Public broadcasting, government over-reaching or a stem of goodness?

nomix

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So, PBS entered the campaign in serious terms and in silly terms after the debate.

Let me start with a conceptual question; Does government have any role to play within broadcasting? If so, what?

I tend to believe some of the greatest television in the world is made by public broadcasters. We're on a site dedicated to one of them. Top Gear rebooted the genre of motoring shows, and it's one of the most successful shows.. in the world. QI and Have I got news for you lead the way on satire and the genre of interesting things, here in Norway our public broadcaster NRK makes some of the best stuff around, same goes for Sweden. And I believe the Muppets and Sesame Street probably survives because PBS have a hinterland of public money.

Am I wrong?

I don't know.
 

Buktu

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Government funded television definitely has its justifications, there's some things you just can't do when you've also got commercial interests to think of. Top Gear is a good example, that would probably never have happened on an American commercial channel.

The system we've got here, and the way they make us pay license, is unflexible and annoying. It's not a tax, but you're obligated to pay it if you have acces to TV, radio or internet in any way. Which basically makes it a tax. Except tax is generally based on your income, license is not. I like the new Swedish model, where they just pay it through their taxes.

And regarding PBS in America, Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted this: "Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"
 

NecroJoe

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I tend to see PBS as a "video" arm of government funded public libraries. I'm A-OK with it.

Besides...only 15% of PBS's budget comes from government funding. Then, that is split between PBS and NPR (along with others).

The most recent stat I see is that public broadcasting receives .00012 percent of the federal budget.

On the other hand, I sometimes groan when I see some of the content that is produced by PBS. Honestly, I 100% believe that Top Gear really has no business being on PBS. To me, it's like Top Gear US being in the History Channel and "Here Comes Honey Boo-0Boo" being on The Learning Channel. The US's public broadcasting entities are a little different than the BBC...I'm of the opinion that sitcoms do not belong on PBS.

I'm assuming the reason they make these shows it for expanded viewership and revenue. However, I would rather see a trimmed-down PBS, focusing on things that ACTUALLY further mankind, and getting the funding they deserve, even if it's an increase.

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Government funded television definitely has its justifications, there's some things you just can't do when you've also got commercial interests to think of. Top Gear is a good example, that would probably never have happened on an American commercial channel.
Is that necessarily a bad thing? I know we all like the show, but I don't believe it's in the taxpayer's best interest to produce this program. Besides , hasn't it spawned a number of for-profit things, or does everything with "Top Gear" on it have it's money turned back over to the BBC? I'm thinking of the road shows, the DVDs, Stig action figures, etc.
 

narf

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I approve of publicly financed television, as long as that's the only thing government-related about them. There's a reason why the 8pm news on ARD ("BBC One") is the most-watched regular programme over here, they do a decent job of delivering the news. For 60 years straight on boxing day this year, by the way. Regional programmes on RTL or Sat.1 (both private) are a joke, no competition to (in my case) NDR and its five regional segments. N24's weather girls are sponsored by Air Berlin, hence they regularly report on the weather at popular destinations. Do I care? :no: The 10pm weather report on ARD is quite thorough, even remotely scientific.

News programmes' popularity:

Dark blue and dark red both are public stations.



And regarding PBS in America, Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted this: "Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"
:drums:
 
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Lupin_IV

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Last I looked at PBS they were still showing the same reruns of Are You Being Served? they've being running for the last twenty years. And the three times prior to that were all during their pledge drives where they run a concert that only lasted an hour or two live, but takes four or five hours because of their constant badgering about donating $100 to get the PBS tote bag. The tote bag also hadn't changed in decades, so it can't have been a good incentive by that point as anyone who actually wanted one would have already gotten one.
So yeah, PBS has some issues to address before I'd willingly give them any money.
 

NecroJoe

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Yeah, I do have to laugh that the ONLY time they EVER play the Stevie Ray Vaughan episode of Austin City Limits is during their pledge drives.

However, I do love a LOT of their programming. Norm Abram is a personal hero of mine (Any problem can be solved, simply by making a jig!). There are a couple great music programs, independant film presentations, etc.

The trouble is, if all you're seeing is "Are you being served?" is that you're only tuning in at the same time, each time. There is a lot of different programming, it's just that some of it is on at 2AM, some is Sunday afternoon, etc. The rest of kid shows, Masterpiece Theater and Newshour...

edit: BTW: This was a free gift for a $50 donation. :) (for the record, I don't believe this show belongs on PBS, either)

 
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Heathrow

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I am in the "stem of goodness" camp here! :cool:

(And will reply more fully tomorrow, when it is not so late.)
 

GRtak

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This is just a distraction. Why not get rid of the real pork, the future warrior equipment the military never wanted but is forced to store so some congress critter can get a few votes and campaign donations. The DEA and the War on Drugs, plus the billions given to other countries to fight it.

There are many other things that need to go before PBS.
 

argatoga

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PBS receives most of its funding from advertisement. Watch it and you will see "sponsors" like GE, Bank of America, and Monsanto. They aren't receiving funds from the government, but from pure evil. Why GE needs to advertise on PBS when they already own NBC is beyond me.
 
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remizak

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I think public broadcasting is a good thing, but i do think they need to change the programs a bit they could air some of the news programs that link tv airs and maybe some of the shows (for the danes on here any idea when borgen season 3 will start?).
 

Mr. Nice

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PBS receives most of its funding from advertisement. Watch it and you will see "sponsors" like GE, Bank of America, and Monsanto. They aren't receiving funds from the government, but from pure evil. Why GE needs to advertise on PBS when they already own NBC is beyond me.
Comcast now owns NBC

PBS should exist and, if anything, receive more public funding. Shows like Nature, Nova, Nova Science NOW, PBS NewsHour, American Experience and many other programs that are not only interesting to watch but educational as well.
 
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argatoga

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Let me correct myself, GE only owns 49% of NBC. Obviously they no longer have influence with only owning half the company.
 

Mr. Nice

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Let me correct myself, GE only owns 49% of NBC. Obviously they no longer have influence with only owning half the company.
As much as they still may have an influence, they are not the majority owners. Comcast parted with $13.8 Billion to be able to call themselves the "owners" of NBC. 30 Rock has politely referred to Comcast as Kabletown.

On a separate issue, I really dislike how the Comcast building in downtown Philadelphia looks.



At one time, before I existed, no building in downtown Philadelphia was allowed to be taller than William Penn's hat (which is on top of City Hall).
 
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AiR

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I like the new Swedish model, where they just pay it through their taxes.
It's not decided yet but unless the sky falls down it'll come through. I've been saying we need this change for years. For me personally it means an increased expense but it's worth it to get independent high quality original and foreign programming without advertising. My license-skipping friends don't like it but they're freeloaders who get what's coming to them and that fills me with schadenfreude (or glee?) :D

I very seldom watch commercial crap channels as they offer little quality content and whatever interesting is on is interrupted by constant ad cuts. None but one (TV4) is completely free, they're all funded by subscription fees and ads, nor do any commercial channels here except TV4 have any aspirations to do any news or investigative journalism (and that's only because TV4's broadcasting license mandate them to have news).

Public television is free television and free television is best television.
 
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Re: Public broadcasting, government over-reaching or a stem of goodness?

Frontline is superb, not to mention stuff like MotorWeek (yeah i know...pile on with the hate...) and Nature.

I don't mind the BBC content, given that BBC America isn't exactly commonplace in the US on basic cable tiers. It gives them more content for likely a lower cost than producing it on it's own and for the most part is very high quality.
 

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It's not decided yet but unless the sky falls down it'll come through. I've been saying we need this change for years. For me personally it means an increased expense but it's worth it to get independent high quality original and foreign programming without advertising. My license-skipping friends don't like it but they're freeloaders who get what's coming to them and that fills me with schadenfreude (or glee?) :D

I very seldom watch commercial crap channels as they offer little quality content and whatever interesting is on is interrupted by constant ad cuts. None but one (TV4) is completely free, they're all funded by subscription fees and ads, nor do any commercial channels here except TV4 have any aspirations to do any news or investigative journalism (and that's only because TV4's broadcasting license mandate them to have news).

Public television is free television and free television is best television.
Good thing there are ways around this archaic law! I could accept SVT if they made it a true public service channel and stopped wasting money on retard TV like the eurovision.
 

wooflepoof

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Why does TV programming need to exist at all? For old people?
 

argatoga

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Good thing there are ways around this archaic law! I could accept SVT if they made it a true public service channel and stopped wasting money on retard TV like the eurovision.
Eurovision is perhaps the most complex political drama on T.V. :p

Why does TV programming need to exist at all? For old people?
You do realize this is/(was?) a Top Gear fan site.
 

nomix

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Good thing there are ways around this archaic law! I could accept SVT if they made it a true public service channel and stopped wasting money on retard TV like the eurovision.
Hate to break it to you, but there is no better value for European broadcasters than Eurovision. Not only does it show the technical direction of big shows in all of Europe that particular year, the viewers get amazing amounts of value per unit of money the member broadcasters spit in.

Calling it 'wasting money" would be like saying Norway is wasting money by being in NATO. Truth be told, there's a lot of savings to be made long term and short term by being able to rely on allies.

Factually speaking, you know when broadcasting started in Norway, Denmark and Sweden in the 60s? The main staple of broadcasting every single week was collaborative productions between NRK, SVT and DR. That way, they could afford the equipment and the technical shit they needed. There was in fact a service, which would not be there without the collaboration.

Say Eurovision is kitch, that it's just politics and whatnot.. but don't call it a waste. It's close to being the most efficient television out there.

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Now. Sorry I forgot this thread. Seems to me the licence fee is something of an annoyance. I agree. It could just as well be financed over the tax bill instead of through a special licence. I love not watching commercials. I love the independance from commercial interests. Watching long time sports without commercials is, in lack of a better word, greater than great.

Heck, government has a role in broadcasting. If anything, Romney's speaking up on PBS makes me think the US should spend more on it. I'm sure that'll happen..
 
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