulness of the news. PRS and NPR are not afraid of the major corporations any more than is the BBC.

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Bibliography Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (2007)

http://www.cpb.org/aboutpb/faq/cpbpbsnpr.html

Connecticut Public Radio WNPR. (2007) http://www.wnpr.org/

Connecticut Public Television. (2007) http://www.cpbi.org/index.asp

British Broadcasting Corporation (2007) http://.bbc.co.uk/

Johnson, Lyndon. (1967) Retrieved from http://www.cpb.org/aboutpb/act/remarks.html

National Public Radio (2007) http://www.npr.org/

Northeast Public Radio. (2007) http://www.wamc.org/

PBS Stations on the Web. (2007) http://mailer.fsu.edu/~rchamber/stations.html

Public Broadcasting Station. (2007) http://www.pbs.org

Public Television for Western New England. (2007) http://www.wgby.org/index.html

WGBH Boston. (2007) http://www.wgbh.org/

WESU Middletown. (2007) http://www.wesufm.org/

WHUS Storrs. (2007) http://www.whus.org/main.php/

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